Photo by Jackie Brown.
On stage, Equals captures post-rock with a flawless touch of the anxiety that drives the genre’s brilliant despair—namely the inevitable crescendos and shifting melodies. Some think this type of music is formulated, often calling it “mathy.”
The strongest and most dynamic notion that the San Marcos, Texas, band creates is that—in comparison to most instrumental bands—they are not created equal.
During their performances, there is an unfaltering and passionate rhythmic beating from the percussionist and the confident strums of the guitarists, whose tools in the midst of passion begin to look like additional appendages. You see instruments at one with their musicians, musicians at one with the band and a band at one with their track. This is Equals, a spectacle to be observed and indulged through eyes and ears and soul.
The characteristics of instrumental post-rock revolve around being orchestral: The use of percussion and guitars to beat and cry like the sounds of symphonic strings. Post-rock orchestrations begin with pacifying chords that crescendo to violent guitar riffs and complex rhythms, then decrescendo to the original melody. Equals, however, is continuously complicated, yet still maintains control throughout each track. This particular characteristic marks Equals as a dark-horse in style and genre—almost leaving them difficult to categorize.
Equals seems to have a sort of phoenix-like origin, with its founders rising from the disbanded ashes of a group past. While studying at UTSA, Logan Wexler, (organ and synthesizer) and Simon McDonald (guitarist) met and joined the psychedelic blues band BB Aeroplane, but lost interest in constantly improvising. During December of 2008, Equals were Wexler, McDonald, Matt Toman (drums), Dylan Storey (guitarist), and Alex Guzman (bassist).
“We recorded a song all together in one night, unknowing if anything would come of it. It has been a long time. It is crazy to think about,” Toman said.
From then on, it has been a meticulous two-year process in creating their first, self-titled EP. The band’s first attempt at recording took place at OHM Studios in Austin, Texas. Their intent was to record the entire EP in a two-day period with all of the members recording at the same time.
“During the recording process, I really love to dissect every single part of each track. I like to study the tone, the timing—every little thing—and that did not happen while we were at OHM.” said Toman.
Unhappy with the product, the members of Equals scrapped all of the tracks except “Electric Blanket.” Despite their struggles, the band took the experience as an opportunity to learn about how they work best together.
“Now, we record each part individually and that is how we have done it every other time before and after that,” said Wexler.
The EP slowly took shape after recording the track “Table Monsters” in a studio at the University of Texas at San Antonio. The group continued to work out tracks “Salvo” and “Roadside” on their couch at home.
After finishing the EP, Bhore introduced Equals to Paper Thin Media founder Brett Cannon. The band began to work with Cannon, who helped them generate a buzz in the Austin and San Marcos music scene.
By Fall 2011, Equals had already quickly gained the interests of multiple media outlets such as the site Is This Revolutionary?, Austin Music Weekly, UWeekly, community radio station KOOP and The Austin Chronicle.
By the end of the year, Redesign Mag called Toman’s album art an “expression of the importance in dualities.”
The band revealed that they have a batch of songs to record for their next EP, which will also include Bhore. They also mentioned the likeliness of tour. The main question seems to be which to do first.
“We aren’t really sure of what we want to do first: record, tour, release; record, release, then tour. Tour then record. We want to find out what touring is like,” said Wexler.
In the slightly more distant future, the band also discussed their hope to work on a music video once presented with the opportunity.
“I feel like our music is the kind that lends itself to visual things very well, it helps people imagine things.” Wexler said. “If there is no one singing, there would be something really nice to watch. We worked really hard on the album, so we would like to find someone to help us with our video that is really good.”
Listen to the self-titled EP from Equals and download below.