CVLT Nation turned me on to Australian duo White Hex when they posted about the band’s debut back in July. I was immediately sold on their musical rendering of icy distance and deep narcotic atmosphere. When Sean & Meghan asked if Ides Of Gemini would be interested in participating in one of CVLT Nation’s “Artist To Artist” interviews, I thought it would be appropriate for me to email some questions to White Hex guitarist Jimi Kritzler. The following exchange took place over a couple of weeks in August 2012.
– J. Bennett
How did you and Tara (Green, vocals) meet?
We have known each other for 8 years but it was only when we both wound up in the same city after years of not seeing each did we form White Hex. That was July last year. We wrote some songs and disappeared to Egypt together to finish writing the record.
Did you really go to Egypt, or are you yanking my chain?
No, I am completely serious. Tara and I disappeared to Egypt for a few weeks to think about the record and finish the songs before we again disappeared to record the album and live in Berlin. I have attached a photo as proof….it is not in front of pyramids so don’t get yr hopes up too much.
Why did you choose Egypt?
Egypt is on one hand a really rigid place in respect to religion, daily living, etc, but at the same time it is completely wild and fucked up. We were just really interested in the subtleties and contrasts of the culture. We were hoping it would fine-tune the songs so on the surface the songs are really cold and although I really hate to use the description—detached—but then as you listen more it is a lot more …. human? Though the simple answer may just be we wanted to see the pyramids before we die.
Are you living in Berlin now?
No we spent the winter in Berlin recording and mixing the record with Olle Holmberg. We played in Paris, Berlin and New York and then were beckoned back to Australia to write our summer album.
What was the original inspiration for forming White Hex?
We formed to pursue a musical idea we had of writing really cold music that over time could be manipulated into sounding like love songs albeit slightly obtuse love songs.
Why did you decide to call your record Heat?
I think because we finished writing the LP and recorded it whilst we were living in Berlin. That winter it got down to minus 17 degrees and we were dreaming of heat be it natural or artificial. It also worked with some of the themes of the record—of lust, of being forced into things and trying to avoid heat as in the law.
You mentioned lust. Are you & Tara a couple?
……We hang out a lot.
What is your working process like?
Tara and I write every song together, Tara writes all the lyrics. Although we disagree on nearly every aspect and rework a song for weeks on end we always end up both being immensely satisfied with the outcome.
What do you think it is about your personalities that make you disagree on almost every aspect of the songs?
I think it is just our mutual desire to make every song a complete statement of what we both want. We work slowly, but at the same time our record was released within 6 months of forming so…I am not sure.
How would you characterize the band’s musical philosophy?
I don’t think we have one. It is a give and take relationship – Tara gives and I take.
The material on Heat has a very distinct & alluring atmosphere, almost a narcotic kind of vibe. What kind of musical reference points—if any—did you have in mind when you recorded?
Some musical inspiration before we began writing and recording was Whitehouse – Erector, Arthur Russell – Calling Out Of Context, DAF & Robert Görl and Les Rallizes Denudes, although I don’t think we sound anything like these [artists or] records.
You’re also in a band called Slug Guts. How would you compare that musical experience and working relationship to that of White Hex?
I wouldn’t compare them. White Hex has a completely different working process and of late is less arduous than Slug Guts.
White Hex is just me and Tara whilst Slug Guts is me and up to 5 other…I was going to say men but that doesn’t seem all that applicable at certain times. Slug Guts is more arduous simply because if we aren’t writing for the next record we are recording it and if we aren’t recording we are on tour. We leave for our USA tour in a few weeks and it is pretty long and knowing the people in the band it will be really intense and wild but really fucking tiring.
What’s next for White Hex?
We are writing new songs and have many ideas. I think we want to disappear again and write the remainder of the new record.