Credit: Alec Basse

You’ve just announced a new album, “Burden”, and released the first single “Chasm”. How was the build-up to the announcement, and how has the feedback been so far?

It feels amazing to finally talk about this record! We wrote and recorded Burden back in 2021, so you could say the build-up has been happening for a while now. It’s also the second half of our two-album series that started with Solace, so it’s very satisfying to have the whole image coming together. It sounds like people are stoked about the heavier direction with Chasm, which is great because we wanted to churn out some thicker sounds than we’ve ever made before.


It seems like you never really stop to pause. How is your modus operandi? Do you plan and write a lot of the music constantly and on tour, or are there mostly jams in the studio and some tweaking as you record? How was this process with “Burden”?

The momentum we’ve had the last few years has been exciting, but we definitely appreciate every moment of rest we can get. The writing process for Burden happened alongside Solace back in 2020, which began as a way to keep ourselves active throughout the pandemic. As we started writing songs the goals got more and more ambitious, until we realized we needed to separate what we had written into two full length records.

Some ideas started at home, but the majority of Solace and Burden was written as a full band and recorded live as a full band. Even when we thought we planned it all out before the studio, there are still some improvised moments that found their way onto the record during the tracking process, which are honestly some of my favorite parts.


You’ve shown on Chaotic Divine that instruments that do not typically sit in front of the sound of the genres you embrace, can shine and make for super interesting soundscapes. Can we expect horns or any other instruments (beyond guitar, bass, drums, synth) on “Burden”?

Yes! Spencer’s sax definitely makes a few appearances in Burden. He also used a lapsteel guitar for some ominous melodies, which was a perfect fit for the mood. We wanted to keep the instrumentation mostly “western” on Burden. We love using traditional eastern instruments and melodies in the music, but sticking with a simplified pallet felt like a better match for the soundscape we were going for this time around.


How is the environment in both Chicago and Leesburg for this kind of genre? Is it like Poland and Sweden with a seemingly never ending stream of great bands, or do you hold the bannister and pave the way for the type of music you play?

I think most people would agree that Chicago’s music scene is world class. Leesburg had very little to offer creatively so we were grateful to discover the active community in Chicago when we moved here after college.

There is an endless stream of meaningful art and you’re totally supported by listeners and other artists to do your own thing. I think it’s a big reason why so many microcosmos of talent are thriving in Chicago. We try to do our own thing too, but we’re still inseparable from the cultural influence of great jazz, electronic, and heavy bands that have been doing it here long before us.  

Credit: Alexa Viscius


I want to touch on Desertfest Oslo obviously. Are you excited to play the inaugural Oslo Desertfest this May?

Hell yeah we are!


Not too long ago you played in the Church at Høstsabbat, a mere 450 yards from Desertfest Oslo’s venues. Do you enjoy playing in Norway and how is the crowd different to the Americans or other places you’ve played?

We’re stoked. Our first Norway experience with Høstsabbat was a dream, and getting to perform in the Church was totally surreal. The crowd and staff are chill, helpful, and everyone speaks better English than we do. People were just enjoying themselves in the moment which is all we can ask for.


Are there any bands in Desertfest Oslo’s lineup that you would like to see yourselves (if time allows)?

To be honest I’m not too familiar with most of the lineup so I think I’m most excited to be surprised by some of the local Oslo bands. We have all day on Friday to wander around so we’ll probably try to catch at least one band at every venue.


Broadening out; who are your main inspirations for REZN’s sound? Usually reviewers pin you to bands like Spaceslug, Elephant Tree, Monolord, have any of these impacted you in any way?

At the core I think we align our influences under the school of Pink Floyd more than anything. They pretty much nailed the dynamic, psychedelic sound. Beyond that, our music tastes are so different that we end up making more of a collage out of our individual inspirations. It’s hard to tell what specific band ultimately inspires a song or idea.

To try and answer your question though, my personal favorites are Bardo Pond, Bowery Electric, and Popul Vuh.


You seem like very professional and autonomous artists. Do you have any techs with you on tour, or do you mostly take care of your own equipment and set up everything yourselves? How nerdy do you guys get with your pedals, equipment etc?

