As a metalhead you should be familiar with HEXX. Having been around since the 80s in one shape or another they are a metal institution. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
Do you notice that there is anticipation for you to release an album? Have your following kept intact for them to eagerly await a new album?
-That’s a good question. I don’t know the answer to that. I certainly hope someone somewhere is eagerly awaiting the release of the new Hexx album! The vinyl re releases that Metal Blade put out of our first two albums, No Escape and Under the Spell sold very well as did the subsequently released 2 CD/DVD Box set so I am hopeful that this new album will do well and satisfy the fans that bought those releases. This new album is very much in the same US Power Metal style as our first two records.
Is it important for you that a new album picks up where the previous left off? How important is continuity??
-Yeah, we made a deliberate effort to try and pick up where Under the Spell left off. Until now Under the Spell was pretty much considered our best effort to date but I think our new album, Wrath of the Reaper is by far superior in every way.
Was it hard for you to come up with a sound for this album that you all could agree on?
-Well maybe a little at first but once we all agreed we wanted to go back to the roots of the band and try and make an album that sounded like it could have been written back in the mid 1980’s everything fell into place nicely. We all love the metal that was coming out in those times so it was actually pretty easy to stick to the formula once we got going.
How important are the lyrics to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
-Yes to me the lyrics are very important. We try and steer clear of the typical “Yeah baby bang your head all night long” kind of lyrics and opt for a little more unusual thought provoking subject matter. For example the opening track on the album is called “Macabre Procession of Specters”. This song deals with the Nazi death marches of World War 2. We also have a song called “Unraveled” dealing with substance abuse, relapse and the struggle to get and remain sober. “Exhumed for the Reaping” is about the resurrection and the bringing back to life of Hexx! “Circle the Drain” is about the inevitable end of the so called civilised world as we know it. All the lyrics to all the songs are included in both the vinyl and CD releases so you can check them all out when you get the album.
How important is the cover art work for you? How much do you decide in choosing art work?
-The cover art is always very important to us and it’s a fun part of the process to making a new album. This time around we were lucky enough to have the great Roberto Toderoco from Italy paint our cover art! He really did a fantastic job of capturing the ‘Wrath of the Reaper” spirit and concept. He was very easy to work with and a total pro all the way down the line. We tried to include some of the shades of blue that were used on our first two albums to kind of make it reminiscent of those record covers and create a kind of visual continuity.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? Are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans?
-Well I guess we are kind of old fashioned and prefer to work with a record label. High Roller Records has all the reputation, experience and know how to get our kind of music to the people that appreciate it the most. Together with support from Bart Gabrial Management we feel that we are in very good hands. There is no way that we could do all the things for ourselves that our record label and management are doing for us to promote this new Hexx album!
I guess that today’s music climate makes it harder for a band to sell mega platinum. How do you tackle the fact that downloading has changed how people consume music?
-Well first of all I think that the market for our music is somewhat limited so I have no such great expectation about selling in the mega platinum numbers range with this new album. Sure it would be fantastic but I’m certainly not holding my breath. On September 15th the new album will be available for proper digital download through all the popular channels. I think in Europe people still like to by Vinyl and CD’s and take pride in helping support their favourite artists by purchasing there music legally. I’m sure there will be a fair amount of file sharing and illegal downloading of the record but there is really not much we can do about it. We don’t expect to get rich from this album we just want to maybe climb up the ladder a rung or two and hopefully increase the popularity of the band.
Does nationality matter today when it comes to breaking big. Does nationality play a part in if or not you will make it big internationally?
-I don’t know the answer to that. We have yet to “make it big” as you say so I guess we will find out. I sense that our fan base is primarily in Europe rather than here in the United States so if we were ever to “break big” my guess is that it would be there first rather than here.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-You know at this stage in the game for us we just don’t worry about it at all. As long as we can still make our music we will continue to do so. We simply don’t have any control over the music business so it makes no sense for us to worry about it. I also believe that as long as there is a demand for real music performed by real musicians, bands like Hexx will always have a market to tap into, however small it may be.
What does the future hold for you?
-To be totally honest I don’t really know. We are under contract with High Roller Records to do at least one more album so most likely we at least do that. I guess things are really hinging on how well this new record is received. We would love to be able to come back to Europe to perform again but as of right now there is no tour support for the band. I guess we will do shows here in the states and hope the new album goes over well with the fans. We will just have to wait and see.
Thank you Anders for the opportunity to do this interview and for all your thoughtful questions.