Exit Calm are a shoegazing band from South Yorkshire and consist of Nicky Smith (vocals), Ron Marshall (guitars), Simon Lindley (bass) and Scott Pemberton (drums).

They have released three vinyl only singles, ‘Higher Learning’, ‘We’re on Our Own’ AC30, 2008) and ‘Hearts and Minds’. Their debut album, the self-titled ‘Exit Calm’, which is my album of the year to date, came out in May. ‘We’re On Our Own’ will be re-released opn both vinyl and CD in August.

We spoke to Simon and Nick before a gig in front of a full capacity crowd at the Islington Academy in London.


PB: I first heard of Exit Calm about two years ago. How long have you been together?

NS: I think it has been about three years now.

PB: Were you in any other band beforehand?

SL: Rob, Scott and me were in another band, Laser Sleep, which wasn’t full time and which didn't work out and then Nick got in touch with us. Unknowing to us he liked our old band and probably wasn't keen on the singer (Laughs) Only joking!

I put up an ad in a music shop in Leeds, just by chance as we don't live near there, and he answered it, not knowing it was us, so he was familiar with what we did anyhow.It was meant to be really.

PB: Where are you actually from?

SM: That was the weird thing about him getting in touch. We are from Barnsley originally but by that stage Nicky had moved to Sheffield which is where Rob also lives. Now we are spread all over Yorkshire.

PB: Why the name Exit Calm?

SL: I was reading a book called ‘Silent Rebels’. I was just flicking through it and those two words popped out at me.

PB: The first single, ’Higher Learning’, which you self-released, sold out instantly on pre sales. Were you surprised by that?

NS: No, because there was only like 50 copies. No, there were a few more than that, but not many. I think the idea was to create a bit of a buzz and it worked.

SL: We never really pressed it. We all come from the same place with regards to music and all came out of the mid 90’s record buying scene. We just wanted to do this limited run 7 inch single because no one does that anymore.

PB: You have been signed since then to ClubAC30. Was there other interest from other labels?

NS: They have been really nice to us and we wanted to stick with them. We got on really well with them.

PB: How long did it take you to write the album. Is it three years worth of work?

SL: We put on everything we had and some loose things as well. It's got as much in common with the Chameleons, Doves and Slowdive as well as DJ Shadow, and hip hop albums and dance music, not that we are a dance band. I think it is a very full listen.

PB: You also remind me of the once great Verve.

SL: No one ever says that?

PB: Really?

SL: As we get more press, I suppose that is an easy one to throw at us. Rob is actually really mad on Hendrix and Johnny Marr. He doesn't want to copy every Nick McCabe lick. He likes Vini Reilly, John Martyn, stuff like that. That’s more his thing.

PB: The other band that you remind me of that we haven’t mentioned is ‘Crocodiles’/’Heaven Up Here’-era Echo and the Bunnymen.

SL: Nice one. That's good. That is an influence that we get. That is a massive compliment, because those early Bunnymen albums have got depth. Those are like journeys. The thing with them is that it is all tagged together with Ian McCulloch’s voice.

PB: You have done a fair bit of touring.

NS: You have too, to get the music out there. That’s where you have to be good.

PB: Have you a healthy live following out there?

NS: Yeah. That's what has come of hammering in the live set. We are picking up people. It is slowly growing.

PB: Have you done any festivals or played outside of Britain yet?

NS: Yeah, we played in Tokyo shortly after I first joined the band and within three months of playing together. We have played Glastonbury and V and a few other ones as well.

PB: Did you go down well in Japan?

NS: Yeah, I think that’s what has cemented us as a band. We really had to come together.

SL: We got treated like kings. I wish people in Barnsley thought like that.

PB: What are your future plans? Do you have any more songs written?

SL: Hundreds.

NS: We have got some new ideas knocking around out there. People say the second is the hardest.

PB: It is normally the third one that is the bastard.

SL: The first one was the bastard. If it is as hard as this, I'm getting a job (Laughs).

PB: Is there anyone you would like to work with?

SL: Steve Albini. William Orbit. He just tapes everything. He is a genius, especially with what he did with Blur's ‘13’ album.

We want to have the next record out by next year. We have a new rules that we don't want to repeat ourselves, because a lot of bands like us with their second album just make a poppier version of their first album, but we are approaching it in a different way.

PB: Thank you.











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