Alternative psych/soul music project Ex Reyes – born of the multi-talented Mikey Hart – released the Do Something EP on Friday. Six songs of incredibly well-produced music brings to the forefront many important questions, as indicated in its first track “Bad Timing” with lines like “Leave us with the ocean and we’ll drink up the waste … what if I lose cuz I took a chance?/ So I’ll hold my breath til we’re out of this mess … no one’s in control.” At times performing at Gibbs brothers-like octaves, Ex Reyes displays its innate ability to make people get up and groove, despite the harsh realities depicted at times in the lyrics. Check it out below.
We got the unique opportunity to speak to Mikey Hart a bit about the EP in advance of its release.
What’s your official origin story?
Ex Reyes is a reflection of collaboration and community, as it connects to me, Mikey. I was born when a lightning bolt struck a beeper and the only way I could carry on was to play music on the street until people decided it was worth their money.
That was a game of 2 truths and a lie.
We may never know what the fallacy was. What’s in it for you, as an artist?
“There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, ‘Morning, boys, how’s the water?’ And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, ‘What the hell is water?’” -DFW
A$AP Rocky is a really colorful guy- what kind of collaboration have you had with him, and what was it like?
I’ve just had the good fortune to do some messing around in the studio with Rocky and some of the other guys, and we’ll do more. Hopefully some of it sees the light of day! Rocky is an incredibly talented dude, and he is in the company of brilliant people, as far as I’ve seen. The sessions we did together were very relaxed and super creative…we’d be working on a track and Rocky would roll through and flip it on its head with some next level vision.
How do you imagine listeners taking in your EP, Do Something?
I imagine they will be thumbing past it on a digital device and will give it a moment as they are coming from somewhere or going someplace.
But in some fantasy world, they sit down on a lounge chair like the Maxell guy, take a big toke, and listen for what feels special. They cry and smile, and keep listening and keep finding new special things that have been placed there for them, and maybe even some things that weren’t intentional that appear only to them. Both sonically and lyrically.
Or, with the windows down, in a minivan full of friends who have ample snacks, and the stars or city lights are shining like diamonds.
You’re wrapping up a full month of touring- what’s it like, being a musical nomad?
The highs are high, and the lows are easy to see coming. I try and stay engaged in every show. Tour is kind of the only time my life has structure—when I’m off tour, my sleep schedule is utterly fucked and I don’t know when to stop working or playing or whatever I don’t even know what to call it.
The perks are, you get to know some of the old weird America that still exists and get a real feel for which hotel chains are the most reliable.
What kind of relationship have you forged with How to Dress Well along the road?
We all had such a great time touring together, it was a constant chuckle fest. Tom and I have a similar warped, over eager joking style so we’re always trying to get each other laughing. But also we shared a lot of music and got a chance to write a handful of new song ideas—who knows where those will go?
How would you have played off wearing a cast for your broken foot, had you not gotten the music video for “Only You” shot on the first take?
Hahaha nice one! You know your stuff…
Umm if I remember correctly there was about an hour or so before it really started hurting, and then weeks of wearing a hilarious shoe. So I probably would have just taken a whole bottle of advil and then beasted through it and made things way worse?
I guess that’s kind of just like, my mantra for life.
“I took a bottle of ______ and beasted through it and made things way worse”, the Mikey Hart story.
What’s your frame of mind, inching closer to the release date for Do Something?
I feel very relaxed. I had a lot of anxiety and anticipation about what it would be like to start putting out Ex Reyes music, and now that the seal is broken, I’m just really enjoying the sensation of putting work into the world. I don’t think of the work as a statement of purpose or a grand masterpiece, more just a reflection of a given moment…a “record” of a given moment, if I may. I had a weird sensation the other day playing one of the songs, and remembering exactly a year ago where I was and what i was feeling when I recorded it into my computer. Ahhhh, what a time 2 b alive.
Do you discover musical inspiration as your live your life, or do you seek out new experiences?
Literally the only thing there is for me. It’s sad but I’ve come to terms with it.
I’m about 100% down to try something new anytime it seems reasonably assessed that it won’t kill me. And to me, musical inspiration is continuous with any other kind of inspiration. It’s a byproduct of being alive, like enjoying sex or getting hungry for dinner.
Anything you’d like to add?
I guess I just want to say thanks to y’all for being a part of this music, and I hope we can stay interested in each other in the future. If you want to go to the prom with me, plz check yes or yes.
I would also like to say to anyone who’s interested in what I”ve put out, please stay tuned cause I’ll keep making stuff and I”ll make it the best and most honest I can. And if I get the chance to inspire a conversation, an exchange of emotion of inspiration between us, then we live another year. Big love.
Do Something is available now.