21st June 2023 0 By Jon Deaux
Reformat create experimental music inspired by their shared love of heavy rock, electronica, vintage pop, and science fiction. Creator Luke Pajak and producer Russ Russell (Napalm Death / At the Gates) are joined by Jay Russell (Yard Act) on drums.
Reformat is set to return this year with a new album ‘Precursed’, released on 18th August via Fearbone, it’s a darker and more direct follow-up to their acclaimed debut. The music was created in an attempt to resist the pull of nihilism, resulting in a sound that reflects moments of jubilant beauty caught between creeping anger and grief. Though fuelled by loss, Precursed also offers moments of light, providing both a soundtrack and an antidote to despair and abandonment. Through embracing the negative—and there’s been a lot of it—the band takes a bold step towards a more meaningful existence.
After a short break following the release of their first album ‘The Singularity’ in 2018, Luke began writing songs for ‘Precursed’ early in 2019. He comments, ‘As the months went by, a variety of horrible life shit just kept coming—and I kept channeling it into new music as a way of surviving. Subsequently, where the last album was kind of built upon a sense of optimism, this one is definitely more energized by anger and grief, caused by some of the endlessly shit situations we’ve found ourselves in. Perhaps it hasn’t had the impact on the final sound that I feel it has… ultimately it’s still uplifting rock/electronic music with a focus on melody.’
With the songs written, the band entered Russ’s studio to record drums and guitars together in March 2020, the same week that lockdown was announced. ‘That turned everything upside down for a time while we found new ways to survive a crazy time… I also got Covid which never properly fucked off and meant summoning the energy to finish the rest of the album has been a monumental effort’ Luke adds. ‘Towards the end of the year, Jay and Russ managed to track drums at Parlour Recording Studio in November (while I listened to a feed and watched via FaceTime). I then re-recorded the guitar and synth tracks from London to lock in with the new drums. We’d got Jay’s parts down just in time before things exploded with Yard Act and he went off touring the world.
Luke describes 1st single ‘Dētrūsā’ as ‘being about feeling totally abandoned when life has overwhelmed you and as a last resort, using your anger at the situation to dig yourself out of the shit. For me, there’s a feeling of determination that drives the song and I suppose it’s both a bit of a celebration of being able to rely on yourself—and also a sadness that you have to.
The video is open to interpretation really but personally, I see it as someone who is totally exhausted from being responsible for carrying the burden of others’ emotions and finally decides ‘fuck this, I’m going to stop making myself responsible’… the burning box is a bit of a blunt metaphor but I feel like that sense of peace at the end of the song and video is like a reward for putting up strong boundaries in unhealthy relationships.’
The synths on Precursed were all created on a Sequential Prophet 6 which brings an immediate warmth and a sense of gravitas to the sound. Luke goes on to explain, ‘I’d wanted a change in my process and that’s the main difference between the first and second album; I moved away from the Juno 106 which I’d always defaulted to, and got out of my comfort zone with a new setup. Saying that, I and Russ were both surprised about how the existing Reformat sound just seemed to transfer onto that synth… it still sounds like the same band, which is good. I was expecting it to be a more noticeable difference but I think it just takes the edge off the sci-fi soundtrack influence which the Juno had enhanced’.
With Precursed, Luke wanted to produce something more direct and raw and felt t needed an (at least partly) human voice to give focus to some of the emotion running through these songs. In the end, he took influence from Oneohtrix Point Never and approached the vocals with a mixture of the heavily processed human voice and also some vintage speech synthesis. Luke concludes, ‘I like the fact that I can no longer remember where my voice ends and the speech emulator (built by my brother and utilizing the BBC Micro Speech software) begins. I’d also like to claim this love of vocal processing is influenced by someone cool like Cynic but if I’m honest, it’s more Cher and Dane Bowers who have taken up residence in my psyche since the late nineties.’
‘Precursed’ is a must-listen for fans of Genghis Tron, 65daysofstatic, pg. lost, and Three Trapped Tigers.
Pre-order the album now:
Reformat are:
Luke Pajak – vocals, guitars, synths 
Russ Russell – production, synths, programming 
Jay Russell – drums
*Wayne Adams (Big Lad/Jaaw/Petbrick) also provides synth glitch on the tracks Dētrūsā & Obsolethal.
‘a hell of a calling card, like John Carpenter leading The Fierce And The Dead from behind a Commodore 64’ – Prog Magazine 
‘the perfect mixture of wonder and overwhelming positivity and triumph’ – Heavy Blog is Heavy
‘pure electro-rock ecstasy’ – Arctic Drones
Follow Reformat online:

How useful was this post?

Click on a thumb to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 2

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!