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Just Another Motorcityblog Interview with Ex American

Ex American is a local duo that take the post-punk/no-wave aesthetic of the 80's and spice it up with fashion and a modern approach that make them one of the more unique artists to see perform. Their new release "Vanilla Wave" reminds me of early material from Adult ensuring me there are more good things on the way. You can catch them playing next at New Dodge Lounge on Sept. 26th with Manic Moves and Hobert Europe.

MCB: Who is in the band?
EX AMERICAN: Ex American has two members, Courtney Spivak (programming, keyboard, vocals) and Jim Donovan (drums).

MCB: When did you form and why?
COURTNEY SPIVAK:   I  have been doing recording under the name Ex American for a few years, but never performed. Then in 2012  I decided to start performing music live, and thought drums would add fullness to the live performances.
Jim has played in bands for years as a bass player (he is also in ZJCSB and Nine Years Away) but had recently learned how to play drums, so we incorporated his drumming into the old and new tracks and developed a live set.

MCB: Describe your sound in ten words or less and what band would not offend you to be compared to?
EX AMERICAN: Ex American sounds like a futuristic 80’s dream sequence - We don’t really know who else sounds like us, but we have been compared to Lydia Lunch, Klaus Nomi, and Geneva Jacuzzi.

MCB: What’s your latest release and how can people get it?
EX AMERICAN: We released our single Vanilla Wave earlier this summer on iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby, and a full cd with this song and 6 others debuted at New Way Bar this July.  It is currently available digitally on Bandcamp and will be widely released on iTunes, CDBaby and Amazon this fall.

MCB: Favorite local venue and why?
EX AMERICAN: It’s hard to choose- The Loving Touch is one of our favorites, they have a great sound person, a good crowd, and we played a really fun show there this spring.

MCB: Who is your favorite New Wave/Post Punk band from the 80’s?
EX AMERICAN:  In terms of New Wave favorites, it’s a three way  tie- Klaus Nomi, Adam Ant and Grace Jones!

MCB: What do you like most and least about Detroit?
EX AMERICAN:  The best part of the Detroit is how many amazing hidden treasures  the city has- classic architecture,  a thriving art scene and so many great community projects.  Just when you think you have seen everything, something new pops up.

MCB: What’s the furthest you have travelled for a gig?
COURTNEY SPIVAK:   Up and down six flights of stairs in Russell Industrial! It was our first show back in 2012, and it was on the top floor and  we had been told that the elevator was broken. Jim had to carry his whole drum kit up there!
Worse yet, there was a miscommunication and we were in the wrong building, and so we had to go all the way back down, cross the parking lot, and go all the way back up 6 flights in the next building over! Plus it was an unseasonably warm 90 degree spring day.  An absolute disaster, but also perfect situation comedy in retrospect.

MCB: Where’s the best place for people to go hear more from you?
JIM DONOVAN:  The best place to hear and buy our music right now is our bandcamp site-

MCB: What makes being in a band worth it for you?
EX AMERICAN: Just like any art project, the idea of creating something new and stimulating is what makes it worthwhile.

MCB: You will know the band is successful when…..
EX AMERICAN: This is a tricky question- we don’t have a solid measure for success in mind for this project at the moment- but when we get there, we’ll know it.

MCB: Most embarrassing moment so far…
COURTNEY SPIVAK: Hmm, most embarrassing moment? Well, I wear a lot of platform shoes on stage and move around quite a bit, so I have definitely tripped a few times! Usually I pass it off as a jaunty dance move.