Photos: Luana Magalhães
When I learned that Hexis would come to play in my hometown (Troyes, France) I was excited, but when I realized that I was a part of the organization (TCPC) planning the show, I was even more excited. I knew something had to be done, and before the show I was really determined to interview them; but then I got the idea of transcribing the experience of their live performance. After the show, my mind was mostly blown, but I decided that the “live show experience” needed to be a whole new article on its own, and that I wanted to interview them anyway. So after I discussed with Filip (vocals) about the importance for a singer to eat after a show, I sat down (we were actually standing up, but who cares?) with him, Rasmus (guitar) and Kenn (bass) to learn a little more about what they’ve experienced in 2014.
After this tour you are going to Japan, if I’m not mistaken, so you really went all around the world in 2014, like Cuba and the US – where else would you want to go?
Filip: Yeah, we went to Cuba before that, but I don’t know, there are so many cool places. One place I really really want to go is Malaysia or Singapore, or Asia in general. A lot of bands have been there and they seemed to have had a lot of fun, people seem to be always crazy at the shows.
Yeah, because they have very few shows, so you will definitely want to go there next?
Filip: Yes, not so much next year because we will kind of take most of the year off to write a new album and release it in 2016, but after that, yeah, Asia is the place where we want to go.
Earlier this year you played in a train, how did that happen?
Rasmus: (laughs) We played at a festival called Roskilde Festival and the day before we had two pop-up shows.
Kenn : They were like a promotion for the real shows.
Filip: We played on the train from the festival to the station, so it was mainly people who were taking the train or hanging around the festival; so they had the chance to discover something new and we could have the chance to bring extra people to the actual show.
Kenn : It was really fun, we were part of what they called “the rising team” with the rising scene at Roskilde Festival. They show 8 bands out of the rising scene.
Rasmus: Yeah, for this festival they put a lot of work into getting smaller bands to grow wider audiences.
You’ve created for yourselves a very specific universe with a very abrasive sound – demon names for your records, latin language on your song titles and anti-religion themes. What can you tell me about your real world?
Filip: The way I see it, my own life is not so much connected with Hexis. Normally I’m like a happy guy, I like to party and stuff like that, but when I write the lyrics for Hexis I like to sit in a dark room for myself and get a little drunk. I need to get in this new world to write the lyrics, which is very different from my own life. I must really get myself into a special mood when I try to write something for Hexis, because I write things that are a little far from what I am normally.
Rasmus: I guess it’s like that for all of us, because when we’re not playing we are really happy people.
That’s the difference with this kind of new scene of post-black/chaotic hardcore, they are very joyful people but when they go on stage they’re purging themselves, and that’s the basis of the cathartic effect in my opinion.
Rasmus: Yeah, exactly; it’s a way to get the feelings out, you forget about everything.
Filip: I think you can also compare us to people that do horror movies and such. I really love horror movies, which is one of the reasons why we did this kind of music video with the exorcism, because the kinds of dark things that we do with the music and the lyrics are something I find interesting. It scares me a little.
Rasmus: I think it’s just like you said, the catharsis.
Do you think that at some point the whole cult of nihilism/anti-religion thing could become as big as a religion itself?
Rasmus: I think it could. Basically, we are down to earth guys, but when it comes to playing music and creating, we get our feelings out, and I think it could get more and more popular with people searching for a purpose.
You use a lot of religious signs in Hexis, like crosses or latin, and it feels very sacred – are you afraid that people could misinterpret those things and get the opposite message of what you want?
Filip: I think it’s easy to misunderstand what a band is doing, but most people like to take a little time to read the lyrics and what’s really in the music we do. I think most of them get what the band is about.
Rasmus: If some people think that we are religious, they obviously have not checked out what we’re all about and haven’t seen the things we do.
I have a copy of the infernal dictionary at home and it says very little about the demon Abalam, how did you cross his path?
Filip: I watched this movie The Last Exorcism one or two years ago and I already knew that I would like to write an album and make a music video with this demon thing. So I was searching for a name I liked, I didn’t really find anything, and then I watched this movie and the demon in it is called Abalam. So after I watched it, I checked on the internet to see if it was a real name and it turned out it was. We really liked the name and the description of it, so we kept it.
