EXES first came on our radar two years ago, when they released their powerful single “Cain.”
The bicoastal indie pop duo joins Brooklyn-based Allie McDonald and Venice Beach-based producer Mike Derenzo. Together as EXES, the pair has garnered over 45 million Spotify streams, and their critically acclaimed 2016 debut EP The Art of Saying Goodbye has accumulated more than 25 million streams on its own across platforms.
EXES recently teamed up with another creative pair, JOME, a synthpop duo comprising LA-based songwriter Jesse Epstein and New Orleans-based writer/producer Cristoph Andersson, who have been killing it in their own right accumulating millions and millions of streams and achieving features in a variety of television shows.
A natural collaboration, the result of the working relationship between these two on-trend duos is a joint narrative delivered in the form of a new EP titled Nothing’s Out To Get You, which was created in the sanctuary of a living room-turned-studio in Marin County, CA.
Discover more about how the EP was born in Musical Notes Global’s interview with Allie of EXES and Jesse from JOME below.
MNGBlog: Congratulations on your new EP Nothing's Out To Get You! What was it like creating an EP with another duo?
Allie: Honestly it kind of felt a bit like sleepaway camp. I feel like I should say it was a lot of hard work, and to be fair, my brain definitely needed a songwriting break after those 4 days, but it was one of the best little music vacations I’ve ever been on. For 4 days music was all that mattered. Mike and Christoph would work together building out the track/soundscape and Jesse and I would isolate and surround ourselves with song concepts and lovely words. It was an amazing weekend because music and words were all that mattered. I didn’t think about reality for even a minute.
MNGBlog: What prompted your collaboration ( with EXES with JOME?)
Jesse: It was bound to happen. Mike has been a frequent collaborator on a bunch of JOME songs, and Christoph and I both have popped in to some EXES sessions and done some writing and production, so it was just a matter of time before all of us got in a room and made something together. Working with the four of us is such a fluid process. Everyone fills their role so well and can focus completely on different aspects of the songs.
MNGBlog: Can you talk a little bit about the concept behind the EP?
Jesse: The EP deals with a lot of uncertainty about the future. Looking ahead at how things might pan out is so fraught with feeling, and there’s a lot of emotion pent up in that unknown. We explored those themes in some way in all of these songs. Will we be able to keep the love we’ve found? When will we lose the people closest to us, and what will that be like? Once you start asking some questions like that, the songs really start to bubble up to the surface.
MNGBlog: Did you learn anything new from (JOME/EXES) while working with them, or in general while working on the EP?
Allie: Well we’ve known each other for a couple of years now. This wasn’t the first time we’ve worked together, but it’s definitely the first time we’ve all lived in a house together. I definitely felt a bit spoiled because the guys are absolutely incredible chefs. I had some of the best pasta and homemade tomato sauce on that trip (I still dream about it to be honest). I also learned about eye-gazing--an exercise where you stare into someone else’s eyes without speaking and in complete silence for 3-5 minutes. Jesse and I would do this every morning before writing and the outcome was incredible. It was like we were instantly connected and safe to bring any and all ideas to the table.
MNGBlog: What does the EP represent for you?
Allie: We all met up in Marin County to hang out and write music--our favorite thing to do. It feels very authentic to write and release a project with some of your closest friends. I like that the goal of this EP wasn’t to make something that’ll get loads of streams--it was to make something meaningful with people I care about and respect musically. I’m super proud of this EP and what it symbolizes to me. It’s easy to get caught up in this industry so I’m happy that we’ve all stayed true to ourselves with the sounds and words of “Nothing’s Out to Get You”.
MNGBlog: What do you hope fans take away after listening?
Allie: Mostly, I hope it allows fans to feel something. While we were recording this album I felt very vulnerable and in a safe space. I hope that somehow that translates and fans know that it’s okay to feel happy or sad--that the ability to feel anything is a beautiful thing. I’ve always said that my worst quality is that I feel too much and my best quality is that I feel too much. I hope that fans that share this emotional sensitivity with us know it’s okay to feel something.
Listen to Nothing’s Out To Get You below.