UK Tour
February – March 2010
Questionnaire: Steve Bateman

The feather-light, cutesy, peppy and tune-saturated music of London’s Exlovers, is like a heart-fluttering bazaar of bright and breezy pop songs, which are insulated with made-in-heaven harmonies + creamy melodies, and soldered together with star-crossed lyrics. A sound that mines a rich vein, as it’s indebted to a lot of the great jangly, folk and twee bands + acoustic singer-songwriters from the past. Naturally, Steve Lamacq is a fan, and if music were algebra, it would almost be like adding The Beatles, The Smiths, Teenage Fanclub and The Lemonheads together, then dividing that total by Belle & Sebastian and multiplying it with Elliot Smith. For that is the group’s métier.

Consisting of Peter, Chris, Laurel, Brooke and Danny – who came together in July 2008 – so far, the quintet have two 7”s, Just A Silhouette (Chess Club) + Photobooth/Weightless (Young & Lost Club) and one 10” EP, You Forget So Easily (Chess Club), to their name. The latter of which, was recorded with the esteemed thoroughbred producer Stephen Street (an impressive string to anyone’s bow), who approached the group after seeing them supporting Peter Doherty at Shepherds Bush Empire for an NME Awards show.

Ripe with rich pickings, You Forget So Easily, does just the job and is a record that you need in your lives! One reviewer frothed: “The new EP shows Exlovers’ developing their own brand of indie-pop, laden with close boy-girl harmonies throughout. From the wistful delicacy of The Moon Has Spoken, to the jangly indie-pop of title track You Forget So Easily and dream-pop of single Just A Silhouette, and from the more intimate, Elliot Smith-esque vocals on New Years Day, to the racing pulse of Incomplete. The songs all feature Exlovers’ inherent style of combining sweetly sombre lyrical musings with lo-fi guitars, ever-developing vocal harmonies and subtle instrumental discord to stunning effect.”

While another blogger exclaimed: “Exlovers seem to share the same rare talent that The Smiths had, being able to cover pessimistic lyrics with an optimistic tune. It makes for a great introduction to what can only be described as a fantastically stable step up the music ladder for a severely underrated band.” With Glasswerk writing: “Exlovers have made an EP for the people they most understand, the young and confused, the beautiful and wasted, the tested and the tried, they’ve made an EP for themselves and it’s as innocent as a daisy chain and as worthwhile as the air!”

As with many unsigned acts, the band also have day jobs, last year revealing to BBC Introducing how they had “played a 120 gigs after being together for only 12 months, deciding to just tour and tour and try and pick up fans like that, instead of approaching it from the other angle.” Because they “liked the idea of playing live and getting a reasonable fanbase, before sending demos to labels.”

With a bit of a soft spot for this type of music, I got in touch with Peter, to see what excites him and what the future has in store for Exlovers…

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

1.As both musicians and music fans, what do you like music to do for you?
“To evoke some emotion. I don't like music that sounds void of any sense of joy or despair.”

2.Turning old-school for a moment, if you were to make a Mixtape for me, including one of your own songs, what would you put on there + title the compilation?
“The Mixtape would be titled ‘Lover-guts’ and the tracklisting would be…”
Comet Gain – Why I Try To Look So Bad
Exlovers – Moth-eaten Memories
The Joy Formidable – Austere
Little Death – The World Won't Wait
The Brian Jonestown Massacre – When Jokers Attack
The Lemonheads – Break Me
Built To Spill – Liar
Young Husband – Buttercup
Blur – Beetlebum
Beach House – Gila

3.As a band, what was the first song that you ever played together, and how long after this was it until you realised that you had something special / that there was a chemistry between you all?
“Just A Silhouette was the first song we did together, I just started playing it and everyone joined in, then it was finished. I guess we knew straight away then that we could work together.”

4.Do you have a romantic idea of what a songwriter is?
“I don't think so – I never thought ‘I want to be a songwriter’, I just started writing songs and over time, I realised that it was the thing I loved doing the most.”

