Gimme Your Answers 2: An Interview w/ Ex Cops

Ex Cops
Photo by Don Stahl

“I don’t want to listen to the old and angry man who’s an indie blogger with beard. He can fuck himself. I care about what the fans think.” — Amalie Bruun


While on tour with Dum Dum Girls in support of their latest album Daggers, indie-rock duo Ex Cops took the time to catch up with A Music Blog, Yea?. Read our interview below, as we got cozy with the band’s Amalie Bruun and Brian Harding in the back of their tour van to discuss working with Billy Corgan, going to a wrestling match, annoying hecklers, and internet trolls. Daggers is out now on Downtown Records and is available for purchase here.

Alicia: You soon release your new record Daggers, congratulations on that! What was the experience like recording this new album?

Amalie Bruun: It was a long process – I live in Denmark and wrote some stuff and Brian lives in upstate New York and he wrote some stuff and afterwards we came together and wrote some stuff. Magically, we got Billy Corgan involved and went to Chicago with him and started to record demos there. We spent a month in LA afterwards to record all of these demos and we also did two songs there with Ariel Pink and this girl LP who is a great singer.

Alicia: I’ve interviewed her before and she’s great.

Amalie Bruun: She’s wonderful.

Alicia: Recording with Billy came around by speaking with your label and jokingly saying, “wouldn’t it be cool to get Billy Corgan to play with us”.

Brian Harding: Yea, we were joking in a good way and wishing that we could do it.

Alicia: And the next thing you knew, you had his number in your hands. What was it like working with him?

Amalie Bruun: We called him on speakerphone, Brian and I, and one of the first things he asked us was “Do you guys want to be a Pitchfork band or do you want to be a big pop band?” We replied saying we want to be big [laughs]. He then replied, “Okay, we can talk”.

Brian Harding: We saw him last week and we were discussing how a hit is a hit and how people want to hear a universal song that they love.

Amalie Bruun: We like good writing.

Brian Harding: Not just the flavor of the month thing that we see happening – we want to write timeless pop songs.

Alicia: When you found out that you were going to be working with Billy, did you initially think that things would run as smoothly as they did?

Amalie Bruun: No [laughs]. I don’t know much about Billy, other than what I know now as a friend. All I really knew was that he’s been known to be an intense personality, but after getting to know him, he’s a very warm person and the recording process was also very personal and warm. It was truly like playing with a friend.

Yaz: Did he take you to a wrestling match?

Brian Harding: He did.

Amalie Bruun: Our first one.

Yaz: He’s so passionate about that so we figured he might have taken you both. He bought a federation now, didn’t he?

Brian Harding: Yes, Resistance Pro Wrestling. He’s really passionate about it.

Yaz: We always kid about how they’re the best one-take actors in the world.

Brian Harding: It’s amazing.

Amalie Bruun: When we went to a match, it was so crazy; everything was over the top with the outfits and the fans.

Brian Harding: The fans were crazy, but it was amazing to see because people were there with their families and no one was getting drunk or cursing or yelling. The art form was fun.

Amalie Bruun: My mom is a psychologist and I remember telling her about the show and how fun it was, but how some people think it’s ridiculous. I like black metal and think a lot of people think it’s kind of ridiculous as well… with the corpses and big axes…

AMBY and Ex Cops: [laughs]

Amalie Bruun: I don’t think it’s ridiculous though because it really speaks to my heart. The same goes with wrestling to other people.

Yaz: I have a guitar question… when you were doing the tracks, did you have access to all of Billy’s gear?

Brian Harding: He has a huge book with laminated sheets of his gear and the first one I chose was this old Strat, and he’s like “not that one” [laughs]. Everything else he was very cool with. I was playing an acoustic guitar and looked at the headstock and it said Landslide.

Amalie Bruun: It was a great moment.

Alicia: Since our first interview, we’ve been following your social media accounts to keep up with the band. It looks like you have a really fun time on the road – I especially like the photo of you two standing there with about twenty real cops around you [laughs]. As far as touring goes, what are some of the funnier moments you’ve encountered or things that have happened to you?

Amalie Bruun: Let me think here…

Brian Harding: We had a heckler once.

Alicia: Oh no, that’s never good.

Amalie Bruun: We were playing a show in Denver and were trying to play, but this drunk guy kept yelling in between every song. He kept screaming, “you suck”,”the band before you was way better”, “blahblahblah”. We just had enough of it and I told him to shut up – he didn’t shut up. I then threw this duct tape thing at him because that’s all that was there and he then yelled “she assaulted me”. Then he still wouldn’t shut up. After that, I told him to get the fuck out of I’d fucking kill him [laughs]. I got so mad. Finally, staff came over to take him outside. Everyone was applauding, so it was like we won, but it was a rough show.

Alicia: We have a lot of indie bands who follow our website, and you two are a younger band, so what advice would you give to artists who are just getting into the music industry?

Brian Harding: Don’t read the comments.

Amalie Bruun: Do not care what people say because it doesn’t matter. If you think it’s good, it doesn’t matter.

Alicia: I like that. I live that almost every day when running a website – you get comments on everything, some great and some just annoying, and you just have to forget about it.

Yaz: It’s because the whole fucking internet is open to trolls.

Amalie Bruun: It’s terrible. It’s like they’re spreading fear on the internet and discourage you to –

Alicia: – do what you love.

Amalie Bruun: Exactly. As long as there are people who feel something from your music or writing, that’s all that matters. I think bands and artists should take back their power and do what they want to do because there are a lot of people out there who do appreciate what you do.

Alicia: That’s a great piece of advice.

Yaz: You can either ignore people or say something, but then you have to worry about the backlash.

Alicia: That’s almost worse than the initially comment, half of the time, when you’re fueling the flame.

Amalie Bruun: You don’t have a chance to defend yourself.

Yaz: Half the time you find out that they’re thirteen year olds behind their computers.

Amalie Bruun: Thirteen year olds I would listen to. I don’t want to listen to the old and angry man who’s an indie blogger with beard. He can fuck himself. I care about what the fans think.

AMBY and Ex Cops: [laughs]

Alicia: That might be the best quote I’ve received in an interview.

Amalie Bruun: I care about what the kids think because they’re the ones coming out to the shows.

Alicia: Since we’re talking about doing what we love, I feel it’s the perfect time to ask our last question: what’s the best part of being in Ex Cops?

Brian Harding: I feel like before this album we had a very blank slate and now we have our own sound. It’s been a very fun process and I’m proud of what we created.

***

Thank you Ex Cops, for giving us your answers!

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Interview by Alicia Atout (@AliciaAtout) and Yaz Atout (@YazAtout)

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