Elana Stone, Katie Wighton, Hannah Crofts and Georgia Mooney were all individual singers/songwriters who managed to book a show before they even had a name…
I’m sure you’ve read many strange stories of band formations, but it’s pretty rare for four amazing female folk singers to combine forces. Though folk music isn’t considered very mainstream for most millennials, it’s undoubtedly where most of the industry’s strongest songwriting skills and artistry exists, and these girls are no exception.
Mutual friends invited the fab four folk ladies to link up and form a band for an “O Brother Where Art Thou” tribute show in Sydney — which led them to quickly assemble/learn five songs and new instruments in order to unify and become a group. And with the help of our good friend Google, the girls found the perfect name…
From their most popular original tune “The Devil’s Part” to their newest cover of Tame Impala’s “Eventually,” All Our Exes brings a modern sound to folk music that maintains the genre’s relevance and continues its legacy as a respected and acclaimed art form.
Skip forward to present day, and they’ve toured with some major players like Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats and even the Backstreet Boys, combining in four-part, indie-folk harmony heaven.
Check out our Q&A with Hannah Crofts, and the video for “Tell Me,” from their successfully crowdfunded debut album “When We Fall,” due for release in early 2017.
How did you guys decide to name your band?
We had to pick a name really, really quickly. We were booked for a show before we were a band, so we typed in ‘world’s worst/best country song titles’ and it was in the top five – it was either that or “You’re The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly / How Can I Miss You If You Never Leave / Drop Kick Me Jesus through the Goalposts of Life.”
We’ve heard you guys met at another festival and decided to combine forces. Tell us more about that.
Each of us have met in various ways, we were all singers/songwriters performing as solo artists around the time all four of us found ourselves living in Sydney. A friend of ours, James Morrison, suggested we should put together a set for an “O Brother Where Art Thou” tribute night — we bought instruments (we are all piano players originally) and learnt how to play them/learnt five songs for this show.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
Individually, we all have various influences – personally I’ve been listening to a lot of Angel Olsen, Bahamas, Gregory Alan Isakov — I think we all love Margaret Glaspy right now and the McGarrigle sisters are a big influence on Exes music.
Who do you think are some of the top folk artists ever?
Wow, that’s a big question!!! The McGarrigle sisters, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel.
If “Tell Me” were on a movie soundtrack, set to a specific scene maybe, what would it be and why?
We made a video clip to this track where we get broken up with in various ways and then have to play our ex-boyfriends on the soccer field. It’s basically a summary of where we would see this song in the movies! Some horrendous breakup, probably a Lena Dunham film, where you get broken up with in an awful way that you can later laugh about with your mates.
Your album is slated for 2017, and is said to be successfully crowdfunded. Tell us more about that.
We crowdfunded 50% of this record and then pooled the money from various sources to make up the rest. Crowdfunding was a wonderful experience, it really connected us to the fans directly and they get to feel like they’re part of the process of making the album. The album will actually be released on March 3, 2017.
What music are you listening to right now?
Margaret Glaspy is on repeat for me right now, Andy Shauf’s new record is amazing, Washed Out have become my morning soundtrack.
What current songs would you like to take and do an “All Our Exes” cover of?
We just released a version of Perth band ‘Tame Impala’s’ song “Eventually” — Tame Impala’s songwriting is so amazing, and their production is so different to ours, it was really great to take the stems of the tracks and make it our own version.
You’ve been on tour with the Backstreet Boys, and many others. What has been one of your favourite travel destinations thus far and why?
On tour tomorrow we are headed to Shark Bay in WA — it’s one of the only places in the world you can see Dugongs which we are all really excited about. We also recently toured Ireland which we all LOVED. The audiences, the people we met, the countryside — we all fell head over heels.
What kind of messages do you write about in your songs? Do you write them all together? Or take turns bringing in material?
As we are all songwriters we generally write songs individually and then bring them into the group to workshop — we all add, change, influence everyone’s songs. Our general message is just storytelling and honesty about our lives. We want to get across our stories and our personalities within each of the songs.
What would you say the most rewarding thing is about being an artist?
Getting to sing together. I’m a sucker for getting to sing harmonies in a group — I actually don’t think there is anything more heartwarming or cathartic than getting to sing with other people.
What do you hope to accomplish this year?
This year we finished our album, worked together to start the process of putting it out and all of the things involved with releasing a record. We got to travel to the USA, Ireland and the UK as well as doing shows all around Australia. Next year we hope to put out this record and do shows all around the world as much as we possibly can.
What’s next for you? Is there an upcoming tour?
The album comes out March 3, 2017 — we have just been playing a few shows with a full band, including drums/bass/electric guitar, which we would love to do more of coming into 2017. We have 22 shows with Boy and Bear in Australia coming up, then planning our USA arrival next year and hopefully some more Europe and UK shows.
Find Out More About The Band:
Photo credit: Cybele Malinowski