Exploded View is not your typical band. For one, the four members of this project are based in different parts of the world, they don’t rehearse, and have spent more time apart than together. Yet somehow, they’ve still made a mark on global underground music, thanks to their excellent debut album, a collection of tracks that seem to reject pretty much every genre possible. The band wrote the songs in extended jam sessions, then pared them down in the studio, contributing to the group’s unique sound.
The story of how Annika Henderson met Martin Thulin, Hugo Quezada and Amon Melgarejo and recorded then toured an album in the following two years is pure fate, a chance meeting for the books. But Exploded View’s adventure isn’t over yet. They’ve just released a new EP called Summer Came Early, a four-track project that expands their core sound and points to a new, exciting direction. The songs are subtly industrial, full of the melancholy, 60s pop winks, and otherworldliness of their first album. There’s still nothing out there that sounds like them.
As it turns out, like their debut, Summer Came Early was born in similarly atypical circumstances. “We had the plan to release a second full-length album for March or April of this year. Of course, this didn’t happen,” says Quezada, sipping tea at Progreso Nacional, his home studio where Exploded View came together. Late last year, after an extensive European tour, the band regrouped at Progreso Nacional to work on new material, which resulted in hours of extended sessions for Thulin and him to assemble the songs. Unfortunately, work and everyday life prevented them from working on these sessions, so their label suggested they take some of the tracks that didn’t make the cut for their debut and put out an EP in the interim.
Although this is sort of a “B-sides” project, Hugo finds a common thread between the tracks that sets them apart from their previously released work. “Perhaps what connects these songs is that there are some electronic inspirations in these. Since we wanted to bring the record to the live stage, we left out some of the more electronic songs because they were difficult to recreate live, so we allowed ourselves to put them out.”
“It’s weird,” Quezada admits when describing his feelings about the EP. “Things tend to become stale for me really fast. To me, these are very old songs and I kinda forgot them. Once I got to listen to them again, I grew fond of the songs. It’s great that people are having a good response and the label agreed right away to put the EP on vinyl; I think they think we’re on the right path. I mean, this started as a goof and now, having two major releases in two years; I think it’s a great achievement.”
The release of Summer Came Early is a great excuse to put some perspective into the band’s career so far. “Amon, Martin and me, we have a decades-long friendship but the four of us have never played together before, and the second time we got together, those sessions resulted in our first album. The process of becoming friends – let alone a band – was very trying, because we spent months sharing the cramped space of a van. That made us a stronger unit. We got to know ourselves better as people. We’re still in the process of becoming a band but we’re not chasing it; we still cherish the randomness of what we do, the awkwardness that happens when one of us is in a bad mood. We think those kinds of moments are little motors that push the pistons and make things happen and you can hear that in the records. There are tons of awkward moments in the first record. I’d like to retain that.”
Awkwardness and all, these four songs showcase four musicians in the process of becoming, taking chances, and sailing on to the next level.
Exploded View’s Summer Came Early EP is out now on Sacred Bones.