Features Interviews Almost Famous with Make Your Exit

Almost Famous with Make Your Exit

Make Your Exit

"It's a think-piece about a mid-level band struggling with their limitations in the harsh face of stardom."

I'm flying high over Tupelo, Mississippi, with Toronto's hottest band... and we're all about to die. Not actually true. But if you've seen the movie Almost Famous, you get the reference.

I am sitting in an office with three out of five members of Toronto's Make Your Exit, and everybody is laughing. This is true.

I have just asked the band what they love about music, and guitarist Mike Denby is first to speak (it should be noted that Mike looks exactly like Russell from Almost Famous).

"To start with?" he says. "Everything."

Again, if you’ve seen Almost Famous, you know how epic (especially coming from a Russell look-a-like) that line is.

In the film, Russell plays in an up-and-coming band called Stillwater. On the way up but still struggling to figure themselves out, Stillwater encounters bumps in the road to stardom.

Cue Make Your Exit. Don't get me wrong, they are not the real-life version of Stillwater. They don’t have any in-band rivalries, they don't see journalists as "the enemy," and they don't strike me as the kind of guys who would sell their groupies (if they have groupies) to another band for a pack of beer, although that's one question I didn’t get to ask them. Still, Make Your Exit embodies the youthfulness, talent, experimentalism, and passion for music that made Stillwater a band you liked to root for.

And you will like to root for Make Your Exit. With catchy melodies, powerful harmonies, and a laid-back vibe, they are already receiving a lot of positive attention.

"It’s always great to read nice reviews," says lead singer Jeff Buckley. "Either way, hopefully people are saying something that you can learn something from. If the review is bad hopefully it's at least specific as to what was so bad about it. When we get a bad review it's usually in check with how we're felt about the show. It's never good if we walk out of a show thinking it was great and everyone else thinking it was bad."

"We're probably harder on ourselves," adds Mike.

"So say whatever you want!" Oliver Pauk, their alto saxophone player, says to me as the other guys start laughing. "We already know we suck!"

Jeff turns to Oliver. "That'll be the headline of the article, way to go, man."

Everybody laughs.

Make Your Exit (the other two members being Mike Dellios on bass and Robbie Butcher on drums) are a band of guys who take their music seriously (one listen to their new EP, Remind Me the Reason I Came, will prove that) but clearly do not take themselves too seriously.

"Back in the day bands tried to be all mysterious and stuff, and now it's more interactive and personal," says Oliver. "I think it's more fun that way because you can kind of get to know people and be able to have actual conversations with people."

With a slew of shows behind them, Make Your Exit are ready to write new music, head out on tour, and record a full-length album. But whether they are playing music or talking about music, Make Your Exit's love for the art is crystal clear.

"For all of us, it's something that's been a part of our lives for as long as we've known so I don't really know what things would be like if we weren't into music," Mike says. "We're having a hell of a lot of fun being on stage."

Jeff turns to Mike. "You need to bring the 'high kick' out of the practices," he says. More laughs.

"I have some special dance moves that don't necessarily get brought out on stage, but I just do them for a laugh during practice," Mike explains. "So things might get stepped up a notch at upcoming shows."

"We're in it for the high kicks," says Jeff. "THAT’S the title of the article."

Perfect. Roll credits.

Make Your Exit plays NxNE at Sneaky Dee's on Friday, June 18th. Or you can catch them at Rock The Coliseum in Mississauga on July 9th.