– Hello, thanks for answering to our questions. What’s currently keeping HEXEN busy?
The marketing and promoting for our long-awaited sophomore release. It’s difficult because at this rate HeXeN has become a fairly-well known band in the thrash underground, but that’s exactly what we still are; underground, the ‘do-it-yourself’ days march on.
– First off, if you don’t mind (as you have just released your second album), I would like you to start with some history of HEXEN, as I guess there may be some people who aren’t familiar with you yet.
We started off as fans, an entire movement of recent youth getting turned back to the heavy music of a generation prior. Many of us got into it pre-90s hard rock/metal when it hadn’t turned into a corporate bandwagon yet… many of the legends who all made comebacks and reunions were at the twilight of their careers, playing music that wasn’t half the quality of what they originated from. Naturally, many of us soon picked up guitars, some made bands, and even fewer made bands that grew beyond the garage. HeXeN was part of the thrash resurgence that came out of Los Angeles in the early 2000’s, and no matter how miniscule become a solidified part of metal by the mid to late 2000’s. Finally got a label by 2008 and released our debut, State of Insurgency, went on tour in 2010, and in 2012 will release our second album.
– You will soon release your new “Being and Nothingness”; what are your expectations with this new effort?
We want it to have a very crushing impact to the masses ― a hauling scream from the underground. I personally saw us at first as an integral part of US thrash revival, but now as a band whose unique circumstances definitely rubbed off in the music. I don’t think the new album’s thrash sounds like anyone’s thrash. Maybe it will find a special place in the hearts of fans for that. And I definitely have Rich Bruce of Vivid Tone to thank man; production plays a huge role in it. I won’t listen to some of the new Destruction albums because they are so overproduced. And this album was a huge, huge project. It is not a minimalist straight jab thrash record at all. There are synths in every song. It would have been very easy to overproduce the album because of its grandiosity, but we kept as much organic sound as possible.
– The album’s title is quite intriguing. Could you please tell us what does it make reference to?
It’s very allegorical, about all the dichotomies in which we see in life. Almost as if existence itself and everything in it is dichotomy, yin and yang, good and evil, right and wrong. The lyrics have such sentiments diffused throughout.
– And the same with the cover artwork; what did you want to reflect with it? Is it connected with the album’s name?
Again yes, but in abstract ways. In the cover, we see a plane of existence disintegrating into space, which is itself a void of sorts, a vacuum. Being, converting to nothingness, and vice versa. We always loved the art of Necrolord, and when I saw that he also does geometric art, I gave him the concept and told him to look to M.C. Escher if he needed to emulate a particular style. Surrealism. He definitely used that influence and created what to me is a masterpiece of his covers.
– Anyway I think both things have a strong link with the whole record’s concept. Would you mind to shed some light on it?
The album is not a concept album, but it is full of concepts. The subjects in HeXeN used to consist of very contemporary applied issues such as war, religion, politics, and conspiracy. Being and Nothingness went for a more introspective route, sometimes existential, sometimes about personal struggles and sometimes about personal accomplishment. It shows opposing viewpoints in many different ways, from belief in order or chaos, faith or atheism, etc.
– Musically I could say this album is more progressive than your debut album. Is this how you envisioned the album before starting the creative process?
Yes. We want every new offering of HeXeN to surprise and blindside everyone. The last thing we want is to release an album and have it get reviews that dare claim “typical HeXeN fare”. Fuck that. And we will keep pulling tricks from sleeves every time, every release.
– This being said; how was the songwriting process this time around?
Still not a fully “jamming” band effort yet. Very eclectically written and revised. Very particularly arranged and orchestrated. Went for a more crisply produced, grandiose, atmospheric epic album, figured we’ll leave room for the awesome ‘going back to your roots’ experience for the 3rd or 4th album when it’s a straight jammed out live thing, nothing more than 2 guitars, bass, vox, and drums. So yeah, it is very, very difficult to make albums like the one we made. We spent years writing it, and a year going back and forth from the studio perfecting it in mixing. We wanted to do that now while we had the time and resources, and most importantly, we were there mentally.
– Anyway, how could you describe your new opus in 3 words?
PPP; Power, Precision, Philosophy.
– This has been your first full-length album with Pulverised Records, which is a label with really extreme bands within their roster. Is everything working fine with them?
Yes, most definitely. It has been a long wait releasing this album, for us even more than them because they are busy with so many others on their roster. Being and Nothingness is much darker than our previous releases or than a lot of thrash in the revival, so I think it matches their extreme metal acts. I hope the guys in the label like the album as much as I’d think, seeing as how it’s a unique addition with mixes of different genres compared to some other bands which stick to one focused style, death or black, etc.
– Being from the US I guess it would be too easy and predictable to play old school and dirty Thrash Metal at the 80’s/Bay Area style. Do you think having your own sound makes you stand out among other Thrash Metal acts?
Yes, we have tried to push for that but not take it too far as to alienate audiences or make music that too different and incomprehensible or not relatable.
– And finally, what are the near-future plans for HEXEN?
To go on a summer tour and support this album.
– That has been everything from my side, thanks once more for your time. If you want to add some final words, feel free to do it.
I would like to thank you Sergio for your time and this interview. A most sincere hails from us in the HeXeN family to any Spanish fans we may have. Unlearn what you have learned about metal, and when Being and Nothingness is unleashed, grab a copy… and prepare for take off.