Lexie Mountain Boys, Tuvan throat singers of Baltimore, have recently released Sacred Vacation, a yelpy mélange of acapella and foot stomp singalongs. "You got a boyfriend? You got a husband?" when catcalled from a crew of tough women on a CD is a peculiar thing. Really, Lexie Mountain Boys as a concept is a large pile of mystery. To clarify (a little) we asked the women of the Boys some questions and they all answered separately. Illuminations are after the jump.
What was your sacred vacation?
Lexie Mountain: The one where we were all together all the time and it was AWESOME. Either that one or the one I just had just now.
K St. Paul: our first tour, the gold tour. (august 2006) we went through the north east into canada, over to chicago and back home in a whirl of hair and sequins. we melted together in the summer heat in the van and then rolled around on stages, in fields and in the streets. (see pictures of us in ottowa lined up in the median with umbrellas) it was our first tour. deep connections were formed.
Amy Harmon: I agree with Katherine. Our first tour. Our gold zone debacle. A trip to Canada, where the soul and spirit resides. A golden egg that only hatched for real when the weather dipped below 90 and sometimes with lows of 70 at night and the slumber party got real down. An Ypsilanti sunrise and the fiercest case of laryngitis I've ever had. Also the whirring sound of the blanche deveraux air mattress.
Amy Waller: Our tours are in a way a sacred vacation, a soul freedom escape.
Are you southern? Do you like the south because your music sounds southern?
Lexie Mountain: Our music is southern if its a south of no north; I'm from a north so the south comes as a subject of fascination and deliciousness. Right now we live in the middle. I don't know how to answer this question.
K St. Paul: I think i am the only one with southern roots of all the Boys. my parents are from louisiana and alabama and i grew up in west virginia. we love the south and southern music. fried chicken, collard greens. crawfish and pecans. (you better have pronounced those right in your head)
Amy Harmon: I am northern from Massachusetts. However, I like the way the south looks and sometimes feels. I am still searching the internet for that southern sound that you speak of. Do you mean, like, Lynrd Skynrd southern? Or like Southern belles shaking up the mint julep southern?
Sam Garner: No, born and raised Baltimore.
Amy Waller: I (Amy Waller) was born in Memphis, TN. Grew up in Oklahoma, and we live in Maryland which is below the Mason Dixon Line so I guess we qualify as southern. We don't really have a romantic fondess for the south, but I feel pretty neutral about.
Was it weird to play at the WFMU record fair? Did people ask where they could buy your records?
Lexie Mountain: Nobody asked where they could buy our records. The people at WFMU are very nice to us and buy us lots of jewels and we make sure they drive the finest cars in Jersey City (Ray Catena, y'all!) because they are responsible for making us famous. It was weird to play their record fair because they gave us so much champagne and fresh fruit. It was also weird because someone in the audience accused us of repeating the
word "jailbait" over and over. Guess which part of this is true!
K St. Paul: it was weird because lots of people just peeked up from the stacks for a minute then kept sifting through. but i think the crowd that gathered enjoyed seeing something unexpected.
Amy Harmon: Nobody asked me where they could buy our records but one older graybeard type record guy said "Are you one of them 'dancing girls' that was up there earlier?" Seriously, though? It was full on AWESOME to play the Record Fair and it was also my first time going to the record fair. I love WFMU very, very much. I want to constantly hug WFMU and make sure it has a cold drink and a hot date.
Amy Waller: No, it was fun. It was wierd that it was very bright and during the day.
Are you mad at the idea of me saying your music sounds kind of religious?
Lexie Mountain: No; I think its a compliment
K St. Paul: we got big religion. we are souls growing together and looking out on the world from the mountain we form. we got a big mountain of religion.
Amy Harmon: Acapella music in general sounds vaguely religious, it is spare cause the lord don't like no junk cluttering up His praise. Religious music can sound creepy or beautiful and sad or joyous...its hard to pin down what you would find in our music that would sound religious but I guess we could sound like all of those things I just mentioned. It doesn't make me mad. I support things that make people feel happy and loved as long as they aren't perpetrated by jagoffs.
Sam Garner: No, not really.
Amy Waller: No, its our souls singing together. Is it still cool to hate religion? Must be... no we don't care.
