from left to right: Sallie Mood, King Ketu, Ladi, MJ the Smooth, Tanner Wells (not pictured here)

Famous Exchange is a group from Dallas, Texas. You can connect with them on:

Crowd Control Q&A | Famous Exchange

1. Each member of the group has created their own persona, each of which seem to blend seamlessly together. Was everyone originally pursing a solo project before deciding to start this band?
LADI: Sallie Mood (A.K.A Riley O'Riley) and I (Oladipo Oyediran) were both pursuing individual careers in songwriting and performance. MJ The Smooth (Marcus Alexander) has always been an accomplice of mine and Dub (Tanner Wells) was the keyboard player for another band. Our drummer, King Ketu (Tremayne Traylor) is heavily involved with his church band and collaborates freely with other Arlington based artists. How our personas came together was a combination of our good chemistry, working together towards making music we enjoyed, a little bit of our own individual flares, and Sallie Mood’s influence for photo shoot projects.

SALLIE MOOD: Wherever one of us has a weakness, someone else has the strength. We balance each other well.

2. Where did the core identity of the group come from?
LADI: The core identity of the group became more apparent when the founding 3 (MJ The Smooth, Ladi and Sallie Mood) internally realized we wanted our band venture to be an exchange of our already existing individual songs and styles. All 3 of us already wrote songs. With Famous Exchange, we now had the means to bring those songs to full potential using the resources of the other connecting pieces (Dub and King Ketu) — who have brought along their own styles to exchange with our sound. The exchange of ideas between us is still in its genesis.

SALLIE MOOD: It’s as if we all morphed into different pieces of the same puzzle somewhere along the way … and then found each other … and in our sound, in our set lists, you can still see the edges of our pieces — we are all coming from different places, but together we complete each other’s vision.

3. Y'all recently played your first show at House of Blues at the end of last year. What are some of the things you learned from the experience or would like to improve on in the future?
LADI: The House of Blues event was a success for us as well as a huge learning experience. We learned what we were capable of doing together as a band and how well that sound could be received. We also learned about the important aspects regarding sales for tickets, logistics for promotion, and we got a lot of general feedback from audience members. To improve for the future, we decided to continue focusing on cultivating our original music and bringing those sounds to fruition.

SALLIE MOOD: Yeah, the room was full and responded well to our songs — and our entire set was original music, so that was a really beautiful experience. But since then we’ve added Dub to the group … between keyboard and vocals he adds a lot. We’ve been focusing on improving the tightness of our sound.

4. You guys are huge supporters of the local art + music community in Dallas. What is one thing you think everyone could do to help make Dallas a viable place for artists to develop and thrive?
LADI: I believe Dallas is already doing a lot to support rising local artists. I believe everyone locally could do more about actively selecting local artists to support and watch them grow. #SYLA is a movement we want to encourage as much as possible: Support Your Local Artist. There’s also something positive to be said about how that helps sustain local businesses and recycle money into the immediate community.

SALLIE MOOD: Follow Wavelength and Crowd Control. Through this community, which we kinda stumbled into, we’ve met so many local artists and patrons of the arts. And the thing about community is the storytelling element of it — all these people have stories to tell and the more time you spend around them (going to shows, playing shows) the more you understand their music and their story. And Wavelength/Crowd Control is not a club — it leads everyone to other networks of people. Endlessly so. Community is a truly beautiful thing.

5. How does the song writing process unfold in a group made up of five musicians with different musical backgrounds?
LADI:The musical writing process has no permanent mold. At the moment any one of our 4 songwriters (MJ - bass, Ladi - guitar, Dub - keys, Sallie - baritone ukulele) could bring a completed or partially completed song idea to the rest of the band and we shape it together and practice it till it becomes a better work of art. What makes this unique can be attributed to the individual skills we have each acquired from playing our instruments and working on our own music for years. This makes it easier for us to complement each other’s sounds while giving us room to test what our music can be when it’s not just in our grasp. The exchange will expand to include far more than we can currently detect. SALLIE MOOD: When I have a sonic vision, I write the chord progression and lyrics, hear it all grand in my head, and present it to the boys. Then we make it come to life. But if we write together, it’s so impromptu. We just find our way and usually end up writing about a theme or feeling or state of mind. The songs we write together (i.e. Mind Games, Emocean) are multidimensional.

6. What are your goals for the band and where do you see yourselves going?
LADI: To tack on to the footnote of the last question's answer, a dream for the future is to make the Famous Exchange a movement rather than just a name for a band. A concept and style rather than just a sum of our own individual parts. On a more immediate level, our goals for 2019 include, and have already involved, planning for the completion and perfection of an hour to hour and a half long set for the purposes of playing bigger shows and expanding our influence. We have also made plans to record a single in February and are already setting sights towards recording a complete album since we realized that together we already had enough songs to do so. Dallas and the surrounding metroplex will definitely be hearing more of and from us very soon.

SALLIE MOOD: Yes, we envision the Famous Exchange as a collaborative community of artists — sonic and visual. With the way we function, if Ladi does a solo show, the 5 of us would still be his backing band, but you wouldn’t be going to an FE show. You’d be going to a Ladi show. Same goes for all of us. Imagine being part of a network of trusted artists who could call on each other to collaborate. You go to each others shows, do shows together, trade features, save creatures. Gather puzzle pieces. Connect the dots. Please be careful. The tea is hot.

1 February 2019