Kate Clover and Tim Foley once performed music as Cobalt Cranes, a Lolipop Records band highly visible in the LA underground scene. The project dissolved upon their romantic break-up. Within months, however, they ran into each other in the California desert, and decided to give it another go. And so they’ve returned as ExSage, a sludgy, lo-fi rock project that crosses a “Nick Cave ominousness” as Noisey put it with a coolness reminiscent of The Kills. They put out their debut EP, Out Of The Blue, back in the fall, and play Sunnyvale on Thursday with Desert Sharks and LOVER. Here the two answered a few questions about reuniting, recording the new EP, and the cosmic effect all of this has had on their sound.
How do you perceive the ExSage project as different than the Cobalt Cranes project?
Kate: Spiritually and sonically it’s a complete departure. In order to mark a change sometimes you need to tear it up and start again, and we did.
What was it like to work with Alain Johannes to produce the new EP? Having worked with such distinctive artists as PJ Harvey and Queens of the Stone Age, did anything in particular rub off on your sound?
Kate: Alain is in touch with the cosmos, he operates creatively on another level than anyone I’ve ever met. He really helped me disarm myself of my own judgments and to focus on capturing a great performance. It was therapeutic in a way I’ve never felt recording. I was drained by the end of it, I really put myself into every second of that EP.
You guys reunited in the Southern California desert. Does that imagery factor into the new EP at all? Is there a special significance to that?
Tim: Yeah, we wrote our EP in the desert outside of LA. Being out there, we were detached from LA but still close enough to think about it and almost meditate on it. And there is some sort of cosmic energy in Joshua Tree. We mixed that forlorn, searching vibe of the desert with our experiences living in LA – the relationships, hardships, celebrations. We put all of that into this EP.
Did your time apart inform the new project’s sound at all, in terms of growth and perspective?
Kate: Seeing the world from your own point of view is important for creative expression it helped realign my mind. With that came clarity and a crystalized sense of purpose. Once you feel that in yourself it’s impossible to ignore.
What else is in the works for ExSage in 2017, after the EP release?
Kate: We have some tricks up our sleeves and some news coming soon….
– Mandy Brownholtz