Corey McLane - Vocals/Rhythm Guitar/Songwriter
John Burns - Drums/Backing Vocals/Songwriter
Matt Vigeant - Bassist/Backing Vocals
Mike Fintonis - Lead Guitar
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BOOTLEG METAL: So let’s get things started with the name. Who came up with the name and what’s behind it?
EXHALE: What's in a name? Well, our original drummer and close friend, Ken Billingsley, came up with the band name 'Exhale'.. We wanted something easy to spell, say and understand.. Plus, we were all partial to the idea of having a one word band name. I suppose you can get all deep and meaningful about it and say things like, "It's the last thing we do before we die." Or "It's an'exhale' of notes".. but really, we just thought 'Exhale' sounded like a pretty cool band name.
BOOTLEG METAL: Where is the band from?
EXHALE: Exhale is a 4-piece, hard rock/grunge band from Boston, MA.
BOOTLEG METAL: Is this the original line up and how did you guys find yourselves in the same band ?
EXHALE: This is not the original lineup. I think we pretty much got together one member at a time to assemble our current lineup, but Matt Vigeant(Bass) and John Burns(Drums) have been with me for about 6+ years or so and our Lead Guitarist, Mike Fintonis(Finny) was our latest and final addition and he started sometime around March, 2017... So we are creeping up on about a year soon.
BOOTLEG METAL: How long has (the band) been around and how long after your first rehearsal was it before the first show?
EXHALE: The band originally formed in 2004 and our current lineup has been together for just about a year. If I can recall, I think we took about 5-6 months of rehearsing after Fin joined the band, before we decided to book our first show.
BOOTLEG METAL: Does everyone contribute to the writing process or does someone generally write the lyrics and/or music?
EXHALE: I do the majority of the writing and our drummer, John, wrote a handful of our songs, but I think it's safe to say that everyone partakes in the creative aspect of our music after the initial 'proof of concept' has been written. Sometimes that's a format idea or it could be more of a complete rewrite of a section of a song. We are not the type of band where everyone has free rein to play whatever they want while the rest of us accept it as is. We often remind each other that our creative choices should always be made to benefit the song as a whole, not just the instrument that each of us is playing in the song. We are frequently working on each others instrumental parts so things sound more 'composed' and less 'show boat-like' than they would probably sound otherwise. We think it helps us maintain healthy working relationships within our band to be able to hash out ideas for each instrument, but doing so as a full band, while sharing the mindset that we are trying to create the best product possible, within our means.
BOOTLEG METAL: What are your songs about? Fact? Fiction? Personal experiences?
EXHALE: It truly depends on the song. Most of our lyrics are about personal experiences or emotions. Although, I have definitely written songs about an event or experience that a close friend or relative has gone through, but then I'll change some pronouns around so it sounds like the 'writer' is the one that went through the experience. As a fan of music, I tend to feel closer to lyrics when I think the story is being told about the writer, by the writer.. Simply put; using 'I' or 'me' instead of 'he' or 'him' is more impactful to a listener, in my opinion..
BOOTLEG METAL: What genre do you feel (the band) fit’s in the best and what influenced your writing to get you there?
EXHALE: I prefer to group 'Exhale' in as a 'Grunge' band, primarily, but a lot of people these days are big on using 'proper' labels, so I suppose we are more accurately described as a 'Post Grunge' band. To make things easy, we usually say, "We're a hard rock/grunge band".. and not surprisingly, I grew up obsessing over grunge bands like Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, etc.. Today, I still love all of those bands, but I also praise bands such as: A Perfect Circle, HURT, Seether & Breaking Benjamin.. All of which are influenced by the grunge era, in my opinion.. I think the main reason why I love grunge is because I think of it as being the least-restrictive genre of rock music. As a writer, you can branch out and use ideas from a very wide variety of other genres and at the end of the day, you can still call it grunge. I love that!
Bootleg Metal: So I really felt Count The Days man. Just a sweet vibe here. Any back story to it?
EXHALE: Thank you! I actually wrote 'Count The Days' more than a decade ago, but I never felt like it reached it's full potential until we just finished tracking it as our main single for our first full-length album. The lyrics to 'Count the Days' are primarily about losing someone close to you and from that, finding the different ways to mourn and cope with the aftermath.. Some people turn to drugs or booze to numb themselves, while others might use the severity of the loss to turn his/her life around to start making the best of it, in order to honor the deceased.. Sort of a; 'what would this person want me to do with my life?', kind of thing.. Then I did everything I could to cram it with double meanings to essentially disguise it as a sad love song, which I'm pretty sure is the most common interpretation of 'Count The Days' and I'm totally comfortable with that.
