On February 19, 2023, local band Ex Pilots had an album release show at the Thunderbird Café and Music Hall in Pittsburgh, PA. Ella and Madalyn always love to find new local musicians and check out what they are working on, so they were sure to add this show to their list! Ella got to sit down with the band to talk about who they are, what kind of music they play, and how the band came to be.
- What are your names and who contributes what to the band?
Answering from the right to left in the image above:
Ethan- I do guitar and vocals. For background, this band originally started as a solo thing by myself, but now I don’t have time to do it all alone. We (the other members) are all in other bands together already, so Ex Pilots is now an equal 6 person band.
Andy- I play the drums!
Raphael- I play guitar and do some vocals every once and a while.
Nick- I also do guitar and some vocals.
Mary- I do some vocals!
Mitch- I play bass, and a little bit of vocals.
- How would you describe your band to new listeners?
Ethan- Essentially, if you are into the 90s college rock, lo-fi indie rock sound with some bizarre influences thrown in, then you’ll like us. We try to sound like our music is 30 years old!
- With the recent drop of the self-titled album Ex Pilots, can you describe the process that led up to its release, and how long it took?
Ethan- The album that we are putting out now is actually a re-release, and is professionally remastered. I pulled stuff from when I was about 14, and I finished it in 2019 when I was 24. In this release we also threw in one of Nick’s songs. I’d say it’s probably one of the better songs on the album, too. We put the original version of the Ex Pilots album out in 2019 by ourselves, and then The Smoking Room (record label from Oakland, CA) heard it last year and wanted to work with us. With the original release, I recorded it myself and I didn’t know how to master anything, so it was very quiet sounding.
This all came together because four of us (Mitch, Nick, Ethan, and Andy) are in another band called Gaadge, where we play different stuff. We played a show with The Smoking Rooms headrunner, Sam, and his band, Toner. He loved Gaadge and wanted to hear the other stuff we were involved in. I said that I had another thing going called Ex Pilots and he said “hey, I’ll put out your LP if you’d like to have that happen,” and I was like “of course!”
Immediately after this, someone wanted us to play a show, but there were only two of us contributing to Ex Pilots at the time. This was when we realized we had to form a band, and we thought, “well we have Gaadge, so we might as well overlap with that.”
- Why is the local music scene important to you?
Ethan- From a promoter standpoint, I’m not a promoter by the way, you don’t have to worry as much about paying enormous fees for a 4-band show. People also will want to come and sell their own merch for local shows, which is great. On a more personal level, I’d say “what is your city if you have to travel more than 50 miles to go see a band and enjoy it?”
Nick- We have a lot of really really good bands coming out of Pittsburgh right now. We also go to shows all the time. I feel like there’s so many people at these shows that are also in bands. I also feel like lately there are more unfamiliar faces starting to pop up which is super cool.
- Are there any other local Pittsburgh bands you’d like to shout out?
All- String Machine is phenomenal. We love Rex Tycoon, Silver Car Crash, and Illiterates, too!
Go listen to the “Ex Pilots” LP on your streaming platform of choice, and be sure to follow them on Instagram, @expilots!
Write up by Ella Donovan along with photos by Madalyn Schaller. If reposting please credit @almostfamouszine