Genre Defying At Its Finest, Koudi Releases, "The External Wizard"

6-piece alternative outfit Koudi is stationed in the Jersey Shore area where they were created during the first few months of quarantine.

Comprised of members Josh Skoudis (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, synths), Danny Carlson (lead guitar, backing vocals), Will Schwester (rhythm guitar, percussion, synths, vocals), Dan Krusei (Bass, backing vocals), Glenn Bokay (saxophone, keyboard, synths, recorder, flute), and Vinnie Guardino (Drums), what started out as a small recording experiment blossomed into a full-fledged project.

Dabbling in multiple genres they couple their music with lavish, cinematic instrumentation and rich textures.

Gripping the melodic core of their latest single “The External Wizard,” Koudi offers up a refreshing take to the numerous genres they explore. “The External Wizard,” is a creation that plays upon heavy reverberation that casts out an ethereal realm of infectious grooves dense with affluent guitar riffs, making the naturally cathartic essence of this song a balanced concoction.

With the avant-garde arrangement strengthened through the miscellany of chambered echoes dripping from the vocalization, there is a sense of mystery that remains in the layered descants showcased. With a mystical essence provided by six vastly different musicians, there is an illuminated sense of buoyancy through this genre hybrid of a single.

Koudi has us fascinated with the lyrical motifs exuded in the distant expressions. Abstract in the narrative there is a poetic bliss that peaks from the roots of the structure. Witty with the wording utilized, you can’t help but have your mind wrapped up in the enigmatic soundscape formed from the miscellany of avenues ventured. “The External Wizard,” was created on Garageband and with the final execution of the sonic masterpiece, you would have never guessed that was the software used. The synchronicity divulged leaps into the experimental approach that Koudi is known for.

Taking you towards the edge of everything you have known, listening to Koudi is an escape from your daily life as you navigate their ship.

Welcome to BuzzMusic, Koudi. We love the uniqueness that simmers in “The Eternal Wizard.” Now, this single is part of a dual single release, with the other song being titled “I Am.” Could you please take us into the concept behind the two single projects?

Will: I think what we were really trying to aim for with these two songs was having an entrance point into the essence of our next album. “The Eternal Wizard” is a little more out there, let’s say, and “I Am” is more direct, but they both have that same basic idea of leading into this more fully, more final experience. Since this next record is going to be our last in our series of home-recorded albums, we thought that would be very fitting.

Josh: Yeah, in terms of the lyrical content and general intention of the works, I approach all of my songs with the idea that as soon as I hit “publish” on my distributor platform, the meaning becomes entirely subjective. Anyone can imbue their own thoughts and feelings into whatever I write and--even though my lyrics are all really personal--they can mean anything to anyone and I kinda like it that way. “I Am” ties together the themes of the last two albums pretty well with its flowery orchestration and mournful lyrics. In terms of the meaning, listen to the other albums and try to piece them together. It makes it more fun that way, eh?

Where did inspiration strike for “The Eternal Wizard?" In your own words, what does this song mean to you all?

Josh: With “The Eternal Wizard” I was really trying to capture my general feelings of claustrophobia and isolation. The music is frantic and all over the place and I think that energy brings home the aesthetic. To approach it generally, I’d say the song conveys a longing for a true sense of order and purpose all while acknowledging the fact that really achieving those things raises its own moral quandaries.

Will: I remember coming into practice one night, and we were all sitting on the couch, palling around when Josh mentioned that he’d been working on something that he called “midwest disco”. Immediately all of us were interested and wanted to work on it. Who wouldn’t? It’s midwest emo mixed with disco. That’s awesome. That was a really fulfilling practice, I remember a lot of really interesting ideas coming together that night. Not to mention Glenn, our keyboardist, has a strong fascination with the fantasy genre, which influenced the title, and he had also brought his entire recorder collection to that practice--that helped really elevate the track to its highest form.

What encouraged you to break all the genre boundaries when finding your sound as Koudi?

Josh: When I started the project, I didn’t really ever think it was gonna turn into a full band. I just had a guitar, a harmonica microphone, a midi keyboard, a $40 interface, and Garageband. The sound was born out of its own limitations. I wanted to make music that definitely couldn’t be made with just that stuff. I tried to create full atmospheres and soundscapes out of next to nothing--each piece its own challenge as I wanted to see how crazy I could make everything. Shit got even crazier when I reached out to a few of my friends after my girlfriend encouraged me to actually make a band out of this.

Will: All six of us had been playing together in different configurations, various bands, and whatnot, over the years, but those were always chasing after a specific sound--wanting to do a grunge band, an indie-rock band, things like that. But then Josh just reached out to us, basically being like, “Hey, I have these songs. Let’s play them and then figure out what we want to do from there.” Then we started writing together, and each of our musical identities has only come out more and more as we’ve played and written together. That’s definitely where the genre-breaking comes in.

With there being six musicians in Koudi, could you please take us into your typical creative process? Did you find that “The Eternal Wizard” fit the distinctive process or did it stray from tradition?

Josh: Well, each of us brings our own thing to the table. I kinda set the mood for the philosophy and aesthetic of the band with the songs and concepts I write and the textures make, Will brings his chaotic, uninhibited energy and personality (anything he does is 100% him in the best way possible), Dan brings his raw technical virtuosity (he’s basically a prodigy), Danny brings his crazy knowledge of music theory and improvisational madness, Glenn brings his creative eccentricity and knack for weird instrumentation (the man plays the lute on “I Am”, for god’s sakes), and Vinnie brings his groove and unparalleled ability to listen to other people and play exactly what needs to be played.

Will: As for recordings, that process wildly varies from song to song. Often, it will start with Josh bringing in a song to practice, but just as often, it can start from, say, a guitar part I have, or Glenn bringing in some new obscure instrument. From there it really depends. Any of us can write for any instrument. All ideas are welcome and all ideas can be expanded upon by the other members of the band. It’s a really interesting but beautiful process that we have going that’s really unlike any other band I’ve been a part of.

What's next for you?

Josh: We got our third album coming out on April 30th, and--as I said before--it really ties together the themes of the first two albums. It’s easily one of the best bodies of work I’ve been a part of and I’m super excited to get it out there. From there, we’re hoping to play some shows and maybe go on tour but only time will tell for that, I guess. But yea, until then, stay tuned for our next album: Immortality pt. 3.

Will: Immortality pt. 3, baby, it’s gonna be a banger for sure. And of course, we’re going to keep doing our thing. We’ll keep up our practices, keep writing new material, and always be planning ahead. Maybe at some point, we’ll enter an actual studio. Just stay tuned, cool stuff is always happening with us.