Sunday, May 1, 2011


In December we introduced you to a band that has been stirring up big noise back in Northern England. An atmospheric rock and roll band that has people like Liam Gallagher, J.Pierce of Spiritualized and Mani of Primal Scream all praising and rushing to see Exit Calm. We chose Exit Calm as one of our "15 Artist to Watch in 2011" and while the band are touring the UK at the moment and still raising eyebrows and gaining more and more attention, we could not be prouder to say - "we told you so!" Take a look as we spoke with singer Nicky Smith, bassist Simon Lindley, guitarist Rob Marshall and drummer Scott Pemberton as we discussed the band's hopes and dreams, praise and music.

How do you decide the type of music you make ?

Scott Pemberton - For me its a bit like asking why do you speak the way you speak. You dont really have a choice if you're honest with yourselves. A lot of the sound comes from Robs guitar but then again me and sime put a lot of groove to the tunes and nicky always calves a melody out of anything we play, then we put it together and it sounds like us. I don't think we could be any other band if we tried and i don't think we would want to be.

With so much sound bouncing off your music is recording a hassle?

Scott - The only thing that maybe makes it awkward is the way we choose to record. We mostly do live takes so you end up with overspill on other mics but done in the right way i think this adds to the live feel and stops it sounding mechanical and stale. After that we just go for takes until we are all happy with what we put down as a band. Theres pros and cons to doing both ways but we get more done like that.

You formed just a few years ago and already embraced by so many, do you ever have a pinch me moment?

Scott - Its a great feeling to have someone who you grew up listening to saying great things about your band and a seal of approval we all look for. Plus we have great fans from all over the world and you've got to remember these people dont have to come and see you or buy you albums but they do, and so i suppose the pinch me moments are as much to stop your heads going up your arses as to take time to appreciate what you have got and where you have got to.

Liam Gallagher, Mani of Primal Scream, Echo and the Bunnymen, Alan McGee, Dark Star all praise your work, how does that make you feel? Are you fans of those that are fans of yours?

Rob Marshall - We've been in good company over the past few years..And yeah they're all people were fans of and respect..Touring with Bunnymen was incredible..A real eye opener for us and it was cool to feel accepted by both the band and crowds..David francolini (dark star) has become part of the exit calm family early on, a real friend..And i think 'twenty twenty sound' is one of the best kept secrets of the last few decades..If you don't own it - hunt it down and buy it.

What was it like playing the opening of Liam Gallagher's Pretty Green store party?

Rob - It was a good day for us..a buzz..I grew up listening to Liam on the Radio, watching him on the telly, so it was honour to be asked..We got the Nod and it was enough..I like Liam - what u see is what u get. He's not scared to open his mouth..and whether you agree with him or not, that's a rare thing these have that front and confidence..He seems real and genuine to me..and funny as fuck..The night it self was done with a bit class..There was real effort and thought gone in to it so fair play to him...

Being from North England, was it hard getting noticed or does location in a country not even matter any more?

Rob - I'm not sure it matters anymore...Its all DIY to a certain extent now so the divide has become less important..Plus from our point of view, we never really singled London out from any other city or town..We just wanted to be the best we could be and build a following across the country...North's best though;)

There is a lush ambient sound in your music, how does it come about? Is it in the studio or magic of how you play your instruments?

Simon Lindley - Anyone who's seen us live over the years will know its nothing to do with studio magic. The ambience of it come from our natural dynamics and Rob's personal sound. I've never heard someone make such a noise with so few effects - its all instinctive and textured. Again, anyone who's seen us live will know that 'ambient' is a word thats get left behind pretty quickly! but yeah, its important for us to have the light/dark elements in a lot of things we do, thats why not over using the studio was an integral part of how our album came across. It a bit of a whirlwind with a minimal approach. A storm in a teabag.

Who are some of your influences?

Simon - This is always a hard question to answers as there's so much in us. There's the bands that tie us all together - Spiritualized, Elbow, Doves, Ride, Beta band, the Autumns, Brian Jonestown, Dark Star, I'll not deny it - the Verve. I'd say none of them really have a demending influence on our approach - maybe a couple rythmically but we honestly don't sit around trying the emulate anyone. The guitars obviously come from a certain place and its obvious scratchy indie nonsense isn't an influence on us, but theres massive diversity to what we're all into personally which i think creates the way we sometimes come across, Nickys really into dylan, most of the stuff i'm into nowadays is breakbeat/psychedelic stuff, Rob's big on Brian Eno and at the same time Tom Waits, Scotts into Cat its all different ears, similar heads really.

You were embraced by the London club AC30, is that the equivalent of a place like CBGB’s or Whiskey-A-Go-Go that houses a certain scene?

Simon - Club AC30 does house a scene to a certain extent - not one we've ever been part of as we're so different to most of the stuff they've put out, and thats a good thing. The greatest thing about clubAC30 is that they stand on their own and they put their neck on the line for things they believe in, which even most independents shun nowadays. We've grown together over the years and i honestly think its been good for certain bands and labels seeing how we've done it. To compare the clubnights to CBGB's is a bit strong though...slightly calmer atmosphere i'd imagine! I've never seen anyone in a pair of hotpants at an AC30 night anyway...

For your debt you recorded 18 songs and used 11 of them, how did you pick and choose what would be on the record? Will the other 7 ever be released?

Nicky Smith - We have used all 18 now. That was the purpose of the last EP - Dont look down. 'Hope' and 'All on you' were recorded at the same session as the album. So The 'dont look down Ep' was us closing the door on that section of exit calm I guess...

You started off releasing 7” records, with vinyl coming back in a major way, will you be releasing more material in that format?

Nicky - I would like to think that as long as they keep making needles, then we will keep making records.

As a musician and music fan are you happy that proper record formats are coming back and everything is not just all digital releases?

Nicky - Definitely! I am quite a tactile person and appreciate the record sleeve and packaging etc. Vinyl sounds superior as well, so yes I am happy. It warms me to think that in an increasingly lazy world, there is still a place for something that takes a little more effort and care. Which also produces a better result.