Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: We Are Hex

presspass“Everyone wants a hyphened word,” We Are Hex vocalist Jill Weiss laments when asked she would describe her band’s exceedingly unique sound. “We like to use gloom, but … weirdo-gloom-funk,” after consulting her bandmates Brandon Beaver, Trevor Wathen and Matt Hagen for help.

presspass

We Are Hex (Courtesy Photo)

 

“Everyone wants a hyphened word,” We Are Hex vocalist Jill Weiss laments when asked she would describe her band’s exceedingly unique sound. “We like to use gloom, but … weirdo-gloom-funk,” after consulting her bandmates Brandon Beaver, Trevor Wathen and Matt Hagen for help.

It’s as good a description as any for the foursome’s sound, even though it also doesn’t even start to cover the vastness of mashed-up genres sampled on the band’s first two albums. The second, Hail the Goer, debuts on the 24th in Indianapolis.

Truth is, the eclectic mix of sounds and styles is best experienced rather than explained. Perhaps the right way to treat We Are Hex is as performance art. As you listen, let your emotions and your reactions serve as their own description. In terms of that hyphenated word Weiss searched for earlier, maybe you’ll come up with the “strange-freaky-weird-cool-uh?-nice-wait,-what-was-that?-this-is-anything-but-ordinary” string that matched my reaction. I tend to doubt it though.

“We’re all four best friends, but we don’t listen to any of the same music,” Weiss explains. “So for all four of us to come together and write a song we all like, it makes us a good crossover band. We’re not going for a specific sound. We’re just bringing our different angles together.”

The intersection of those angles isn’t always graceful, but We Are Hex isn’t about the refined or the carefully calculated. In that jumble though, it’s easy to get swept away by the peculiar sound’s totality before you can step back and embrace the individual parts comprising each song’s sum.

In each you’ll often find some straightforward rock and roll, enough so that Weiss explains the band has trouble playing shows with avant-garde indie bands. “Some of those fans think they’re above it,” she says. But there’s also the propensity to involve “weird noises” which makes them hard to appreciate for fans of neat-and-pretty pop-rock packages. “I think when you clear the room of those people, you’re left with really open-minded fans with a wide variety of tastes,” Weiss says. “People who like us are the people whose iPod is full and record shelf is bowing.

“We’ve been saying lately that it’s not for everyone,” she continues. “We just want to write songs that feel good to us and we believe in. And I think a lot of people connect to that thought of authenticity.”

Those folks will be able to add a pair of new albums to their collections when Hail the Goer is released, in addition to an early EP (Various Songs, Sounds and Furs) and a cassette release (Naturally Proper) they’re splitting with Cleveland band Hot Cha Cha.

“We have a cassette player in the van, so we’ve really been into tapes,” Weiss says. (For those without, you can stream the album at bitchinsounds.bandcamp.com.) “It’s like a physical art object and it’s nostalgic. Plus, we’re broke, so it’s cheap to make.”

The lack of money is part of the path We Are Hex has chosen. That’s the price they pay for pursuing such an unorthodox sound, but if it’s one that resonates with them, far be it for anyone to criticize the approach. And as they continue their career and continue to push their wholly unique product, don’t expect them to change either.

“We’re never going to be a hype band or a trendy what’s-happening-now-in-Brooklyn band. We’re just writing good rock and roll and I think there will always be a place for that,” Weiss says. “We’re going to slowly gain fans. Hype bands will come and go and we’ll still be there.”

• We Are Hex plays Velvet Lounge on July 18 at 8:30 p.m. For more on We Are Hex, visit myspace.com/wearehex.