Are you kind of religious?
Lexie Mountain: We are zealous and dedicated and backsliding and contrarian so that makes us a new scary type of ultra-conservative -- so far left we've already fed everyone in the world and so far right we enforced mandatory helmet-wearing and smoking-cessation. We're about as religious as anyone who says they are or are not religious which is to say we take ourselves very seriously by making a great effort to not take ourselves very seriously at all.
Sam Garner: No.
Amy Waller: I tease at the Idea of us being a goober cult.
Your music also sounds kind of like beatboxing or really really early blues with foot stomping do you think so?
Lexie Mountain: Yes I do; it just sort of happened that way!
K St. Paul: beatboxing? early music, yes. early sounds.
Amy Harmon: I think we are like that and unlike both of these things. As a rule, I think we don't try consciously to imitate instruments unless we are being hammy.
Amy Waller: Sure.
Why are the Lexie Mountain Boys so into beards? Aside from the fact that they look sweet?
Lexie Mountain: Beards protect our delicate faces from the harsh elements, filter large particles from the air we breathe and delight children far and wide. In their furry fettering of our faces, they allow us to do our work freely and unfettered indeed.
K St. Paul: mainly, they look sweet.
Amy Harmon: When you wear a beard your mouth vanishes and your eyes are the main thing that is visible. I like peering out of a beard. It is like armor and like fun underwear.
Sam Garner: We decided on wearing beards one tour after deciding we did'nt want to be sexulized at all whatsoever. The first tour we went on we wore no beards, gold dresses and heels. Things have changed. I think the beards kind of put people off (especially dudes)and thats is what I want, personally. We want to confuse people and look nasty when we feel like it.
Amy Waller: They are funny. I guess last year every music man had a beard or mustache... it was the hot trend.
Would you ever let any boys in Lexie Mountain Boys? Have any ever asked?
Lexie Mountain: Emmanuel Nicolaidis of Thank You participated in the Sexy Fountain last summer -- the only actual Lexie Mountain Boy ever. And he certainly didn't ask to do it either.
K St. Paul: no boys. it would be the dream of some, but no no no.
Amy Harmon: There are a few that have asked. Even though we love them I don't think we would do it unless we were:
a. joking around
b. making it a part of a larger performance that involved tons of people
Sam Garner: We would never. They have asked. Begged.
Amy Waller: Probably not, but I personally would rather see a group of boys do something similar. With us its about achieving a certian comfort level, and freedom level. Its a giant slumberover in the sky. In the grand tradition of elementary school slumbovers, no boys allowed.
Can you play shows without any equipment at all? Because that would be cool.
Lexie Mountain: Yes we can!
K St. Paul: we do play shows without equipment. we have played many, and it is cool. especially outdoors where we can run around and find exciting echoes and strange sounds. without equipment.
Amy Harmon: YES AND IT IS THE BEST. Fully and completely the best. We use microphones sometimes in bigger spaces, but we also seek out sources of natural amplification. It is the best thing to not have to "load in" anything but ourselves and some clothes to wear. It is definitely cool.
Amy Waller: Yes most of our shows are microphone free as well.
Is that cool?
Lexie Mountain: It generally is!
Sam Garner: I would hope that it is cool. That is what we do. No equipment. Just our voices man! We have performed shows in the past where I have played drums. I love drums.
What are your plans for the future?
Lexie Mountain: To play underwater or in Africa. To build our dream stage and perfect the wireless microphone. To make it through the year alive. To pet every dog we see.
K St. Paul: world domination. or maybe a pizza party.
Amy Harmon: I'd like to go to Iceland. I want to rent a lighthouse and record music in it with the boys. Eat more grapefruit. I think we will give an effigy of Lexie's old van, "Kisses" a Viking Funeral this summer. Then we will set to work, hard at work laughing a lot all together in another van. I plan to watch and help the kids in my classes learn a lot and become nice people. More sacred vacations to come, down the road. These are all things I want for the group and for me while I'm in the group.
Sam Garner: Plans/goals for the future include recording another album, touring the west coast and hopefully Europe one day!
Amy Waller: Try to go on a couple of tours, and record something else, as well as put out a dvd weeeeee.