The trajectory to fame for the four-piece,
all-female band All Our Exes Live in
Texas has been a quick one. The group
went from busking in Central tunnel to make
ends meet to performing at the Parramatta
opening night at this year’s Sydney Festival in the
space of just two years. Incorporating ukulele,
accordion, mandolin and guitar, the band writes
sad but witty, lovelorn folk songs with rich
harmonies that allow individual voices to shine.
It’s come a long way, and its first album will be
out in September.
“We were all super pumped to be part of a great festival in our town,” says one member, Hannah Crofts. The band, which along with Crofts is comprised of Katie Wighton, Elana Stone and Georgia Mooney, has released a new single, Sailboat, with a tongue-in-cheek video of the musicians synchronising their swimming as well as their harmonies.
When we meet the band in Hyde Park for our interview, our photographer sets them up under a low-hanging canopy of branches. When prompted to “laugh naturally” for the shot, they start trying to thwack each other in the crotch to prompt a giggle. It’s clear they revel in each other’s company; loud, hilarious and talking over the top of one another, just like sisters.
The band’s first music video, for Tell Me, depicts them as four crazy, obsessive girlfriends who freak out their respective love interests with their intensity (interspersed with a slow-motion soccer match, boys against girls). Are they having a gentle laugh at the melancholy of the breakup genre? “Accidentally, yes,” says Stone. “Laughing through our tears is our general attitude to life,” Crofts adds. “We do write sad songs,” says Stone. “At shows we’ll tell some horrible joke and then have to get in the frame of mind to sing a really sad, earnest song which is not meant to be funny but we and the audience still find it funny,” Stone says. All established singer-songwriters, the group met through their music; having sung in each other’s bands and toured as various pairs before forming All Our Exes Live in Texas early in 2013. “It was sort of inevitable,” says Stone. “When the band formed we were like, Oh, this is going to be easier and more fun than our solo stuff, how annoying’.”
That all members of the group are women is something media talks to them about all the time. “Always,” says Wighton. “We’re constantly battling with the concept of the girl band – if we should say it or if we shouldn’t. I’m up for it – I’d like it to be an anti-girl-band ... No one is shaking their arse at any point in this band,” says Mooney. “We should be proud of it.”
They’re still learning from each live performance, seeing how it evolves on its own. “It’s very unrehearsed, which can be both charming and crap,” says Stone. It’s safe to say their performances tilt heavily towards the former end of the spectrum, if you don’t mind a little onstage gasbagging.