When DC's Ex Hex, which features Mary Timony along with friends Betsy Wright and Laura Harris made their live debut last October at a show featuring Superchunk's Mac McCaughan in NYC, there was an unmistakable excitement behind the group's songs and sound--so much so that it concluded with Timony's new group being signed to Merge Records not long after. Ex Hex has a built in audience from Mary Timony's past solo work (an album title is where Ex Hex gets their name - this work was also released on Merge), as well as from the roster of groups she's been a part of; including Autoclave, Helium, and Wild Flag--but Timony's own experimentation and sound has always been as much a part of the draw as the bands themselves. Both Betsy Wright (bassist, Chain & The Gang, The Fire Tapes), and Laura Harris (drums, of Dischord's Aquarium and Benjy Ferree) complete the solid and thunderous lineup and approach to sound here as well.
Ex Hex's recent single (their group debut on Merge) "Hot and Cold," shows the trio's mix of ideas have paid off and that we can expect more strong songwriting to come--no pressure or anything! Lara Jean Gallagher has directed the video behind the new song, giving the track a punk rock vision that fits so well within the easy strut of wailing guitar and lyrics calling out social and emotional (read: dating and relationship) protocol.
The brand new 7" for "Hot and Cold" b/w “Waterfall” and “Everywhere”, was recorded in July 2013, and was released March 18th on Merge. The band's tour started this week, and you can catch them here in Philly on Saturday, March 22nd, at The Boot & Saddle with local support from Lantern and Cayetana.
Mary Timony took a moment to answer some questions about the band's brand new video, which was filmed in Portland, Oregon, and their new single, inbetween the group's tour (tonight they play Mercury Lounge in NYC) and their recent travel (after coming home from SXSW).
Girl About Town: I see that Lara Jean has let the cat out of the bag (so-to-speak) in regards to the video being inspired by Vera Chytilová's 1966 movie "Daisies". Are any of you fans of that movie? What were your first reactions upon seeing the video she made for you cut together - I love that (you) Mary are even wearing a flower crown at one point too - awesome nod. Was this script all Lara Jean's doing?
Mary Timony: Yes! You got Lara's reference! She is so super talented. We loved working with her. As soon as she told us we were going to have a food fight we were sold. We love it, and plan on having a good fight at every show. Get ready.
There was so much delicious food in the video that it reminded me of the "21 Truly Upsetting Vintage Recipes" that was posted on Buzzfeed recently (http://www.buzzfeed.com/
ariannarebolini/truly-upsetting-vintage-recipes)--who cooked all of that delicious food?
The Art Director Jade Harris did it all. She is incredible. It all looked amazing. I ate too much ham by mistake though.
Did Ian Svenonius get pulled into the video by accident - like was it a crazy sketch/video idea that the band was dreaming up and he just happened to be there? Or was he destined to play the part of the date getting party-band-crashed?
Ian is our super good buddy, and Betsy plays in Chain and The Gang, and they were on a tour that ended in PDX where we shot the video, so it all just kinda worked out. We love Ian so much and were so honored that he was our guest star!
How long has the band known Lara Jean Gallagher for - she also did Wild Flag's video for "Electric Band" - and she's worked with some other artists such as Mikal Cronin now as well. How did the band/Ian feel under her direction - what have you learned from working with Lara Jean?
Lara is so talented. I've worked on a few videos with her and have so much respect for her. She's the best.
What can you tell us about the three songs on the 7": do you have a basic setup in your basement, or do you actually have a mini recording studio setup, and what's the best thing that came out of recording these songs with Dennis Kane (besides having everything in your control)?
I have built a studio in my basement. I really love recording there. When you record in one place many times you really get a feel for the room sound and how everything meshes together. It was nice to record in a relaxed way.
Hot and Cold is such a great lead track for your first single! Are you excited to unleash more new songs after the tour, and what's the plan; to continue with basement tracking or to go into a studio (who with)?
We are recoding the full length record in April with Mitch Easter [ed: Fidelitorium Recordings].
Ex Hex on tour:
Mar 18 Chicago, IL — Schubas
Mar 19 Columbus,OH — Double Happiness
Mar 20 Brooklyn, NY — Glasslands
Mar 21 New York, NY — Mercury Lounge
Mar 22 Philadelphia, PA — Boot & Saddle
Apr 01 Boston, MA — Brighton Music Hall
Apr 04 Harrisonburg, VA — MACRock
Apr 05 Winston-Salem, NC — Phuzz Fest