Los Angeles rock duo Ex-Sage recently ventured onto our radar when we featured them as one of our 5 Must-See Rock Acts at Echo Park Rising 2016. We just couldn’t shake their dark, sludgy desert-rock sound that had us high and reminiscing on other rock favorites such as The Kills and The Raveonettes. The band is scheduled to release a new EP titled Out Of The Blue on September 30 and we were thrilled to get a sneak preview of the five gritty, yet harmoniously balanced tracks, including the already available single “Tripwire.”
The duo’s penchant for sticky sweet harmonies amidst a chunky, guitar driven sound stand out with a raw fervor, giving the EP a riveting vibe throughout. For Kate Clover and Tim Foley, splitting the vocal duties came naturally and as Tim describes it: “When we’re working on a song one us will start humming along and writing lyrics. There is something about harmonies that give a song magic. A song can be a great song, but it’s harmonies that bring it into a different place, a place beyond your mind.”
When it came to getting the musical juices flowing for Out Of The Blue, Kate revealed that there was no specific approach to writing the album, it was more of a fluid process that developed from spending a reflective period of time in the desert.
“Writing this EP was a fun challenge. We wrote everything out in Joshua Tree which set the tone. Desolation can play with your mind, for better or worse. Once you’re out in the desert, you’re really left with your thoughts. I felt like we were really tuned in to what was going on in our life at that time and channeled it in a raw and immediate way…I wish that there was something that could trigger being inspired but it varies every time. I like to constantly write so I’ll record a lot of riffs and let then sit for a while. Then I’ll revisit what I have and build from there. A song can float into your mind sometimes too, it happens to me when I’m about to fall asleep and then all of a sudden I’ll have a melody in my head and I’ll get up and record it before I forget. I’m constantly trying to catch the fleeting noise in my head.”
Ex-Sage brought the desert rock aesthetic to visual life as well with their badass album trailer featuring a stop-and-rewind type pacing accompanied by a short storyline where the duo discovers a hypnotic entity in a desert motel that ultimately ignites a feverish music making session.
Delving into the video’s concept and behind-the-scenes action, Tim shares: “We wanted to make a video that showed the surreal nature of a memory and how people can remember the same thing in different ways. The video shoot was pretty easy until the end and then everything started to wrong. First our car broke down. Then as we were driving down this sand road our car started to slow down and sink a little. For some reason we kept going and then the car just stopped. We tried to reverse—nope. Luckily a guy with a truck saw us and towed us out, otherwise it would have been pretty bad. It was like the desert was saying, “that’s it, go home now.”
Even though the desert may have eerily indicated that it was done with Ex-Sage, it’s undeniable that the desert seems to play a recurring theme in what makes the band tick and oddly enough it played a significant role in the band’s formation. Tim and Kate had previously played music together and then went their separate ways. The duo happened to connect by chance when Kate was spending time writing in the desert and Tim was headed out of L.A. for a cross country road trip and then suddenly fate took hold. Per Tim, “As I was heading out of L.A. there was a storm so I pulled over to a bar to wait it out. Kate just happened to be at that bar and we reconnected. That was the beginning of this project.”
When the duo finally set their sights on recording they hit the studio with producer Alain Johannes (Mark Lanegan, Them Crooked Vultures, Queens of the Stone Age) who helped them achieve their goals for the EP. Per Kate, “He’s always been a hero of mine. He creatively functions on another level than anyone else I’ve met and he was so inspiring to work with. He totally understood what we wanted to do and that helped us capture the energy and feel we wanted the EP to have.”
Ex-Sage are set to release their Out Of The Blue EP on September 30.
The band also has some top secret plans in the works for late 2016 /2017 so stay tuned to their Facebook for show dates and details.
Feature by Emily Saex
〉〉 〉 Watch: Ex-Sage Out Of The Blue Album Teaser
〉〉 〉Stream: Ex-Sage “Tripwire”
Out Of The Blue EP Track Listing:
2. Bad Seed Baby
4. Love Me Doom