Exlovers' album 'Moth' is due to drop in May, and Music Dissection is very excited for it! After covering and loving the London quintet's 'Starlight Starlight' and their cover of Chris Isaak's 'Wicked Game', I jumped at the opportunity to send a few questions over for lead singer Pete to answer. Thanks to both the band and everyone at Young And Lost Club for making the interview possible! Exlovers have played dozens of live performances, been promoted by the BBC and look set to make a big impression this year. Read the interview below and swap your email address for the band's excellent single 'Starlight Starlight' here!
Music Dissection: First off, lets start with some standard questions! How did the five of you all meet, and what's behind the band name?
Pete: We all knew each other through mutual friends etc. Chris and I had both lived in St Ives, Cornwall. Laurel and I both studied at Goldsmiths university. There's not much of a story behind us choosing the name 'exlovers', it was just something that I thought of and we all felt that it was in keeping with the tone of the music.
MD: Who and what are your influences and inspirations both musically and lyrically?
Pete: It's good to make a distinction between the two. I grew up mainly listening to bands from the 90's like Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine etc and have been heavily influenced by them. Over the past few years I've been listening to a lot of classical music like Erik Satie and Phillip Glass. I'm just inspired by any music that makes me feel, that is also what inspires me to make music. It's more difficult for me to figure out how I'm influenced lyrically. I write about how I feel or I write words that make me feel something. A few of my favourite authors are Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce and Oscar Wilde.
MD: Your debut EP 'You Forget So Easily' was fantastic, inherently nostalgic and yet lyrically relevant. Are we going to hear an evolution in sound with your debut album?
Pete: Thank you! I hope so, we certainly feel that we've progressed since we released that EP and we were able to spend enough time on the album to create the sound we wanted for each and every song.
MD: Post-'Moth', are there any instruments or themes that you would like to explore more in the future?
Pete: Well I've really enjoyed playing and composing with the piano and violin recently so I imagine that this will start filtering into the songs I write for exlovers.
MD: The timeless cover art for 'You Forget So Easily' was incredibly dark. Given the reminiscent sound and light vocals on the EP, what was the reason behind the cover?
Pete: It was a photo of the father of my girlfriend at the time. To be honest, I can't think of much that wasn't dark for me back then. Ha!
MD: Your music has subtle throwbacks to bands like The Cure, Elliot Smith, Pavement and even The Smiths. What do you make of these comparisons?
Pete: Well I can see the comparisons myself and it makes sense really as I've been a fan of all of the above at one time or another. The Cure and Elliott Smith had enormous importance to me when I was younger and I still enjoy listening to both of them.
MD: Take us through your song-writing process.
Pete: I write in bursts. I often end up with a bunch of ideas that are sometimes only half-formed and then I leave them and write another bunch of half-formed songs. Then I go back through them and some of them jump out at me and I'll try to arrange them into a song. When I have a few that are semi-complete as songs we start working on them as a band and try to figure out the best way to arrange them.
MD: You've managed to stack up quite a number of live performances, and as a result your fan-base has grown exponentially! What are your aspirations as a band?
Pete: Just to continue making music, to keep on progressing and learning as we go. I can only really speak for myself here. It becomes quite confusing for me if I start setting goals or wanting to achieve certain things. I'm quite happy just writing music and it's rewarding enough when just one person tells you that they like what you've done.
Danny: The Pixies
Laurel: Cat Power
Chris: Bon iver
Pete: Chet Baker
MD: Finally, I know it's an over-asked question, but what are your favourite albums and why?
Pete: My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
It's just perfect from start to finish.
Deftones - White Pony
It reminds me of my youth, I think Deftones were responsible for me going off on a terrible tangent with what I was listening to, I started listening to some absolute crap after them. I can still listen to this album and love it though.
The Cocteau Twins - Heaven Or Las Vegas
I love the sound they got on this album. They have some pretty incredible melodies and arrangements too. Everything feels fine when I'm listening to this record.