Ahead of their show at Jive, Glam Adelaide caught up with the lovely girls from All Our Exes Live in Texas for a quick Q&A.
Can you give us a quick overview of your band name and how you came together as a group?
The band name came, admittedly at the last minute, from a list of the “worst country song titles of all time”. We thought it was funny! I think/hope it somehow encapsulates our love of Americana music and our silly sense of humour. We were all playing solo and spending a lot of time in the folk and bluegrass scene in Sydney a few years back. A friend actually suggested we combine forces – and voices – and it stuck!
What is the central theme of ‘When We Fall’?
It seems to be a bit of a heartbreak album. But what I like about it is that because we contributed three songs each, it sort of feels like a communal catharsis album. When we fall, we have each other.
How does your band function without clashing when you have so many songwriters?
We are quite diplomatic. We have three songs each on the album, we sing three songs each at the shows and we work on a “nothing less than four yes’s equals a yes” basis. Not sure that makes sense, I just made up that quote then. I think we’re just lucky that we all love each others’ songwriting!
Your band is known for your gorgeous harmonies. Do you all develop the harmonies in collaboration, or does one person compose them after the core melody is written?
Up till now we had been writing songs individually and bringing them to the group. Normally someone has a melody and perhaps an idea of the harmonies. But we tend to workshop the harmonies all together. That’s the most fun part! Lately we’re experimenting with writing together from the start.
Friendship is an important part of your band. How do you guys reinforce your bonds when out on the road?
It’s hard not to be constantly reinforcing our bonds when we are sharing beds every night to cut costs. Wait, maybe I mean testing our bonds. I jest. We love each other dearly. We’re more like sisters now. We have our moments but we know what each member needs in order to feel happy and loved and still retain some sense of individualism! It’s sickening how well we get along and how much we laugh together.
You’ve played a lot of festivals, including WOMADelaide. What are the benefits of festivals compared with your own shows and vice versa?
A built in audience!! Festivals are loads of fun. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get to see other bands too. We’ve made some great friends at festivals. Having said that, there’s something very special about having people come specifically to your own headline show. I’m still very chuffed when anyone buys a ticket to be honest!
Alt folk can be quite deep emotionally. What are the lyrical themes your band tends to focus on and how important is it to have strong lyrics with your genre?
Lyrics and stories are incredibly important to folk music. It’s really a storytelling tradition at heart. The words are also the hardest bloody bit to write. I think on this album and in the past, a lot of our songs have tended to come from a place of longing and vulnerability. Now I think, with the feminist movement in full flight, we are inspired by artists who are singing with strength and power. We are writing songs with more political themes and perhaps more self-confidence.
When I think of the term alt-folk the first bands that come to mind are Wilco and Fleet Foxes. What acts have been the biggest influences for you?
Ooh, love both of those! In the modern alt-folk genre we love Father John Misty, Margaret Glaspy, Bahamas, Laura Marling and so many more. In terms of golden oldies, we adore Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Kate & Anna McGarrigle.
Supporting the Backstreet Boys sounds like one of the most unusual gigs you have had. How did that come about and how big were the crowds you played in front of?
The most unusual and the best!!!! My oh my that was fun. It was certainly unexpected. The Backstreet Boys chose us from a shortlist I believe. Our first show with them was at Rod Laver Arena to 18,000 people. At the time the biggest crowd we had performed for was a couple of hundred so it was mind-boggling to say the least. They were such sweethearts and we were jump-up-and-down-ecstatic the whole time.
What were your favourite memories of playing in South Australia?
Adelaide has some of the best festivals in the country I reckon. We have loved playing WOMADelaide and Adelaide Festival. We’ve also had some really fun shows at the Wheaty too. So we’re very excited to come back.