March 2012 “Band of the Month” – EXITMUSIC
It’s a new year and with that means changes. Resolutions. Weight loss. Cutting cigarettes. Eating veggies. We figured we would put all that aside and focus on something a bit more important. Starting this year, we will be featuring one band per month that we want to introduce you to so that you can mix things up on your playlists. These artists will be coming from all around the country, not just the South East. Check them out. Download them. Enjoy.
TBI’s Band of the Month: EXITMUSIC
If you can’t tell, we’re big fans of the husband-wife musical combo. Ernest Greene (Washed Out) enlisted the help of his wife Blair last year, Matrimony has been at the top of our playlists and we’re pretty sure that Charleston, South Carolina has produced two of the best musical couples on the road right now, Shovels & Rope and Megan Jean and The Klay Family Band. This month’s BotM follows in that fashion as we’d like to introduce you to EXITMUSIC. The NYC based duo of Aleksa Palladino and Devon Church got hitched in 2008 and released a slew of songs that were touted as “Radiohead meets Portishead in a living nightmare” by Supersweet Magazine. EXITMUSIC released their debut EP From Silence in October of last year and are slated to make their full length introduction to the world with Passage, due out May 22nd on Secretly Canadian. They’re playing a run of shows around SXSW before heading out on a tour that has them criss-crossing the US before heading to Canada and then over to the UK. We’d like to think you can keep a close eye on these two as 2012 could easily be their year.
For a group that’s been together living and working and writing for more than four years, you seem to have taken an interesting approach to the way you’re releasing music. You’ve got a set of self released songs in 2008, an EP in 2011 and your debut full length will be out in May. Is Passage a summation of the past few years of work or does it contain only newer material?
D: Passage is made up mostly of new songs, as well as reworkings of songs we wrote a couple of years ago, like “Storms” and “Sparks of Light”. The newest tracks, “White Noise” and “Passage”, feel like a step in a new direction for us.
A: Yeah, that’s true. It sometimes takes songs time to really become what they are meant to be. When I wrote “Storms” a few years back I knew it was a good song but didn’t really know if it fit into an album. While we were on tour last november Devon had the idea to start remixing it and it really came to life. We then finished it at home and knew that it was ready to go onto an album.
Of the reviews that I’ve read and the track that I’ve heard from Passage, I’ve been left with an eager anticipation for the finished product. The contrast of sounds on the one single alone are stunning. In March, you’ll be taking these songs on the road for the first time since the album was completed. What are you most eager about sharing with your followers?
A: I am happy to have a complete album to put out there. The hard thing with a 4 song EP is that as a whole it is too short to tell an overall story or to take the listener to different places. So having a full length really gives us a chance to reveal ourselves more to you, the listener.
D: Yes, the album definitely covers more territory than the EP, and we are are really happy about it how it came out.
How did the two of you meet each other? I read that Devon moved back to the States after being oversea’s for sometime but nothing about how you actually got acquainted.
D: It was in the fall after I’d finished high school, I was still at home in Winnipeg, and I’d decided I wanted to travel instead of go to college, but I didn’t have any money. I was working for a landscaping company, which in November meant shoveling snow. Then I met this kid from Australia who was going to live in Churchill, which is in the Arctic Circle, and I convinced him to give me his girlfriends train pass (she was already up there waiting for him). So I got on the train pretty aimlessly, the idea was to go visit a friend in Montreal, but then I saw this beautiful girl with incredible dark eyes, and the plan changed. I followed her to the smoking car and started bumming cigarettes, and we wound up talking for about two days straight. When we got to Toronto I was supposed to change trains to continue on to Montreal, but the ticket lady wouldn’t let me on with my fraudulent train pass. So Aleksa and I continued hanging out for a couple days in Toronto and I totally fell for her.
A: It was an undeniable connection. True recognition of yourself in another. But we were young. I was scared. A self proclaimed loner. We parted ways after those few days and I went back home to new york. Devon wrote me a letter, but I didn’t respond… 3 years later I wrote him one and we began keeping in touch a little through letters… it would take 4 years from the first meeting for us to actually meet again. But once we did, we were ready and have been together ever since. almost 10 years.
The two of you moved to LA in 2008 and finished your first release that you put out yourselves. What prompted the move from New York to the West coast and did that setting change the direction you were headed with your music?
A: We actually moved to LA in 2003… so EXITMUSIC was really born there. It definitely influenced us. Our first record has the haze of LA all over it. The strange mysteries that are tucked into every hill side, the endless sense of doom and wonder that are some how innate to it. This once desert – on constant life support of water from the Colorado River. LA is a great place to write… it’s the home of our American mythology.
Aleksa, you were cast in Martin Scorcese’s 8 time Emmy winning show Boardwalk Empire and you and Devon ended up moving back to the East Coast. How have the roles you’ve been casted for influenced the material that you’re producing musically?
A: Yes, the roles I play influence me musically… Angela more then any other at this point. I knew the only way to play her was to really live in her vulnerability. So I opened myself up to that part of me. Which of course came out in songs and thats one of the most beautiful things about acting, you can go back to the source of pain or struggle or whatever and bring a little more peace to it.
As with any musical mecca, it can be hard to break out when you’re surrounded by hundred’s of other talented acts. Your most recent CMJ showcase sets were some of the most talked about of the festival. Have you found that the community there has been nurturing and completive in an encouraging manner or did you find yourselves struggling at first to break into it?
D: It was definitely a struggle in the beginning. Our farewell show in LA was a big deal for us. We put together a bill with Warpaint and our friends VOICEsVOICEs and packed the Smell, and we felt like we had finally broken through some sort of barrier in LA. But then we moved to Brooklyn, and our first show at Public Assembly was pretty much played to the friends of the opening band. I actually got attacked by the guitarist from the band that was supposed to go on after us, some biker looking dude from Nashville or somewhere. He thought we were taking to long to break down and started yelling and then actually spit in my face when I told him to shut up. Like an idiot, I spit back, and then he rushed me onstage and shoved me into my amp. So that was our introduction to Brooklyn, which was actually totally inconsistent with the rest of our experience here. In general New York is a much better place to be a musician than Los Angeles, at least in our experience. Bands get treated better by the venues and promoters, and having a lot of other quality bands around makes you work harder and feel like you’re in the right place.
A: Yeah it’s always hard for us in a new place cause we are such homebodies and keep to ourselves most of the time. So getting the word out feels impossible when you don’t have a circle of friends. but thats how it was. I have no complaints about New york though, it’s been very supportive and so have all the bands we’ve played with.
I feel sure that this upcoming tour won’t be the first time you’ve made it through the South and Midwest but I couldn’t find much info about previous tours. Are there any cities in particular that you’re looking forward to stopping in?
A: Actually it is the first time. I’m excited about it all. The country changes so much geographically, the South to the South West to the North West is going to all be beautiful and different from one another.
D: We’re 60 miles outside of Austin as we write this, on our way to our first SXSW show. So we’re excited about that, and we’re excited about the whole tour.