Playing The Favourite – INTERVIEW – Exporter

Welcome to the feature where we talk to musicians about some of their favourite things about the industry. Today we speak to musician Exporter whose latest album release is called NoBrakesNoBrakesNoBrakes It it time to play a little game to find out more.

What is your Favourite:

Song you have written:

Alec Cavazos: We get asked this a lot but the true answer for me is, it’s hard to have a favorite. I know it’s cliché but it’s true. All of the songs we’ve written mean a lot to me and it changes all of the time. I might have one that I really like playing every show and think, yeah, this is my favorite, but then practice a song that maybe we haven’t played in a bit and then think, this is such a great song why don’t we play it more. 

But as I’ve said in other interviews, IF I was forced to pick a favorite, I have to go with “Carsick”. It was the first song that I wrote most of the parts for (I was like 13), it was our first song ever on the radio, we did a pretty sick video as a family project during lockdown when COVID first hit, and it’s one that fans shout out requests for at our shows. 

Destin Cavazos: My favorite song we’ve written is probably “Nightmare”. It’s a deeper exPorter cut but it’s pretty unique from our normal brand of fast-paced pop punk. The guitar is pretty stripped down so the focus is really on the lyrics, I think it’s something really nice and intimate. When we play it live, it’s got a more rocking vibe too so I love the versatility.

Henry Kish: Alec and Destin are the main songwriters but we do chat about them before we record and to give some input on percussion. I really like Sister Cities off “NoBrakes”…it’s probably my favorite and one I’m most proud of. Usually they send me the songs in demo form before we record but I think I got that one the day before we went in to the studio and I’m really proud of how it came together. 


Alec : I think it’s the same with lyrics as it is with songs – can’t have a favorite. There are definitely a lot that will stick out in my mind but it can change from day to day. I have said that there’s a line in “Carsick” that I really like singing – “I press the pedal and I drive by”. I won’t say it’s my favorite lyric but it’s one of my favorite ones to sing because I always change that I drive by part when I sing it live. It’s pretty fun to do.

Destin : I said in a past interview that I don’t know if we can say we’ve written the “best lyric” just yet, so I don’t know if it’s possible to have a favorite either. Songs are subjective so there’s the feeling I have when I’m writing it but there’s also the feeling the listener has when so I like the idea of just putting songs and lyrics out there then letting everyone decide for themselves.


Henry : All time it would be The Who. More recent I’ve really been into Turnstile. 

Destin: Death Cab for Cutie.

Alec : Tom DeLonge for sure. He’s the reason I play guitar and I love all the stuff he’s done whether it’s Blink or Boxcar or AVA. 

Film or television show

Destin: I love Tim Burton but there are too many films of his for me to pick a favorite. How about Jennifer’s Body or Midsommar –  I really love it when women achieve violent catharsis

Alec:  It’s always sunny in Philadelphia is top of the list for TV shows. It’s so just like out there for TV, they definitely blend or blur some lines but it’s fun. For movies there are too many good ones that I enjoy. 

Henry: Neon Genesis Evangelion 

Venue to perform at

Alec:I think so far the favorite spot is a place that’s not even there anymore. There’s an epic guitar shop in Santa Barbara called Jensen’s Guitar and Music Shop and they had a stage room. Destin and I grew up there and we played so many shows there. It got to be our home away from home. During the pandemic we did a project that was supposed to be a zoom show but turned into a little mini doc, then a fundraiser, then started the recording of our debut album. Now it’s closed and we’re really sad.

Destin: As a band that’s starting out I think we like to play any venue that will have us. Most places always have legit sound guys and a great promoting team which is great because it really makes you feel welcomed when it’s time for a show.

Item to take with you on tour

Henry – Instruments.

Alec:The obvious is yummy delicious snacks for the long drives. We have a few quick turn around on our California tour so having essential snacks like XXX Vitamin Water and Spicy Nacho Doritos are key. Another big thing that should also be obvious is tons of extra guitar strings and pics. Knock on wood, but just because strings don’t always break doesn’t mean they won’t.

Destin – Pretzels and vitamin water, cheap sunglasses


Henry: Ludwig drums. We just bought a new kit before starting our CA tour and it’s awesome.

Destin: It’s a basic bass that I built from a kit. I shaped it and painted it and thought it would at least look cool. The folks at Jensen’s wired it up and the first time I played it I couldn’t believe the tone I was getting from that thing. 

