Interview with C.E. from Exaugurate
Exaugurate caught everyone by surprise when they popped up out of nowhere earlier this year with a devastating EP titled Chasm of Rapturous Delirium. Featuring members of heavy-hitters like Cemetery Filth, Hollowed Idols, and Ectovoid, the band plays a wonderfully layered and nightmarish take on death metal that reminds me a lot of a more melancholy take on Dead Congregation in particular but the debut has enough of its own sound to stand on its own. In a time of caveman brutality and trends completely separate from what Exaugurate does, I found the EP to be extremely refreshing, shockingly good, and also extremely hard to find any information on, so I sat down to ask guitarist and vocalist C.E. some questions.
Hello Chris, thanks for agreeing to do this interview with me! To start, how’s the experience been of rehearsing with a band that doesn’t kill hours both ways to get to practice?
Hey Brandon, how’s it going? Well it’s certainly better on my end since Hollowed Idols required an entire day’s worth of driving, but C.W. does drive to my house in Mississippi from Memphis, and from there we go to Birmingham to rehearse. I think being closer to home has been an important aspect of what makes Exaugurate come together the way it does. But it’s still several hours on the road everytime we all get together!
How did Exaugurate come together in the first place?
This is a good question! Honestly, Hollowed Idols was starting to get to a point where the distance began to affect how often we could get together. To combat that C.W. and I decided that we should begin trying to put our efforts towards something closer to home. Things just happened to work out, and we have C.M. and R.S. to thank for stepping up to the plate! Although C.M. had just joined Cemetery Filth on drums he agreed to join up with us to start a brand new band. We then contacted R.S. and he jumped in on bass. C.W. and I had just finished writing Clandestine Malevolence a few weeks before we got in touch with them, so that felt like a strong jumping off point for the band. That would have been sometime in December of 2018. From there we pretty much kept the band a secret for the next year, only letting a few close allies be privy to what we were doing. Although we’ve only made our existence known to the world a few months ago, we have been working on this for a while.
Now that you guys have been doing this a bit longer, is songwriting coming together faster than it did for Chasm of Rapturous Delirium?
As we gear up to write our full length I’d like to say yes, but also that would be too simple. The fact is that yes in some ways it is easier because rather than establishing a core sound for the band, we are looking to expand on what you’ve heard so far. But I don’t know that it will be any easier or harder from here on out. It never feels like work to me so I can’t say that I would normally think about it in that way!
Though it seems that this is your new main band, most everyone involved are busy with several other bands, many of them well-known and very active. How does everyone balance their commitments to make Exaugurate happen?
Well, it’s true that we’ve all got other things going on musically, but it doesn’t really interfere because Exaugurate is its own thing.
Exaugurate’s music isn’t quite in sync with current trends, but is a nice continuation of what you were doing with Hollowed Idols. Has it been at all difficult to maintain your commitment to the sound you’ve been developing these last few years even as the scene’s interest has moved on to other sounds?
Not at all. If anything I’d say it feels like it strengthens our resolve. I think it’s pretty evident that there are a lot more eyes on death metal right now. Personally I have no interest in the scene’s tastes and it won’t ever have any bearing on what Exaugurate does moving forward. This band is purely a selfish pursuit, this is us worshipping the death metal we love and trying to put our own spin on it as best we can. If that appeals to someone then we are thankful, but most importantly we do this for us. That said I think there are a bunch of killer bands out there right now, we are just very stubborn when it comes to Exaugurate.
How did you arrive at this core sound in the first place, and what makes suffocating, layered death metal your focus?
I think that good death metal is equal parts worship and originality. We are making a conscious effort to both worship our influences while also injecting our own perspective into the music. What I’m getting at here is that you don’t think it’s enough to just have blast beats, power chords, thrash beats, and tremolo picked riffs. All of those elements are present, and when put together they do sound like death metal. But I think it’s necessary to dig a little bit deeper and focus on song composition in a more traditional way. I also think that there needs to be a lot of moving parts, but everything must coexist within the song and make sense.
