Artist of the Month: HEXDEBT

As Pilerats notes, HEXDEBT’s debut album is “a record that promises to showcase the band’s versatility and craft for uniting thick instrumentals with commanding, powerful vocals, which across the album’s ten-track duration, covers the various systematic issues and problematic customs the band and its members are faced with day in, day out: oppression, capitalism and complex systems of power”. 

How did you all meet and start playing music together?

Isobel and Aife had for a long time planned to start a project due to their similar classical backgrounds and interest in punk/post-punk. Soon after, Agnes and Isobel met at Isobel’s gig with her old band, and Agnes made an impression on her with their incredible voice by singing over a free-form jazz track at a party! Lucy met Aife at a show they both played at The Tote. Aife asked Lucy straight if she wanted to be in the band. Our first practise took place at Agnes’s share-house at the time, in Brunswick. A type of magic happened when we all began writing our first song Exodus and we instantly decided we would commit to the project from that point forward.


Where do you get the ideas for your songs and do you have a process for writing them?

The group was formed on a basis of being collectively frustrated by injustices, and encouraging one another and our peers to recognise our inner power; that we are deserving of a respected space. A lot of the ideas for our songs are expressions of these concepts. Our process first and foremost involves having all four of us in the same room with the same trajectory regarding a songs direction. Aife and/or Isobel will most often have a riff or two in mind to which Agnes and Lucy will expand on and enhance. Isobel and Agnes in their own time work on the lyrics together.


What kind of things do you like to write about?

A lot of the ideas behind our tracks stem from conversations between one another. We borrow a lot of jargon and symbolism from the realms of mythology, the legal system, as well as our own community. Our observations of conflict, injustice, self empowerment and social change, are an attempt to understand the turbulent society we belong to, and moreover, to question the normalisation these observations. Foremostly, we write about our experiences – whether that is abstract or blatant, we can always trace our songs back to our lived experience. We believe our lived experiences are innately political, so like to act as a link between intellectual and emotional. Some of the themes in our latest album include the passing of time, social hierarchies and dominance, deconstructing social norms, astrology, betrayal and even chess.


Who are some of the biggest influences on your music?

This is always a tricky one to answer because our influences come from a very large variety of things that don’t solely come from music itself, and rather many different forms of art and expression; Agnes being a visual creator, Aife and Isobel being classical musicians and Lucy being a graphic designer. Each of us draws from different influences in our fields. Individually we are inspired by:

Agnes: This is difficult to pin down – musically I feel influenced by early 2010s hardcore, but also bebop – just in terms of how the seed of an idea can sporadically develop and make patterns from itself. But more generally, Yes- theatre, drama, and visual symbolism!

Isobel: I’m very much inspired by post-punk classics, atonal music and minimalism, lush soundscapes of orchestral music and jazz.

Lucy: I’ve always been drawn to new wave and post punk music for its driving bass lines and amalgamation of punk and disco. I also feel influenced by Chicago house as I feel it has similar stripped back, bass heavy elements.


What do you like to do in your downtime when you’re not making music?

Aife: I like to cook and eat, play my guitar and hang out with my closest, loving companions.
Lucy: I run a graphic design studio with my best friend. I’m at the studio most weekdays but when I’m not doing that I love to cook and make ~art~

Agnes: drink 10 million coffees at a cafe and write / chess chess chess / weird intrigue projects
Isobel: I love to cook as well! Aife and I are typical Taureans. I also love to read, and I’m currently studying to become an ethnomusicologist.


What would be your dream line up to be a part of?

Aife: Savages, princess nokia, Cousin stizz and Gillian Welch, lmao imagine

Isobel: I would be over the moon if we got to play with Talking Heads and Solange all on one bill
Agnes: little simz, talking heads (lol this is Isobels fault),  Savages (ditto), Charlotte Adgery, Sevdaliza!!
Lucy: The Cure, I’m gonna say Talking Heads too lol, Lizzie Mercier Descloux, Sister Nancy (one of these people isn’t alive unfortunately but it’s a dream for sure)


What’s been your highlight so far this year?
Our orchestral collaboration at Brunswick Music Fesitval! And MONA! And realeasing our album into the world!


What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Launching Rule of Four at Northcote Social Club on the 25th of May and Touring the record nationally from July onwards. Writing new material. Also look out for new video clips!


Where can people go to keep up to date with everything Hexdebt? 

HEXDEBT and Poison City’s Instagram and Facebook accounts/pages.
Rule of Four Launch at NSC: