X Backstage: Exclusive
Back in the heyday of classical music, Munich, Germany, was pretty much the epicenter of the music world. Heavy hitters like Mozart, Richard Wagner and Gustav Mahler all called the city home. Fast-forward to 2013: While Berlin may be the country's better-known spot for the creative arts, there's a burgeoning, diverse modern music scene re-emerging in the heart of the city.
Exclusive has been a part of this growing movement since day one. The band -- comprised of Jani Wimmer, Beni Höcherl, Markus Harbauer, Fabian Bottler and Christian Rehländer -- recently completed a short hiatus and is back with a vengeance, playing and recording new tracks. They'll perform at the Open Flair Festival in Eschwege, Germany, this August, sharing the stage with AWOLNATION, Bad Religion, Pennywise and Flogging Molly, among others.
XGames.com caught up with Wimmer (DJ/electronics) and Höcherl (guitar) to find out how they got started, why they went from singing in English to singing in German and the pros and cons of playing huge festivals vs. small shows. The group will close out five days of X Games MUSIC in Munich on June 30 with a live webcast from the X Fest Stage beginning at 11 a.m. ET.
XGames.com: How did the band start?
Exclusive: We are all from the same part of Munich and also attended the same two schools. Our schools offered music workshops that brought us into playing in bands, but the first serious project turned out to become Exclusive. We founded the band in Munich and still live in Munich.
Has it always been the same five members?
Yes. We [haven't had] any changes within the members yet, and hopefully we won't!
Where do you get your influences?
As simple as it sounds, our philosophy is to listen to any kind of music as long as it is good! If you only listen to one kind of music, how could you ever develop? But of course music is not the only influence; traveling and touring is also very mind opening!
What are you working on now?
Our focus is working on our new album that will be released next year. But we are always busy improving our live show and producing our music videos and merch. On tour this summer we [will] play lots of festivals and try to generate a bigger fan base.
How has the band changed over the years?
We started out as an indie-rock band singing in English, but after we finished school we had a new vision of our music and wanted to try something new. We then experimented with different styles and it all ended in our own mix of electronic bass, real band sound and German vocals.
Does anyone in the band skateboard?
We all used to play "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater" on PlayStation, but nobody is actively skating. Though we have a special connection to skateboarding since our good friend and band filmer, Marco Fumolo, has his roots in Munich's skate scene and produces clips for pro skaters. He constantly [keeps] us up on new skate and snowboard vids.
How do you feel about playing X Games Munich?
We are all huge sport fans and were extremely excited when we heard that X Games [would] come to Munich in 2013. Being a part of it now is even better. X Games is a huge name and known for massive acts besides the sports competitions. Being offered to play there for us means a big [confirmation that] what we are doing [is right].
You have a busy summer on deck, touring Germany as well as heading to Vienna, Austria. Which show are you most excited about?
Actually we are excited to play that much in general. You can never tell: Sometimes a small club gig turns out to be more fun than a huge festival and the other way round. But of course there are highlights that push you to get better each time -- mostly the big shows you have been dreaming of ... the show in London for the UEFA Championsleuage, Rock am Ring, Rock im Park, Open Flair, our three Berlin shows and surely the X Games.
How did you connect with the artist Carlos de los Rios, who designed your latest album artwork?
Beni saw his pictures on a blog and we all thought it would be a great cover. We were lucky: Since he lives and works in Munich ... we could directly talk to him and explain the plan. Carlos is so cool! He liked the music and was like, "Yeah, you can [use] my picture for your CD cover." We became friends and of course always join his latest [private art openings].