Eight months ago, three GW students probably never dreamed that they’d be performing on stage at the next Spring Fling. Exit Clov, which includes three GW students – Aaron Leeder, Brett Neidermann and John Thayer – started booking shows last summer, and then, they say, “the band started rolling.”
Hatchet: How was playing Spring Fling?
Emily Hsu: It was cool … People said it was dreamy outside and it was nice to hear our voices in a big arena, as opposed to clubs where the sound gets lost.
Brett Neidermann: (It) gave us an opportunity to (perform for) kids on campus who may have heard our name but never heard us before, giving them a face and a sound to the name.
H: Your music merges a number of genres. Background-wise, who is who in terms of genres?
John Thayer: A combination of a punk rock and classic pop, Beatles, etc.
EH: Susan (Hsu) and I grew up on brit-pop and indie rock, but (being) in the band is turning me on to reggae more and more.
Aaron Leeder: Lots of jazz and hippie rock.
BN: Anything with a beat. I like a lot of reggae, dub reggae, drum and bass.
Susan Hsu: Blur and Pulp-type Brit pop, with folk fused into a few genres
H: So there’s an array of different backgrounds. Does that ever create a rift in the band’s creative process?
JT: We all have different views of what something should sound like, but we’re all very accepting and open to someone else’s ideas. There is a link through the general pop sound that keeps you connected.
AL: The music is supposed to feel good, beyond just expressing yourself.
EH: The melodic aspect is what everyone agrees on. But it’s a healthy tension, not a rift.
H: How do you like playing on the D.C. scene compared to other city’s clubs?
BN: As far as solid rock acts, we’re not overwhelmed playing in D.C. with other bands. Just becoming a big fish in a small pond. But D.C. is transient. People come and people go. It’s not as often that bands stay here long.
H: Have you made any connections with managers or label reps?
AL: Right now we’re focusing on putting out an EP every few months. Playing a lot of shows too, like the Black Cat on May 3.
SH: We’re still evolving with our sound. We also just have a fan base that we want to expand as we’re constantly playing.
H: What do you think of pop music right now?
JT: I listen to a lot of pop because I want to know what a majority of people are listening to. Bands like the Strokes and the (Red Hot) Chili Peppers are all great, but there’s a lot of crap and garbage gimmicks.
EH: It’s hard for me to find satisfaction when I’m listening to the radio these days. No bands I would trash in particular.
AL: There’s a lot of room for pop to evolve, only room for it to get better. I’m optimistic.
SH: Plus, the crappier it is, the better you feel about the music you put out. (laughter) You realize there’s room to grow.
BN: There’s always bad music in history – disco of the ’70s, terrible music from the ’80s – but there is that happy medium. There are also so many bands that play pop music that are not getting any radio play. We’re not into popular music, but (Outkast’s) “Hey Ya” is one of the best songs around.
This article appeared in the April 22, 2004 issue of the Hatchet.