Interview with Laurel from the exlovers by Timothy Danger.
The Exlovers — UK
The silky vocals of an entire fleet of foxes. The psychedelic scree of a whole lotta Loves. The wispy harmony rush of Belle & Sebastian, Stars, Velvet Underground and Beulah in a bouncy castle pillow fight. Exlovers make the kind of diaphanous musical euphoria that can only come from the most damaged of places.
Peter, the forlorn heart of Exlovers’ dustblown guitar romances can be described as a bit of a loner. As a child he skipped between homes, finally nesting up in St Ives as a 15-year-old recluse. Shunning his college’s social swirl, he wrote crude tunes on an old tape recorder in his bedroom, inspired by The Beatles, punk and hardcore records and pumped full of burning teen spirit.
At the end of 2007, broke, dropped out of university and living in the basement of a friend’s house, Peter did the only thing he knew how. He fired up his trusty old tape recorder and gathered his Exlovers.
“It started working,” says Peter, “I felt like it was making more sense. I have loved music since I was a kid, I listened to whatever was around and it became the most important thing in my life. Writing melody’s can often allow you to express something with more clarity than just putting pen to paper, that’s the beauty of a song.”
Peter’s delicate and doleful songs were harmonious beauties, he started working with Chris, a guitarist and an old friend of Peter’s who he lived with in London. Peter wrote two vocal lines and wanted a female voice to help sing them so a friend introduced him to Laurel, another Goldsmiths student and songwriter. Peter loved the fragility she added, and the sofa she let him doss down on. They joined forces with bassist Danny and drummer Brooke and set about what might well be the most furiously productive rehearsals rock has ever seen. Each four hour session gave them another song; within three weeks they were ready to tour. Their budget was so tight they couldn’t even afford a van; they played a two week mini-tour travelling entirely by public transport. They went on to play a hundred shows in the space of a year supporting Golden Silvers, Emmy The Great and Pete & The Pirates.
“In the beginning we’d have to take our equipment on buses and trains around the country when we toured,” Peter laughs. “It was difficult, really difficult. It feels like I’ve spent longer on tour than off tour. The songs were coming out really quickly, we’re constantly trying to hold ourselves back from writing too much and getting ahead of ourselves, taking songs out and putting in new ones all the time. We’re always rehearsing a song and playing it the next day.”
In 2009 the band’s year on the road culminated with an eye-opening support slot at the 2009 NME Awards Shows at Shepherd’s Bush Empire. “Playing those NME Awards shows was quite a highlight for us. You never know how you’re going to react to a situation like that, when you’ve only played to a couple of hundred people. I find myself uncomfortable in most situations so going out in front of lots and lots of people like that and enjoying it was quite a surprise.”
Following the release of ‘Just A Silhouette’ on the Chess Club label early in 2009 and the April showing of AA-side ‘Photobooth/Weightless’ through the celebrated Young And Lost Club (all produced by Florence & The Machine producer Jimmy Robertson). In late 2009, the band released 4-track E.P ‘You Forget So Easily’ with producer Stephen Street. In February 2011, the band released sold-out single ‘Blowing Kisses’ on Young & Lost Club and toured with Noah & The Whale which has been the band’s home since and are set to release the band’s debut Moth.
Moth was written and recorded throughout 2011 at Rockfield Studios, Wales with Demain Castellanos and Jimmy Robertson (Florence and The Machine, Big Pink) Moth sees Pete, Chris, Brooke, Laurel and Danny produce their most comprehensive and confident body of work to date. Reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine, Pavement and Teenage Fanclub, filtered through a refined sensibility for sweetly resounding boy-girl harmonies and pop hooks, it features some of the band’s most immediately accessible songs to date.
Singles ‘Emily’ and ‘You Forget So Easily’ have an instant appeal as breezy vocals set sail across jangly, lo-fi inspired guitars that still pack a more than noticeable punch. It’s a wonderful juxtaposition that places the band very much at the forefront of the recent shoegaze/lo-fi revival. The album’s indisputable centrepiece however is ‘Unloveable’, a cathartic, slow-burning gem that builds from deceptively low-key beginnings into an infectious guitar jam that truly warrants the comparisons exlovers have received to many of their 90s heroes.
Moth is set for its U.K release on 14th May 2012 accompanied by a nationwide tour in support of the release.