Band Booking: Reading Camus and Exploring the Dark Side of Bar Culture with Ex Cops

Ex Cops are a genre-blending Brooklyn-based band that pairs shoegaze and dream pop tendencies with rhythms and melodies from older, and more varied musical styles, making forays into power pop and country among other, more proximate references. Composed of Brian Harding on vocals and guitar, and Amalie Bruun who shares vocal duties and plays keyboard, the band has experienced a sudden jump in recognition in the wake of their new LP, True Hallucinations released through Manhattan’s Other Music label.

I saw them play to a packed house on February 15th at Mercury Lounge in Manhattan, and took in the show from the front row. Their live show demonstrated a higher level of musicianship than some of their peers in the traditionally lo-fi Brooklyn scene, a quality bolstered by the hints of classic rock that sneaked into the material.

I caught up with them after the show at their merchandise stand, where a large crowd, hungry for T-shirts and copies of the LP, gathered steadily as we spoke. I asked them a few questions, then decided to duck out early and leave them to enjoy the fruits of their labors.

So what’s going on with the band lately?

Right now I’m selling merch (laughs). A lot. We’re going to go on tour pretty soon. Our album came out two weeks ago and we’re going to go on the road in a couple of weeks, and then – (Looks at customer) Vinyl or CD? – and then South By Southwest, and then we’re going on the road with this band called Bleached.

What are you guys reading lately?

I’m starting to try to read World War Z, even though I hate zombie stuff. And I’m reading the biography of Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

(To Amalie) What are you reading?

Amalie: The Stranger by Albert Camus.

So your song “Separator” has a video that just came out last week. Tell me about that song.

It’s kind of a dark song. It’s about bars and bar culture. It’s all in the lyrics really.

How do you like playing in Brooklyn music scene and how do you get your music out there online?

B:  I’ve always just emailed people like crazy and I’ve been pretty hardcore about hustling our stuff everywhere. I’ve been proactive about working with the Internet since I started – it’s necessary.

Ex Cops’ album True Hallucinations is available now through Other Music. They are currently on a nationwide tour, information can be found here.

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