5.What are the main themes of your lyrics?

“I go through periods of writing about specific themes depending on what's happening to me at a particular time. I only ever notice them on reflection though. Recently, I've realised just how much my environment influences my writing. Your lifestyle and diet is important as well, it's difficult to write when you're malnourished and full of chemicals.”

6.I really love all of the harmonies in your music – but from all of your favourite artists’ songs, are there any harmonies that you love?
“I'm listening to a lot of Beach House at the moment, their harmonies are beautiful.”

7.What’s the story behind your name, Exlovers, and can you remember where you were, and how you felt, when you first heard one of your songs on the radio?
“It felt for a long time, that I'd never think of a name that we'd like enough to keep. It's a difficult thing to do, and for a long time, we didn't have a name. It has a specific meaning to me, but I don't think I'll ever tell anyone what it is (sorry), I just don't think it's important for people to know exactly where it came from, it means something different to everyone and it's quite nice to keep it ambiguous. I haven't listened to the radio for a long, long time. I used to when I was a kid, I'd sit there on a Sunday and record the Top 40 on a tape-recorder. Though when I was told that we were up for ‘Single Of The Week’ on Radio 2, I tuned in and listened to the results. It was a weird/amazing feeling to hear the opening notes of Just A Silhouette coming in.”

8.Do you have any special memories of places you’ve visited, bands you’ve met, or standout gigs so far?
“Yeah, lots. Most recently, was a tour in France with Peter, Bjorn & John – it was the first time we'd toured in another country and we were all very excited. Our favourite place to play is in London though, at The Lexington, it feels like home.”

9.Some of Q Magazine’s most prestigious annual Music Awards include: Classic Album, Classic Songwriter, Innovation In Sound, Legend and Outstanding Contribution To Music. But if the decision was yours, who would you hand each of these trophies to?

Classic Album – Loveless: My Bloody Valentine

Classic Songwriter – Elliot Smith

Innovation In Sound – Aphex Twin

Legend – Charles Manson

Outstanding Contribution To Music – John Lennon

10.A number of music critics have argued that Greatest Hits and Best Of albums will no longer remain important, due to the increasing popularity of downloading specific songs. Would you agree with this and do you have any favourite Greatest Hits and Best Of packages?
“I don't have many of those records – I think it's better to listen to the albums as they were intended to be listened to by the artists. I think I have a Best Of The Cure album somewhere. Yes, I imagine they will certainly lose popularity, along with the general decrease in record sales.”

11.Judging by Exlovers own record sleeves, I would imagine that you’re all avid record collectors yourselves, and also appreciate their aesthetic appeal?

“Yeah, I love owning records in physical form. It's a shame that it has become less important to some people, but for anyone who wishes to, they can still own their own copy of every record that has been made.”

12.I think your cover version of Wicked Game from Wild At Heart is absolutely beautiful, but if you ever had the opportunity to compose music for a film soundtrack, is this something that you would consider trying + do you have any favourite film soundtracks?

“It's something I've wanted to do for a long time and I'd absolutely love to get the opportunity to do it. The soundtrack to Dead Man always sticks out in my mind, it's just Neil Young playing a melody on an electric guitar and it comes in and out all the way through the film, it's perfect. I love a lot of the soundtracks Danny Elfman composed as well, he writes a beautiful melody.”

13.On a similar note, do you have any current favourite films, records or books?

“I'd recommend watching Dead Man by Jim Jarmusch and my favourite book at the moment is The Great Gatsby.”

14.Can you tell us what we can expect from your debut album, and what your biggest hopes are for Exlovers long-term?

“I can't tell you much, because we haven't started recording it yet. I have started writing songs for it though, and we're very excited about recording them in the not so distant future. I think the album is the main thing we are looking forward to, we can't look beyond that yet.”

15.Lastly, chips or cream buns?

A very special thanks to Peter and to Rob @ Partisan PR, for all of their time and help.


“You forget so easily”

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?