I’ve only been to the desert once and when I wasn’t looking around terrified of snakes I was guzzling water to contain what seemed like a unquenchable thirst. Maybe I’m not desert folk, but when I hear the musical tag “desert rock” I’m usually all in.
LA’s ExSage draw all kinds of inspiration from the desert on their debut EP – “Out of the Blue” – the heaviness of the heat, the bleakness but beauty of the terrain, the resilience and toughness it takes to survive and thrive in such a inhospitable climate (come to think of it this kind of mirrors the music industry).
Formed from the ashes of the dreamy garage pop band Colbalt Cranes, Tim Foley and Kate Clover have embraced their dark side and channeled it into 5 tracks that promise big things from this new incarnation.
ExSage mix the swirling psychedelia of the desert sound with Gothic doom overtones, although they are not as sludgey or stoned as desert rock bands like Sleep or Kyuss. They are not afraid to pull out the hooks as you’ll hear on the bluesy opener “Tripwire” or the wicked “Love Me Doom“.
Similar to X’s Exene Cervenka and John Doe, ExSage’s Clover and Foley share vocal duties and their voices blend effortlessly together thanks to producer Alain Johannes (Queens of the Stone Age, Mark Lanegan).
This is a strong point of departure for ExSage, and I for one can see the allure of returning to the desert to process my existential dread with Out of the Blue as a soundtrack.
We touched base with bassist/vocalist Kate Clover.
You were both part of LA band Colbalt Cranes which had a more 60s garage rock sound. ExSage is considerably edgier/darker how did this direction come about?
It was a natural evolution. Musically and spiritually we had changed so much writing and recording our EP (Out of the Blue) that we had to make a bold transition to mark the creative shift. We had to shed some skin.
Tell us about your gear.
I play a Gibson SG with a secret overdrive pedal. I use an orange head with an ampeg cab. I try to keep my tone wirey but punchy. To me, a strong bass tone is as important as a great lead guitar tone.
Describe your sound as a cocktail – what would it be called and what would be in it?
Dark Star: Ruby Port, Blackstrap Rum, Cynar, Strawberry Cordial, Lemon, Absinthe (favorite cocktail from a local LA bar)
If you could pick any time and place to travel back to for music, where would you go and what year would it be….?
Late Seventies LA punk scene.
If you could tour with any band/artist right now who would that be and why?
Nick Cave. He inspires me endlessesley. I’d love to meet him.
Give us your 10 song playlist for the tour van/bus/plane?
1. Grinderman- No Pussy Blues
2. Roky Erickson- Two headed dog
3. Pentagram- Forever My Queen
4. Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds- Ricky Ticky Tocky
5. Chain and The Gang- Certain Kind Of Trash
6. Psychic TV- Just Like Arcadia
7. ESG- Moody
8. Melike Demirag- Harset (Longing)
9. Germs- Land Of Treason
10. Girl Tears- Sedated
11. Pylon- Feast on My Heart
12. The Black Ryder- Let It Go
13. MC5- Let Me Try
14. Hawkwind- Hurry on Sundown
Give us two essential books to read.
1. Super-Natural Strategies for making a Rock ’n’ Roll Group
2. Technicians of the Sacred
When you’re not playing and have some time off, where could we find you
Reading or playing with my cats. I’m a total cat lover.
What’s up for the rest of 2017?
We have some very surprising news coming soon!!!!!