Interview by Len Lemiere (Side-Line #26, March/April '99)
UK-based Hexedene are insomniac Jonathan Sharp (aka Hyperdex-1-Sectm New Mind, Bio-Tek, etc.) on programming, Ian Palmer on guitar, and Katie Helby on vocals. Hexedene is the perfect juxtaposition of darkly mesmerising female vocals, a thick dance matrix, pulsing aggro-tech dynamics and throttling guitar riffs. The ultimate high-energy combination of alluring techon and post-industrial goth! With their full spectrum of sounds, Hexedene will keep you coming back for more... Their debut album "Choking on Lilies" is finally available in Europe for everyone's delight!
SL: What was the even that launched Hexedene?
JS: Ian and Katie had been helping me out with New Mind and recording their own material here at my studio. We all just got along so well itseemed like a good idea to do some tracks and see what the response was. We had such an amazing positive response to the first demo that we decidedl to go on and write and record more... We certainly got a lot of label interest and having those first tracks on Side-Line CDs certainly helped a lot!
SL: Your debut album has been released several months ago in the states. Why such a late European release?
label hassels! The CD was originally coming out on Side-Line records
through CCP, then Seba set up Matrix Cube through Trinity Records.
So there were lots of hassels over contractual issues which took a while
to sort out and that meant leaving CCPl and signing a new deal with Trinity
Records so that delayed things; the release was then set for late last
year, but then it got near to Christmas it made more sense to wait for
the new year. The album is going to be different though to the USA
release, different runnin order, remixes and art, so it's not exactly
the same as the Re-Con version... The intention was to get a simulataneous
release for the USA and Europe, but as I've
explained, the European release got stalled, while the USA version was on schedule. But yes, I'd say the US version is more 'American' sounding, especially with the choice of remixes and so on.
SL: When Andrew Eldritch was asked what he described as an American CD,l he said: 'A very message-less CD for the thinking impaired'. Does this qualify for the Hexedene release?
JS: Well frankly, i think that's a pretty ironic statement from Mr. Eldritch... I personally can't think of a better way to describe the Sisters' albums than: 'A very message-less empty CD for the thinking-impaired.'
SL: All titles on "Choking on Lilies" have a very romantic twitch to it. Is that the good old British nostalgia talking there or what?
JS: Nostalgia? Ha.... Lyrical romanticism?? Katie would be the one to ask about that as the lyricist -- but obviously this isn't the usual chest-beating macho industrial posturing. Actually the album title, "Choking on Lilies", came from Chase (their US label manager).
SL: Don't you think it's a risk to do a first album with one singer and then use different vocalists for the next chapters?
JS: Maybe so...
but for example, Delerium goes from release to release with different female
vocalists contributing; that's the way i see Hexedene working. I
am already writing new material with three singers: Daemon Cadman (ex-Waiting
for God), Alexys B. (Inertia), and Terri Kennedy. In fact, Katie
might work on some tracks as well, if she can do this contractually.
I had hoped to get Maria from
Battery and Cara from (IN)ternal involved, but that hasn't worked out because of their own committments.
SL: Don't you fear losing the unity of texts and atmospheres you have on this album when using different singers?
JS: No. Hexedene has its own atmosphere, feel, whatever you want to call it. Certainly though each singer brings her own style into the tracks. But ultimately, it's still going to be dark/etheral/electronica.
SL: Post-industrial with goth attitude?
JS: I guess that's an okay description. Personally, you could drop the 'goth' word for me. Certainly there's a darkwave element, but when i get comps like "Ghosts From the Darkside"... i don't think Hexedene has much in common with the other bands on there; except for maybe the electro sound of Die Form.
SL: I heard you could be supporting Christian Death on their UK tour?
JS: Operative word is "could be." It's a possibility, but not anywhere confirmed as of yet. If i had done everything that was suggested as a possibility, i'd have 5 Euro tours and done the USA twice... While, in fact, i've yet to have my passport stamped. In the world of industrial music, good ideas tend to stay as ideas.
SL: Do you start songs from a sampled guitar loop or from electronic sequences?
JS: The guitars come last actually. The songs start life on the sequencer, get written, arranged, and then the guitars come in at last... we'd play live guitar onto the multi-track tape, along with the song, and the sample the best parts, putting together that day.
SL: What's up with all those different labels? I think you released every project on a different label.
JS: The only way you find out what a label is like is by working with them -- i'd never sign more than one project to a label; that's just being practical. It's only labels that i trust that i normally do more than on release for.
SL: I think you are in an expert position to tell the readers what they should look for in a good label. Enlighthen the little people?
JS: Honesty, integrity, the ability to pay money owed to the artists on time. There aren't so many labels around that seem to be able to do this or even think they have an obligation to behanve in a business-like way.
SL: What other releases have you planned for '99?
JS: I think there might be a Hexedene maxi-CD as there are enough extra remixes and it's contracted. The latest New Mind CD "DeepNet" is getting a domestic North American releasen through Gashed Records, and there's the third Bio-Tek album which i've got completed, so that will come out sometime this year as well (on Doppler Effects Records). Other than that, there is an H.P. Lovecraft tribute album CD i've been compiling, which it looks like Dion Fortune are releasing. And i'm working on some other instrumental projects which aren't 'industrial', and i'm also doing some commercial music for advertising. So i'm busy; real busy.
SL: To conclude, give us two good reasons to listen to "Choking on Lilies?"
JS: Because it's not the usual industrial/goth cliche -- it's music that works on your headphones as well as the dancefloor; and it's rather a groovy album -- Go buy it!!