Exit Division performs at Broken City on March 27, 2022. PHOTO: CONNOR BALSILLIE

Ben Wealleans, the bassist for Exit Division, worried about the band’s future throughout the pandemic. 

The alt-metal influenced Calgary band had a new album out when the pandemic hit and worked hard to ensure COVID-19 health and safety precautions were taken seriously to keep playing. Exit Division eventually received Rock Recording of the Year at the 2021 YYC Music Awards. 

The band was initially frustrated as releasing their album during the pandemic prevented them from touring.

“Like it’s not fair… If anything would be our biggest roadblock, that would be it,” says Wealleans.  

The band worked hard to ensure everyone felt comfortable so they could continue playing music. 

“Just trying to coordinate everything together and make sure we’re all safe as possible, you don’t want anyone getting sick,” says Wealleans.  

Maddie Lee, the lead singer, speaks on a key concept that kept the band together during the pandemic.

“Learning how to do the sandwich — it’s giving a compliment, giving some constructive criticism and ending off with another compliment. It’s a nice sandwich of how to talk to someone about making an improvement,” says Lee. 

(Left to Right) Lead singer Maddie Lee, drummer Taylor Miles and bassist Ben Wealleans sit down for an interview after performing at Broken City. PHOTO: CONNOR BALSILLIE

The drummer for the band, Taylor Miles, found COVID-19 an interesting experience. 

“We had to find a way to still play music. We each took turns demoing songs, we recorded our parts at home and one person would take all the parts everybody recorded and put them all in a Logic Pro file or Pro Tools file and that’s how we wrote our album. We didn’t even do it in person,” says Miles.    

In 2021, Exit Division won the YYC Music Award for Rock Recording of the Year.

“It was rewarding, very rewarding. To see all this hard work we went through and recording an album in such an unconventional time to do so, I would’ve never imagined,” says Wealleans. 

Miles watched the awards announcement with his parents.

“We had four nominations and we didn’t win any of the other three. It took a second for it to settle in, like did he just say that? Then my parents and I just jumped up and hugged each other. There was a lot of noise, it was incredible,” says Miles.   

“Like it happens so fast but also it’s something we are all really proud of. It feels really good because we put so much work into it and we can keep growing and hopefully more to come,” adds Lee. 

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