Bringin’ it Backwards: Interview with EXES

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Together with American Songwriter, we had the pleasure of interviewing EXES over Zoom video! 

Today, Los Angeles-based duo EXES – fronted by Allie McDonald and producer Mike Derenzo – are thrilled to release their gorgeous cover of Dashboard Confessional’s 2006hit “Don’t Wait” featuring Chris Carrabba himself. 

Says Carrabba, “I have always enjoyed covering songs I love, by bands I love, and even better when it’s a song by friends I love. I have made a habit of doing this for my whole career. So you can imagine how moved I was when a band I love, EXES, decided to cover my song Don’t Wait. I heard their delicate and sweeping rendition of Don’t Wait through a friend, and I remarked to him at the time “I only wish my version was this beautiful”. Then EXES invited me to be on their version and I was thrilled. They were patient. I had broken my shoulders and ribs and probably other things…too many to list anyway. And so my friends in EXES waited until I was well enough to prop myself up to a mic and be a guest on what in many ways I now consider their song. It was an honor. It is an honor. I know people will fall in love with this song and for some it will be their introduction to the band EXES. For those that do discover EXES from Don’t Wait I ask only one thing. Please listen to more of their music. You will love it, as I do. I promise.”

Imbued with sentimentality and inspired by the people, places, and things in their lives, EXES invite listeners into the whimsically romantic world of their design. Allie’s lyrical intimacy combined with Mike’s sonic intricacy allow the duo to create a detail-oriented sort of indie pop; equal parts affectionate and vulnerable in production, lyrics, and melody.

With more than 90 million Spotify streams to date, EXES has been featured on BillboardOnes to Watch, Refinery 29, BlackBook Media – and has had singles that charted Top 10 on Hype Machine and that were featured on Taylor Swift’s “Songs Taylor Loves.” EXES’ music has also been featured on ABC’s drama Quantico, Netflix’s reboot of the fan favorite DeGrassi, and the UK’s BAFTA Award-winning Made in Chelsea.

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