We don’t have any techs with us at the moment. We like working with the house technicians at each venue, but we try to make it easy for them and have everything sounding (hopefully) good from the source. Our drummer, Patrick, does sound for a living so he’s a big influence on how to craft our live sound. We are shamelessly nerdy but a lot of great friends and gear companies have done the hard work for us, so we can just use our small brains for big riffs. 


One of the REZN staples, for me, is how immense and perfectly tuned the sound is live. If any of the equipment and pedals should break tomorrow, which equipment could you not live without?

Thank you! I wanted to drop some names in the last question so I’m glad you asked. Our friend Dean Costello builds amps and the Templates model is the best amp I’ve ever used. Phil also uses his Black Mark model, which is essential for the low end thunder. Sean from Tyrant is a good friend and both Phil and I love his cabs.

I’ve used a Dunwich Fuzzthrone on every record so I would be screwed if that broke.

Patrick uses Istanbul cymbals and Ludwig drums which are essential to his sound. Spencer is the wild one with the modular synth rig and tenor saxophone, so if either of those broke he would probably walk into the ocean with his clothes on. Heil Microphones, American Loopers, Fralin Pickups, Dunable, and Baguley Guitars have all treated us extremely well over the years so those are also on the shortlist. We actively seek out gear that can last for multiple years, so if it’s durable and sounds good we’ll probably like it.


How has it been touring with Solace, especially after the tsunami of exceptional reviews you guys got?

Touring the songs from Solace was such a refreshing feeling, especially after not playing shows for a few years. I already know it’s going to be even more fulfilling to play songs from both Solace and Burden and finally bring the full concept together into a live setting.


After having recorded some collab-albums with Vinnum Sabbathi and Catechism, do you have any dream collaboration for a similar type of album, hypothetically speaking?’

We’re always open to collabs. The live wall of sound we did with Lume for Live at Electrical Audio was the origin of our band’s collab history, so that definitely got us hooked on the idea of fusing our sound with other artists. We checked one off our bucket list recently by having Mike Sullivan from Russian Circles do a guitar solo on our new track Chasm. Beyond that, we’ve always wanted to work with a composer to create a film score or video game soundtrack. 


I want to swing back to Solace, one of the absolute standout albums in 2023. You’ve written before that you’ve spent 12 hours recording a day, for a week straight. How confident were you guys that you had made yet another masterpiece in your own sound and realm of creativity (and do you even think about what the audience and reviewers will like, or do you just want to make whatever feels right in that time and setting)?

That means a lot, thank you! Once we have a concept in mind we just do our best to recreate it to the fullest extent. Each album is based around a new sonic biome, more or less, so our main goal is to make the songs match whatever environment we’re trying to portray. We also grow with each new record so ultimately we hope it sounds better than the last one.

I think you’re right that we’re doing what feels good and matches the vision, but creating a journey for ourselves as musicians and also the listener is an important balance in the writing process.


And speaking of Solace and Burden, how did you end up with Adam Burke’s art for your covers? 

We found Adam’s work on Instagram through his Nightjar Illustration profile, probably just from scrolling one day. We had the mountain and cave themes in mind for Solace and Burden, and he is an absolute master at creating dark and beautiful landscapes so he immediately came to mind for the visual concept.

We also like to use real paintings for the art, since we’ve done that with our friend Allyson Medeiros’ work for the first three records, so Adam’s style was also a good fit with our previous aesthetic. He was the first person we asked and he gratefully said yes, so it was just a natural fit every step of the way.


You’ll play Desertfest Oslo in May, and have a hefty tour set up after, then returning to Oslo to Parkteateret in October (21st) with Russian Circles. Are you planning different shows for the ones you’re headlining vs. supporting, and are you gonna play new, unheard stuff from Burden?


 We feel so lucky to get multiple opportunities to come to Oslo this year, so we will definitely be preparing a special set for both appearances. The Russian Circles tour is going to be incredible. You’ll have to be there to find out, but we are guaranteed to play something different from Burden for both shows. If you can make it to either one, come say hey!