Rasmus: And if I remember correctly, the Abalam demon possesses you and you can only get rid of it by dying, so it was kind of cool.
The choice of Primitive Man for your recent split is very interesting, because you have a very fast sound which contradicts completely their slow kind of sludge. How did you come to work with them?
Filip: I sent them an email last year to ask if they wanted to do a tour with us because we liked the band, and then asked if they wanted to do a split with us. It was quite easy, a couple of emails and we had the tour and the split planned.
I like it, because when you listen to it as a whole, you get the two sides of one same thing; the same dark sound, but one very slow and the other very fast.
Filip: I think it’s a little boring when you listen to a split with bands that sound too much like each other. I don’t want the band to be too far from our sound, but not exactly the same. Both our bands have that similar blackened guitar sound and I think it fits together well on a record.
Kenn : We didn’t say to ourselves that we had to make it slow and doomy just for Primitive Man, but it kind of happened.
I think you’ve accidentally answered to the next question, you have often been compared to my fellow countrymen Celeste, not only in sound but also in the atmosphere of your shows. Have you ever tried working with them on a split or on tour?
Filip: Actually the first tour that we ever did was with Celeste. I’ve known them very well for many years now and they don’t want to do a split, they only want to do albums. But yeah, if we had to do a split with them, our sound would probably be a little bit too close to each other, but we are playing with them at the end of the month, at a festival in Germany.
The Psyke Project did their last show ever a few days ago, it seems that this band have influenced you a lot, what can you tell me about the relationship between your bands?
Filip: I think my third concert ever was the Psyke Project when I was a little kid, like eleven years ago, and I would say they are the band that got me to listen to more chaotic music and made me want to start a band by myself. When I saw them for the very first time, I was surprised, because I saw all these bands like Slipknot, Korn etc. as a little more metal and when I saw Psyke Project, I was very surprised to see very young men in nice clothes that played metal, and just to see normal looking guys that could play this kind of music. For me, that was very interesting and got me to listen to more older bands.
Rasmus: And it’s a shame that we couldn’t go to their last show because of this tour.
Kenn : Christian, the guitarist from Psyke Project, joined us for the first dates of the tour because Rasmus couldn’t play.
You were very close it seems.
Filip: Yes very, and even before the bands and all, Christian was living in a town very close to me, so when we went to concerts all the kids were in the same trains and bus, so we got to know each other. Their last album was actually released on a small record label I manage by myself (ed: Bloated Veins with This Gift is a Curse, Thou and Hexis).
Do you think that Hexis will last fifteen years like The Psyke Project?
Rasmus: Let’s see… anything can happen, but right now we definitely want to.
Filip: It’s easy to say now that we want to, but we can never know what’s gonna happen, because now we have been a band for almost five years and we built a lot of cool stuff up, but ten more years is a really long time.
During your last tour in France, you played a show in Paris at La Miroiterie, which was a place where people squat and come to perform their art freely. Earlier this year, the place was closed, which is sad because it was a really cool place, and it made me wonder if you had those kind of self-managed places in Denmark?
Filip: Yes, we have a big squat called Ungdomshuset, which is where Hexis played its first show, actually. It’s very similar to the place in Paris but much much bigger, with concerts all the time, a very nice place.
I’ve got just one more question, I wasn’t going to say anything, but since you mentioned it….what can you tell me about the next Hexis album?
Filip: Hopefully it will be…
Rasmus: Even more evil.
Filip: Even more evil and way better than this one? Hopefully? But we haven’t even written one single song yet. I want to use a lot of time trying a few different things, that doesn’t mean that we will use all of those different elements, but I want to take the time to experiment, spent hours in the rehearsal room, trying and trying.
Rasmus: I would like to experiment new stuff, but still keep the basis of our sound.
Kenn : I’m really looking forward to recording new songs because I only recorded two songs with Hexis. When I arrived, Abalam was almost done.
Then we thanked each other, we shook hands and we drank to victory. To conclude, here is some footage from the actual show: