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By Stephanie March
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The result of the Godcity session was Adai's official debut, ...I Carry. Originally self-released, the EP was reissued in 2008 by Massachusetts's Radar Recordings. Thick yet spacious, with sparse vocals only barely registering across epic angst-scapes, the five tracks are simply massive. But even as Adai's shows around the country started attracting more and more of a crowd, Mendoza and Trujillo started to notice a disconnect when it came to their sporadic hometown shows.
"When the first EP came out, I had a friend call me from Seattle and say, 'Dude, I just saw your CD out here in a record store,'" says Trujillo. "But when we come back home, no one cares. It's frustrating, for sure. But it didn't really bum us out or make us want to stop doing it."
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"We went into Adai thinking that the only way to really make a splash with this is to get it out to a larger audience rather than concentrating on the local scene," Mendoza adds. "And we've had that reaffirmed by the local scene. We've played a lot bigger shows elsewhere than here, it seems. We put our focus on the bigger picture, and we kind of forgot to come back and pay attention to the local scene."
That didn't stop them from seeking out another one of their out-of-town heroes, Matt Talbott of Illinois space-rock band Hum, to record their new EP, Felo De Se. They trekked to Talbott's Great Western Record Recorders last summer and laid down tracks before sending them to Ballou for mixing. Having the thumbprints of Converge and Hum all over Felo De Se makes sense; the record's five tracks — available only as a download or on twelve-inch vinyl — wed abrasion and melody into a single, nightmarish vision of darkness and decay. And with song titles like "Bodies," "Trigger," "Powder," "Ammunition" and "Graves," it's no secret what kind of vibe Adai is going for.
"The premise of the EP came together after writing the music," says Trujillo. "We didn't really sit down and write the album to have that arc. It just started naturally happening."
"It's pretty much about the end of everything," Mendoza explains, "from the beginning of the end to the end of the end. The titles are just showing the catalysts and subsequent reactions of that. The lyrics all follow that same arc. The title of the EP is Latin for 'felon of himself.' It's basically another word for a suicide, self-destruction on a mass scale. We've all destroyed ourselves in some way. Everyone's responsible for the extinction of the human race."
"That's just our personal outlook, though," Trujillo confirms. "Everyone has skeletons in their closet, their own demons from their past that they're struggling with."
On the sixth anniversary of both Long's funeral and the formation of Adai, it's clear Mendoza and Trujillo still struggle as well, despite the fact that they've long since reconciled with their former Yuriko bandmates in Ascaris.
"It's all water under the bridge now," admits Trujillo. "You can't really expect anybody to have any sort of plan or any competency when it comes to dealing with something like that. Everyone had their own way."
"Looking back," Mendoza concludes, "I realize Adai is a good part of what helped me get through Tyler's death. Out of that situation, so many things arose. It was just an impossible situation. I think it's definitely a triumph that we were able to take something completely destructive like that and rise out of it."
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