I've always had an appreciation for songs that could be interpreted as a simple love song, but if the listener digs deeper into the lyrics, they can feel something dark and tragic behind the meaning. BOOTLEG METAL: Nice man and wow, 10 years on the back burner. Good move holding on to that one.
Bootleg Metal: So yeah, the Count The Days video. Nicely done. Anything you can tell us about making it?
EXHALE: It was a total blast to make the video, despite the fact that our whole band was sick with a head-cold at the time. It took about 9 hours of filming, 2 dozen donuts and the brilliant mind of our director, Jay Golde(www.JayGolde.com), to make the 'Count The Days' music video happen. I actually spent some time walking around with my own video camera to get some behind the scenes/the making of, type of footage, which we plan to upload to our youtube channel in the near future.
BOOTLEG METAL: What was your latest gig?
EXHALE: Our latest gig was up at Jewel in Manchester, NH.. which, if you ask me, is definitely one of the best venues to play in the New England area.. We performed a full-band acoustic set as direct support for the band 'Trapt', which was very cool! I remember listening to 'Trapt' when I was a teenager, so sharing the stage with those guys was a very humbling experience.
BOOTLEG METAL: Where have you played live this year?
EXHALE: Since we've been gigging for less than a year now, we've stuck to the New England area for shows so far, but we are in the midst of planning an east coast tour down to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and back up home to Boston, MA. As of now, we're looking at the month of August, 2018. Bootleg Metal: Good luck on the road, I will have to keep an eye out for that.
BOOTLEG METAL: Is there a favorite cover that always finds it’s way on your set list and is there a story behind it?
EXHALE: We actually don't play any cover songs... yet.. We wrote and recorded over 30 tracks, so we've been solely focused on completing those before we start hashing out ideas for adding any cover tunes.
BOOTLEG METAL: Is there a past show that stands out from the rest?
EXHALE: New York! The place above the venue we were playing at caught on fire. The Fire Department showed up and told us to get outside. We hadn't even performed yet at this point, but of course all of our gear was in the club. Our brothers from the band 'Virtue Falls' were somewhere in the middle of their set, which was incredible by the way.. Anyway, so someone from the venue managed to talk the Fire Department into letting us all run back inside to get our equipment. They had been spraying water on the floor above us, so it was on its way to start pouring through the ceiling and onto our gear. I have never seen that much gear unloaded that quickly in my life. It was remarkable. The other bands, the crowd and the venue's staff were all rushing the gear out onto the street. We were boxed in by the Fire Department outside the venue for about 2 hours before we could load our gear into our van and drive back home. It was certainly a night we'll remember forever. BOOTLEG METAL: Wow man, that’s horrible… although it makes for a pretty cool story. Glad everyone got out ok.
BOOTLEG METAL: So what’s in the works for (the band)?
EXHALE: Well, we are planning that east coast tour in August! Plus, we plan to finish mixing and mastering the rest of our first album, which includes a total of 13 tracks. After that, we'll move onto our 2nd album, which we already recorded, but we will still need to mix and master it before we release it to the public. -our 2nd album is also 13 tracks.
Additionally, we plan to have our first line of girl's tank tops available just in time for summer and we will also have Exhale hoodies available some time in the late fall.
On top of that, we have a very big show coming up in May, with 2 huge national acts headlining the night. That show will be up at Jewel in Manchester, NH.. but we aren't permitted to say anything else about it just yet...
BOOTLEG METAL: What are your thoughts on your local music scene?
EXHALE: I love our music scene up here! Seldom do we play with any bands that we aren't impressed by and given how much we gig, I think that says a lot about how ridiculously talented most of our local bands are. It may have become much more difficult to get people to pile into a venue for a local show, but the plus side is that I think it's bonded the bands together in a different way. It's definitely much more of a community than it was 10+ years ago when I was gigging locally. Part of that could be the age thing, but I think a lot of it is that musicians have been sort of forced to realize the importance of promoting and supporting each other at this point; in order to continue putting on great local shows that can draw large crowds of music lovers. To anyone complaining about how they think new music sucks.. My advice to you is to start going to local shows and I'm confident that you'll be pleasantly shocked at how amazing a lot of these bands are and how hard they work just to be heard. Incredible music is still being made! It's just not being recognized as easily these days.. You've got to look for it!
