Hex by Vincent Devaud
Started in 2011 and presently led by five figures of the swiss rock scene featuring key members of bands such as Shora, Equus and Kassette, HEX delivers rock music of a sophisticated and apocalyptic kind. The group’s identity is based on a rigorously metronomic rhythm section on which three guitars and a keyboard develop linear and hypnotic patterns contrasted by epic lyrical phases. Spectral vocals complete the global aesthetical intent to create a dense, cinematic, thrilling and psychedelic sonic environment. HEX’s long-awaited first album was released in May 2018 on Hummus Records.
HEX is a band composed of five people with a large scale of musical influences and diverse musical backgrounds. We all know each other for a long time now and we used to play together in other bands. Laure Betris has her own indie rock project called Kassette and another band called Horizon Liquide, an electronic-psychedelic trio. Nicola Todeschini used to play in Shora, an amazing band that started playing post-hardcore music to end as an art-rock masterpiece. Nicola and I also have an electroacoustic project called Cover which allows us to experiment freely other forms of music and performances. Vincent Hänggi, Alex Muller and I used to play in a band called Equus, a prog/post-rock project that released two records, one of them being a soundtrack for a silent movie. Alex has another band called Future Faces that goes more into a dark cold wave revival. I also used to play in two metal/post-hardcore bands called Forceed and Unfold and I’m currently working on a new « 80s pop-prog » project filled with saxophones and synthesizers. All this to say that the spectrum of our musical practice is quite wide, which is one of the great things about HEX. These different musical experiences feed each other to build the atypical shape/sound of our music.
Well, it’s been a long process. First of all, the band started as a post-punk / noise-rock trio (two guitars and a drumkit). The intention was to create hypnotic and linear songs, minimalist in their structures but dense in their envelope. This global intention has been a constant in previous bands that we had in the past like Equus or Shora. After some first gigs and a first recording session, we realized that something was missing. We wanted our sound to be more extreme, more sophisticated, more synthetic and unnatural. We set up a complex device using synthesizers, trigged drums, midi sequencers to redefine the aesthetic of the band. After the departure of guitarist and singer Adriano Perlini, we wanted to try a female voice to the songs. Vincent Hänggi asked Laure to join us. She accepted and did an amazing job. Not an easy task as the songs were almost entirely finished. She added something mystical and dreamy to the whole. We’re very excited regarding the future of the band as we definitely want to push the vocal aspect further.
Regarding writing more specifically, the process is quite simple. Vincent Hänggi who is the major asset of the project – as he composes, records and produces our material – brings the first ideas to the table in the form of drums midi demo with a minimal synthetic atmosphere coming along. From there, everyone adds his contribution to the songs which turn into something new, something that is the result of teamwork based on mutual trust.
I think we do and the making of this album definitely revealed a lot of them. We can say that we are obsessed with the idea of making music that we’d love to hear. But as we are also very demanding and critical towards ourselves, it can take quite some time to please everyone. This can also become problematic when the sound engineer/producer appears to be a member of the band. But it allows us to manage every aspect of the music at every moment of the process, to add new ideas when everything seems to be complete. An obsession could become an asset or a drawback. It just depends on how you are able to manage it. Vincent Hänggi has definitely lost his mind several times during the process but in the end, he has done a magnificent job.
It’s always difficult to describe our music as it stands in between many different genres. But I would say that if you’re into Kenny G, you obviously like nice saxophone themes. So I’m sure you’ll like the song “Love Theme” by Vangelis in the Blade Runner soundtrack. At this point, listen to the complete soundtrack and if you like the final song, you’ll have a first idea of the musical universe of HEX. To get back to your question, one can definitely find metal-related components in our music: power, drive, intensity, punch, density, heaviness, tension, theatrics, darkness, …
I would call almost any genre, music for a secular world. One can feel a pagan/tribal and even spiritual aspect in lots of music categories, including metal. I think that music communities are very interested in a sociological point of view. New wave, metal, hardcore or grunge are the families that we’ve belonged to at some point, and being part of a musical community helped us to grow. I think it’s also important not to be too focused or sectary on something and be open-minded to all kinds of music as there are so many things to discover and to get inspired by.
Interview by Alex Milazzo – Copyright 2019 © Heavy Music Artwork. All rights reserved.