The team at Electric Sloth always wants to ensure we provide our readers with the best new songs, worldwide coverage, and interviews with the latest and greatest artists; so that’s why today we’re bringing you Exmag.

Last night, our live coverage correspondent got the chance to sit down with ExmagGramatik‘s newest project. The group is a combination of Denis Jarasevic (Gramatik) and musicians Eric Mendelson, Tyler Dondero, Mike Ianetta and Illumntr. Read the interview to find out a little more about how these guys plan to change the way the world listens to music:

ES: It’s has been said that Exmag is about combining all of the visions of your collective members into something tangible, what are your thoughts on this?

Eric: I would say it is like that. We all just came together naturally. We were all friends for different reasons, like me and Bryn did programming together, me and Tyler were friends from home, and me and Mike had mutual college friends. We just like all came together in Brooklyn naturally and created this. We all put in what we were good at, at first and then taught each other those skills and now everybody is playing various roles. We’re trying to teach everything we know to each other and get better and keep going.

ES: You guys previously mentioned that music has evolved and is still evolving, what do you see yourself and Exmag doing in the future?

Eric: I don’t know what everyone else is going to do but we’re gonna keep making that 70’s and 80’s disco-funk.

Mike: We are trying to bring back that “old soul.”

Eric: We’re trying to make it less heavy. Our real vision is some massive rave type setting but instead of raging to hard music, everyone is just chilling out. You could just like fall in love and plan a date. (Laughs)

ES: I saw you mentioned that you (Eric) started off working at a computer programming company. What did you major in, in college, and when did you realize you wanted to make music instead of programming computers?

Eric: I actually went to college for finance. After I graduated I went to Costa Rica and surfed for a year. Then I came back and tried to get a finance job but I didn’t really wanna do that, so I started this company with my friend from home, programming iPhone apps. I eventually met Bryn when I hit up this record label, Royal Family Records and said I wanted to do some work for em and they put me in contact with Bryn. Then I ended up moving to New York a few weeks later to live with Bryn and we started our own programming shit. We started doing stuff for different companies and we have a couple things we’re gonna release. But then we started making music together, I always played music. Tyler, in Exmag, started coming up to New York, after I met Dennis and started playing with him. Then we started making beats ourselves and it turned into Exmag project. We’re still doing programming, trying to make our own apps and software for ourselves, but it gets boring after a while. It is awesome to know how to do though; it’s a great skill.

ES: Are you able to share with our readers a little about how you guys plan to integrate your app development skills into Exmag project?

Eric: I’m not sure exactly what we’ll do, but we’re gonna do something creative with web stuff with our music. We’re gonna be way more artistic, with visual art and technology.

Tyler: As far as programming goes, doing it yourself is the way to do it. Guys like Nosia and all them are making their own patches and they can hire programmers to do whatever they want.

Eric: We’re getting more into programming our own sound.

ES: How do you guys produce your on stage visuals?

Eric: Right now  this guy, Ian, from Integrated elements does it. We’ll probably spend some more time and make some art for the video collages as we go on. This dude Sasha from Slovenia, he makes some stuff for us too.

ES: How much are you guys focusing on other things that happen during the show?

Eric: Whenever we do a tour by ourselves we’re gonna figure out a cool lighting setup. That’s what we’re really gonna focus on next, our whole show. There will definitely be lots to come. We are going to have more art, more visuals. We are going to get videos with Gibbs, he is a great actor. He is also our (degenerate) sound engineer (everyone laughs).

ES: How do you respond to critics that are attacking EDM and digital music, as opposed to the typical band style music that actually require the collaboration of various instruments?

Gibbz walks in, looks at us interviewing: (Starts laughing) This looks hilarious, what is this? Story time or something?

Eric: I guess we are classified as part of EDM, but we don’t actually know that much about it. I mean we do but we’re not deeply involved in the scene personally. We’re inspired by it but also inspired by bands like Lettuce and funky stuff. We just stumbled upon EDM I guess because it’s easy to record shit at your house. But I think it’s all music and whatever EDM is doing, is helping to progress it in some direction. Anybody hating on anything – is just hating…

ES: You are sort of forming a “supergroup,” combining many very talented artists. How long do you think this project will be around, or is she here to stay?

Eric: We all survive financially, and we’d love to keep it going forever. I don’t know what it will turn into but we’re gonna keep making music. We have 50 or 60 tracks already. We just have to organize stuff. We’re more concerned with quality, being tight like a family. We are just trying to exists outside the norm. We all live in Brooklyn right now, but we’re possibly considering moving to San Diego.

ES: How do you feel that your music influences the upcoming generation? 

Eric: We hope that it influences them to be positive people in the universe.

ES: Will it soon be more common that there will be more to a just a DJ on stage. Electronic jazz renaissance could be coming soon?

Eric: Yeah, like Pretty Lights is doing a live tour. A lot of our fans will say they’re trying to do similar stuff with keyboards or whatever. It’s just really fun to jam. But yeah I think we’ll keep doing that, maybe even live with a drummer. Whenever we have time to do that, we have some friends that are some very good drummers so we definitely will.


Exmag took the stage featuring Tyler Dondero on the Keyboard, Eric on the guitar and Denis (Gramatik), Mike Ianetta and Illumntr handling the knobs. Denis didn’t end up making it out during this set, but we were still dancing by the time we were out the doors. Exmag’s set was the absolute highlight of the night; their sort of futuristic funk just took a hold of the crowd. There was no telling where they could go with their songs. Using analog beats while synthesizing them with their digital counterparts is the absolute future of music. Guys like Griz, Big Gigantic, Above & Beyond, and Pretty Lights are doing something pretty similar and their following continues to grow; just as Exmag’s is anticipated to. Another amazing highlight of their performance was the fact that the artists switched instruments at ease. Seriously, when do you get to see a guitarist and a pianist switch instruments mid performance….? Well, during Exmag.

After Exmag’s performance heRobust took the stage, with a gracious “thank you” to Exmag for their performance, the Atlanta native started his set off with what seemed to be an house beat. How could this be? heRobust…house? No… Within seconds he BUSTED the beat and the San Diego House of Blues got down with the 808-ridden tracks. He continued to please the crowd song after song, playing popular hip-hop songs and mixing them into heavy trap and dubstep. He also seemed to throw Gramatik a little love and pulled out some 70’s style samples and dropped them into a sort of heavy fusion combo. His set was extremely high energy, and featured some unheard-of drops. heRobust is not one to miss!

When Gramatik (Denis) took the stage, he was accompanied by Eric Mendelson, Exmag’s guitarist (interviewed above), throughout his set. As per Gramatik, his set was straight funk, featuring new tracks, guitar solos in between drops, and even some heavier dubstep. Denis impressed the packed San Diego HOB track after track. Make sure to check out Gramatik, Exmag and heRobust on their next stop in your town!

Facebook: ExmagheRobustGramatik

Soundcloud: heRobust, Gramatik

Live Coverage Correspondent/Writer: Sam Warner

Photography: Kevin Serrano