BOOTLEG METAL: Is there a recent album/EP release you’d like to tell us about and where can we get it?
EXHALE: Absolutely! So our 3-song ep is completely free if you join our mailing list: www.exhalemusic.com/mailinglist
As for our other tracks, they are available to purchase through our bandcamp page: www.exhalemusic.bandcamp.com/ as well as almost all other music distribution platforms: itunes, amazonmusic, googlemusic, etc..
Or to listen to our songs for free, we have everything up on spotify as well.. Plus, our youtube channel includes a lyric video for every single that we've released. Our youtube channel can be found at: www.youtube.com/c/exhalevideo
BOOTLEG METAL: Do you have merchandise for sale?
EXHALE: We do! We have Men's T-shirts, Women's V-Neck T-shirts & our very popular Exhale Koozie's, which come in a wide assortment of colors! All of our merch is available at: www.exhalemusic.com/merch
However, we offer our merch at a fraction of the price if you make your purchase at an Exhale show.
BOOTLEG METAL: Where can you be found online?
BOOTLEG METAL: As far as videos, sites, merch, ect. Are you guys more of a DIY band or do you hire out?
EXHALE: A little of both. We work with a company over in the UK to create all of our lyric videos. Our official music video for our single, 'Count The Days', was directed and filmed by a friend of ours, Jay Golde and we couldn't be happier with the way Jay's vision for the video came out! Our social media sites are run by us and I coded our website myself, from scratch, in notepad, using mostly old school HTML because that's what I'm familiar with. It was the cheapest option, but I don't recommend taking on that adventure to anyone.. it took a long time and wasn't a whole lot of fun.. Our merch is done by our friend Ivy, from UCMerch! She's been amazing to work with! Her prices are shockingly affordable and the quality is perfect every time! You can get in touch with Ivy at: www.UCMerch.com
As far as our music goes.. We record and mix everything ourselves in our home studio.
BOOTLEG METAL: Do you have or are you looking for a label/manager?
EXHALE: Not actively, no. We plan to stay self-managed for as long as we can endure it and if we are ever offered anything from a label, we will definitely consider our options carefully.
BOOTLEG METAL: One question I like to ask. What song (if any) by another artist do you wish you wrote?
EXHALE: There are many songs I could list here, but the first few that come to mind are:
'FMLYHM' by 'Seether' (I don't even know why, exactly. I think it's funny and extremely clever!)
'Pet' by 'A Perfect Circle' (Such a unique piece of music and the vocals are equal parts - badass and haunting)
'That(Such A Thing)' by 'HURT' (This song is incredibly real and holds so much beauty in its meaning. The fact that such a gloomy, dark band like 'HURT' could create something so uplifting and positive is truly remarkable in my opinion..)
BOOTLEG METAL: Is there another artist or band that is totally not your genre that you listen to?
EXHALE: Most definitely! I am obsessed with Karen Marie Garrett's work! Plus, I still stand by Sarah Brightman as being the greatest female vocalist of all time.
BOOTLEG METAL: If you could pick, past or present, would there be a dream collaborator (artist/producer) you would like to work with?
EXHALE: James Michael from Sixx: A.M. I think his work is brilliant and he seems like he'd be a really cool dude to make music with. BOOTLEG METAL: James Michael, nice choice.
BOOTLEG METAL: How do you think downloading music whether legal or illegal affected the music community?
EXHALE: I am torn on this one, honestly. There are many benefits to downloadable music for us local bands, but I can imagine the frustration of being a bigger band and having everything that you worked really hard on get stolen from you, essentially. From our end though, we're just grateful that people are listening to our music =)
BOOTLEG METAL: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us and answering the questions. Is there anything you’d like to add?
EXHALE: Well I'd very much like to thank you PJ and the rest of you guys over at Bootleg Metal for spending some of your time with Exhale and allowing me to answer your questions. I hope that any hard rock/grunge fans that are reading this will take the time to listen to our music. www.ExhaleMusic.com
Please go support your local music scene and try to get out to as many shows as you can!
-Corey McLane from Exhale