I liked Hollowed Idols but the jump in quality between that band and Chasm of Rapturous Delirium is unquestionable. What factors do you think led to your songwriting both tightening up and getting so much more complicated in such a short period of time?
Well the biggest factor here would be that C.M.’s drumming opened the door for both mine and C.W.’s songwriting. Hollowed Idols was a good experience but there were certain factors that limited the band both in sound and execution that were out of my control. As far as the faster and more technical songs are concerned, it’s really just a combination of our drive to be faster, tighter, and more devastating as a band.
A lot of bands would be too scared to put a relatively less-aggressive and much slower song like Labyrinth of Veins on your debut given how much faster the other tracks are, but it works really well and is very well written. Is anything off-limits? How are decisions made for stuff like that?
Thanks for the kind words! There are no rules at all. We are a death metal band but beyond that there are no boundaries. Labyrinth is there because we love playing slow, brooding, doom infused death metal just as much as we enjoy playing faster and more aggressively. We are only concerned with writing songs that please us. That means if there needs to be a doom part then there will be, and if we need a more black metal tinged riff or harmony then that’s the song will get. We wouldn’t be true to ourselves if we were to just stick to one style or tempo within death metal.
With the band’s existing being out in the open now, are there any plans for shows once the current situation allows for it?
Yes we do have plans for shows just as soon as things open back up. As of now we already had one booked with Father Befouled in Atlanta but there’s no way to currently tell whether or not that will be able to happen anymore. I can say that if things remain closed that we will most likely record some kind of rehearsal video to give everyone a preview of what this band will be like in a live setting. We do want to do tours and play shows, but we understand the current situation and hopefully things will be different by the time this interview comes out!
You were already working with Jason and Rotted Life Records before Exaugurate, and you still are now. What led to the decision to keep going with him instead of seeking out an older or bigger label?
Well Hollowed Idols was one of the first releases from Jason’s label, Rotted Life. I realized very quickly back then that his level of professionalism and support was sincere. It was smooth putting out the HI demo, and we were planning on a second release through the label. But what hasn’t been said anywhere else until now, is that Hollowed Idols is no longer an active band and will be dormant forever most likely. Even despite that Jason offered to put out Exaugurate’s debut when we heard what we were working on so it just felt like the right choice. We’ve got another short release planned for this year via Rotted Life as well, but the specifics of that will be released sometime in the coming months. I’m not sure what the future holds for Exaugurate but I’ve got nothing but praise for Jason and Rotted Life.
How did you end up on stage doing guest vocals for Cruciamentum when they came through, and how did you get in touch with the various people that have come together to be a part of your new release? Is networking something to be done intentionally or do you feel like it should come naturally through the creation of killer music?
Ahhhh, well Dan and I have been friends for a while now, and although it didn’t pan out due to external circumstances, I was actually supposed to play with Cruciamentum on that tour. So when they came through Atlanta as well as the Metal Threat Festival in Chicago I hopped on stage to do vocals during Convocations of Crawling Chaos. Being that there is a close connection between Exaugurate and Cruciamentum it only felt natural to have Dan do our post production as well a guest lead on the recording. I place a high importance on working with friends, and forging relationships and alliances that last. Networking works a little bit differently for us than it probably does for others. There isn’t exactly a scene here, we are pretty isolated living where we do so networking is essential, but we prefer to work with friends. I also believe that these things will naturally happen if you are working towards a goal and have the right attitude.
What’s next for Exaugurate?
We are working on our full length now, and we do have a split 7″ on the way later this year. We’ve already recorded the song and it’s been mixed and mastered. Beyond that we are looking to play shows and tour just as soon things open back up.
Do you have anything else you’d like to talk about or promote?
Give us a follow on Facebook and/or Instagram for updates. We will have shirts, tapes, and stickers sometime soon as well as LP copies of Chasm. If anyone happens to want to get in touch then shoot me an email at Exaugurate@gmail.com.