Alec:My black Fender Strat. Classic guitar, you can’t go wrong.

Song to play live

Henry: Sister Cities for sure is one I really like playing live right now.

Destin– Sister Cities is up there off the new album. I also like reaching into deeper cuts that we usually don’t play. Alec or I will take turns making the first draft of a set and it’s kind of cool to see if a deep track makes the list. Nightmare is one of those songs, the way we play it live is different from the recording so it’s always cool when we do it. 

Alec: I think Carsick is still one of my favorite songs to play live. People still sing that song when we play it which is pretty cool. Plus I think we all sort of have fun adding something to it each time we play like. Like I said for the last part I’m always trying to think of a new or different way to sing “drive by” which makes it fun.

Album by another musician

Henry: Helplessness Blues , Fleet Foxes

Destin: AM by Arctic Monkeys

Alec: The Untitled Blink 182 album is my all time favorite album. It’s a departure from their classic pop punk but still holds up as pop punk. It is also is a heavy record musically and lyrically, all around a perfect album in my opinion.

Memory of tour

Alec: Getting to play at new places and to new people. We’ve played at some fairly big clubs for us and ones that have had shows with our heroes that have played there before. Last summer the show at the Milk Bar in SF was one of our biggest of the tour.

Henry: Slowly losing my mind.

Destin: Sleeping at a radio station because we forgot to get a hotel.

Era for music

Henry: All eras have good and bad! Can’t choose a favorite though. 

Alec: Even though I wasn’t alive, the 90s put out some of the best music and holds most of my inspiration. The pop punk that came out of the era is unmatched with today’s, except…maybe us. It wasn’t so whiny and just plain relatable to anyone listening.

Destin: 90’s. No Question.

Part of making a record

Henry: Writing and hearing my own parts. Alec and Destin are the main songwriters but they are pretty cool about letting me do my thing with drums. They write the songs but percussion is all me. 

Destin: Alec and I will usually have a pretty good idea what a song will be before recording but it’s really cool to see what comes out after. For me, adding and experimenting with harmonies is always a favorite part of the process.

Alec I really like being in the studio and the whole recording deal. I would watch the clips of my favorite bands in studio, so getting to go in and do what I grew up watching is still so cool to me. Also, we don’t write a lot of our songs directly together so going into the studio and getting a lil collab time in is great as well. Then of course watching the songs transform with each session is magical.

Thing about performing at festivals

Destin: We’re just starting out so we haven’t played a lot of festivals so we’re hoping to change that. Alec and I grew up going to the Van’s Warped Tour and it had a huge impact in who we are as a band, the way we perform, the way we try to interact with fans. We would love to get on some bigger fests next year. We have played a lot of local festivals and it’s always cool to check out the other bands. I think playing on some bigger shows would just amplify that.


Henry: “If I take one more step, I’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.” -Samwise Gamgee

Alec: “It’s all success if it’s what you need. Do what you like and do it honestly”-Angels and Airwaves

Destin; “Whatever the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth -whether it existed before or not” – John Keats

Thing about the music industry at the moment

Alec: As a band that’s starting to grow I think our favorite thing is the ease of getting our music out there. We can get a song online or upload a video in minutes and it’s there for the whole world to see. Back in the day you would hear stories of bands having to try and hand out tapes and stuff and now anyone can distribute to millions in a couple minutes. But at the same time it’s kind of a curse cause ANY band can do it. And, probably 99% of the bands aren’t making money through it. Someone is making money off our streams and videos but it’s not us.

Thing about this year so far?

Destin: For sure our favorite thing about this year has got to be getting our debut album out.

“NoBrakesNoBrakesNoBrakes” is a year out of our lives, longer if you count some of the songs, and we worked really hard to bring that to life. It started during pandemic where Alec and I had a couple songs that we really liked so we recorded them as soon as it was safe to get in the studio. Those 2 songs got some good airplay and we got a lot of good feedback so we thought, let’s make a whole album. Kish was living in Colorado so we’d get him out for a show then into the studio to do his parts, our co-producer was so great to work with and it was a really cool process. Wasn’t easy, but it was great to get that album done. Now that it’s out, it’s been awesome to get out and play some shows where folks are hearing the new stuff live.


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