After hearing their fantastic EP Anima, we just had to speak to the geniuses behind it. Keep reading for our brilliant interview with Ex Makina.
Can you tell us a bit about The Queens Temple, where you recorded your wonderful debut EP Anima?
At the time I was working as the assistant to a film composer who converted this amazing 18th-century temple into a recording studio. It was right in the middle of a forest and such a beautiful place to work. The studio was packed with every orchestral sound library and synth you can imagine so it was a great place to invent new music using an almost unlimited sonic palette. I worked on the EP at night after work, there were bats in the ceiling which made things interesting.
Your music is very cinematic, particularly the strings on ‘Eyes’, do you think working in film music has impacted Ex Makina’s sound?
Yes definitely. A lot of our songs talk about the unconscious aspects of the mind, the stuff people repress in order to fit into society, the kinds of things that come out in our dreams. I always felt like film and cinema represent the unconscious dream of western society. Film seems to me like a huge mirror showing us the repressed aspects of ourselves which we can’t express in modern life (heroism, risk-taking, danger, etc.) Perhaps we don’t often get to exercise those aspects of our selves living in a modern environment so we go to cinemas to experience those emotions instead. I think music fulfils a similar purpose, especially cinematic music. We were very fortunate to work with John Metcalfe (Coldplay’s string arranger) on the single “Breath”. He recorded all of the string parts himself one by one and layered them on top of each other to create the orchestral sound.
Ex Makina isn’t your first musical project, can you tell us about your previous work and how this differs from your current output?
I released my first EP when I was 20 during a very difficult time in life when a close family member was terminally ill for a prolonged period of time. It was something I did just to express my questions about the situation which seemed at the time to be meaningless and hopeless. I think people really connected to the brutal honesty of that EP even though it was very home-made. I actually ended up getting a load of press and radio play in the UK and eventually a major record contract which was a totally bizarre scenario to be in. Over time I started dealing with these questions more seriously and came across books like “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius which gave me satisfying answers. With Ex Makina I wanted to make music that communicates some of these lessons I learned and which helps other people going through similar situations to find the inherent meaning in them.
What would you say your Mantra or objective is as a group?
To be a source of love and positivity to anyone who chooses to listen.
As you’ve worked in film music, we couldn’t help notice that your name is quite similar to the film Ex Machina, and you also have song called ‘Prometheus’, is this deliberate, and have films (or specifically sci-fi) had an effect on your work?
I love sci-fi films (my favourite is 2001: A Space Odyssey) but the name wasn’t a deliberate Sci-Fi reference (as far as I’m aware!). Ex Makina is a word play on the phrase “Deus Ex Machina” which translates to “God from the Machine”. Our music is quite electronic and machine-like in parts but we hope there is a soul which breathes through it.
What has been your proudest moment so far with this project?
It’s the first song we have ever released so it was cool to see it connect in so many different areas which we didn’t expect. It’s about to reach 30,000 Youtube hits with film music fans but it’s also appearing in fashion magazines like Nylon and bigger music news sites like Yahoo Music.
After your EP, what hopes/goals/plans do you have for the future?
One of our ultimate goals is to score a feature film as a band, we’re starting to get some interest in this area quite early on which is really exciting. We will be uploading a lot of new music/videos to our Youtube channel which is the best place to keep up to date!