"So, have you seen Martin Scorsese lately?” As Radar interviews go, small talk with small bands doesn’t generally start like that. But here we are, walking around the Big Apple during CMJ with Exitmusic’s Aleksa Palladino and Devin Church. Aleksa was hanging out with Martin last night, she tells us. But this isn’t too surprising – she does act in his HBO hard-hitter Boardwalk Empire, after all…
Back in the real world, the petite New Yorker concocts dark and seductively noir-ish songs with hubby Devin. And right now, the two of them are tucking into pizza and discussing the virtues of the sixth sense they both have when making music.
“At some point we realised that we can’t really work with anybody else, because we just drive them crazy,” he laughs, before she takes over. “It’s got to the stage now where we’ve even built our own complete musical language.” Like what? “Like ‘ghosting’! It’s when another instrument picks up the same melody but in a different mood. So it’s like a memory. That’s cool, right?! That’s just the way we are. If we’re gonna do anything, we’re gonna roll up our sleeves and own it.”
And owning it is kinda what the couple – along with stand-up drummer Dru Prentiss and electronics maestro Nicholas Shelestak – have ended up doing in New York this past year, building up a fervent following to the point where each of their CMJ shows is packed with a buzzy concoction of hardcore fans, hipsters and muso-freaks. There aren’t many industry folk these days (Secretly Canadian won that battle a few months back) and, interestingly, no HBO mentalists either. Exitmusic is no vanity project, Aleksa says. “It’s not like I’m in Clueless and writing this music. Both of these things come from the same place, and that’s what I’m drawn to.”
Devin, the musical obsessive and driving force behind the band, has been the quieter of the two, until now, but he pipes up. “There’s no conflict at all really,” he says, shrugging his shoulders with a friendly confidence. “We’re just going to make sure it works both ways…”
Need To Know:
Based: Brooklyn, New York
For Fans Of: Portishead, Zola Jesus
Buy it Now: 'From Silence' EP is out now, and an album is due next April
See Them Live: Supporting Braids at London's XOYO on November 9 at Rough Trade on November 7
Believe It Or Not: Their name was inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey. "The last piece of music played in it is like limbo music. We sound like that."