Interview With Bay Area Band Exhausted Pipes

Exhausted Pipes is Hunter “Razzle Dazzle” Steers, David “Crockett” Mayman, and Andy “Sanford” Landgraf. We’re three guys living in the SF bay that have been playing music together for the past 9 years. Hunter hails from Seattle and plays guitar and sings. David hails from the San Fernando Valley in LA, and plays drums and sings backups with the occasional tiny piano. Andy hails from Chino Hills near LA, and plays bass and sings backups. Hunter’s a craftsman (woodworking specialist), Andy’s in the retail lumber game, and David’s a user experience designer (that also makes wooden things). We all met in college in Stockton, CA, and after playing in a few bands started this version of Exhausted Pipes in 2010. The band technically got started a couple years earlier with Hunter and our buddy Ian playing White Stripes covers as an opening act to another band all four of us were in. We didn’t have a lot of options in Stockton…

Tell us about your new single “Stay Away” which premiered on Indie Music Review.

Stay Away is a song that tells the story of somebody that just can’t let go, but finally does…and then comes crawling right back. Hunter wrote it in 2013 and then brought it to the band in 2014 when we were writing most of our tracks on New Dust. We never saw it as the single to our new album, but we just loved how it turned out. We also shot a live video in 2016 for the tiny desk contest, which involved us playing Stay Away live on a large shop table with hundreds of hung lights surrounding us. We’re super stoked about the Indie Music Review shoutout! They wrote a really nice review that captured the spirit of the song.

How has living in a culturally rich city like San Francisco influenced you as a band? Do you find a sense of community with local bands there?

We think there’s actually more of a sense of a music community in the East Bay and Oakland than in San Francisco. We find ourselves fitting in with the Oakland music scene because San Francisco can be more oriented to larger touring bands. Because of the crazy cost of living, most musicians live outside of the city and come to SF or Oakland to play gigs. Also, Andy and Hunter both live in Berkeley and have a stronger connection to the East Bay.

What have been some of your biggest accomplishments been in your career?

Our successful Kickstarter campaign comes in a close second to the production and release of our second album, New Dust. We had been through this before, but the experience was entirely different. In 2011, we recorded and produced our debut LP, Exhausted Pipes, entirely on our own (from recording in a practice space down to screen printing the album covers). We wanted to maintain that DIY spirit for this next release, but decided to enlist the help of some professionals to do things right. The production of New Dust actually turned out to be harder largely because of all the scheduling and organizing of the people involved – recording/mixing, mastering, guest musicians, promotions – plus delivering on Kickstarter rewards. It’s been a lot more work than we anticipated, but has been equally rewarding with the quality of the record.

You guys performed your first Sofar Sounds session in March? What was your experience like and what are some of the benefits of playing for an intimate audience?

Our Sofar Sounds show was one of the best we’ve ever played. To play for an audience that is absolutely fixated on you was incredible – there was not a wandering eye in the crowd. As a musician, it’s so rewarding playing for a crowd that truly loves live music. They were there to see what we do and to share that moment with us, and we really fed off of their energy. It was just such a magical experience for us. It was also really fun to share the stage with Josiah Johnson of The Head and the Heart. We’ve been affiliated with Sofar for about a year now, and that show was actually held in David’s office.

How long have you been part of ReverbNation CONNECT and what are some of the tools you’ve taken advantage of?

We’ve been a part of ReverbNation CONNECT since 2012 when it was originally called The Reverb Room. At that time, ReverbNation was helping us with submittals for music licensing and placement for TV and movies. We’ve recently taken advantage of ReverbNation’s digital distribution service for a synchronized release of our singles and album on all major platforms all on specific date. It’s been a crucial tool in building a buzz and pacing our releases.

What secondary tools or assets do you think are important for emerging artists to have?

Having band members that can make things beyond the music. David’s a graphic designer, and is constantly producing content for the band. It’s unfortunate, but being in a band nowadays involves a lot of time spent not making music, but instead working on how you tell your story. We don’t know how you can afford to be in an indie band without doing most or all of it yourself. Or if not, it’s crucial to have a network of really talented people that love the music and are willing to help you out.

Without the help of a big team what has been the biggest struggle for you as a DIY artist?

It’s really challenging to get exposure. Simply put, it’s hard as shit to get your name out there. It’s easy enough to get gigs around the area, but getting the word out and getting people to care is really hard. We all work 9-5 or more, so we’ve really had to commit to it and not get discouraged. It takes time and patience getting noticed, as well as a commitment to spreading the word. You have to talk to everyone. Also, make sure you’re having fun, cause it will come out in your music.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Check out our album release for New Dust on May 5th, and get your tickets to the Cinco de Mayo release show at the Brick and Mortar on 5/5! Also Hunter says “Go Hawks”.

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DaveInterview With Bay Area Band Exhausted Pipes

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