!!!GRINDING BLACK METALPUNK FROM SOUTH TEXAS!!!
Welcome to the FILTHY DOGS OF METAL Webzine.
Tell us a few things about HEXELLA (Members, Starting Year etc).
NOELIA: Hexella was originally a studio project I started in 2019 after many failed musical endeavors. I am predominantly the songwriter for this project so I would write riffs, then arrange and flesh them out with JD on drums; who is an integral to the sound of Hexella. In the beginning it was never meant to be a live performing project, but fast forward to 2021, working with Goat Throne Records (tape release) and Tennebrous Aberations PRODS.(CD release) for the "A Road in Hell" EP, and big push from JD to perform in support of the releases, our official live performance line up came together in February 2022. Official LIVE line up is: Noelia Garza- Vox/ JD De La Rosa- Guitar/ Richard Casas- Bass/ Daniel Garcia- Drums. Our RECORDING line up is: Noelia-Vox, lyrics, guitar / JD- Drums & leads / Richard - Bass. Hexella: pronounced \Hex-Ay-a\ is a Eng./Spn compound word which translates to Hex/Her or Curse/Her. The concept behind the name is the acknowledgment and acceptance of being cursed and to swallow and own those curses. As the the project has progressed the concept begins to take on a form of it's own.
You have recently released the split album with Wülfskol ''Burn with Us''. What is the feedback from your audience as well as from the press?
NOELIA: It's been mostly very positive. Seeing as how we are not trying to reinvent the wheel or anything with our sound, many of the listeners have been able to pick up on our influences and connect to that. I have always hailed the older, darker and violent ways of metal and punk, and will continue to do so. We really enjoyed working with Goat Throne Records and Wulfskol on this release and efforts on all sides of that came through.
JD DE LA ROSA: At first, we were commonly labeled as "Black and Roll," but I think as the music has had time to gestate in the minds of the listeners more, they are now realizing that we are more than just that. There are elements of ALL of our influences creeping into the songs, and the audience is becoming more receptive of it. Those into death metal, grind, d-beat and more have been showing their appreciation for what has come and are anticipating what is brewing now.
Label or DIY and why?
NOELIA: In different aspects; both. It's great to have the support of the label to help distribute and promote something that we as a diy band have put together. For example we write, record, mix and master our own music, we also put together art concepts, designs and album layouts. Once the artist end of the work is done we basically just hand it over to the label; To be honest we prefer it that way. So far it's been that way working with Goat Throne Records and Tennebrous Aberations PRODS.; both underground Texas labels who have been nothing but 100% badass to work with.
JD DE LA ROSA: Absolutely! In the DIY realm, you can only go as far as you have networked. It's not so easy for everyone to commit a "full time" schedule to traveling and performing, so in this respect, modern conveniences like social media are a great tool of extension. IF the said label is in the proper stream of consciousness, then it will further amplify the efforts the band puts forth, and do so in the proper channels (e.i. distros, circles, and scenes).
Do you prefer Vinyl, Tape, CD or Digital Format and why is that?
NOELIA: Vinyl for sound quality. CD and tapes are badass especially for those who are not local to your area because they are easier to ship. Digital format is great for getting your stuff heard organically (as in no paid promotion/shoutouts) especially on Bandcamp and Youtube.
JD DE LA ROSA: "Technology" and "digital" are sometimes "bad words" in the mouths of punks and O.G. metalheads. As a producer, I know the difference in the sound quality that the aformentioned are alluding to, but they don't understand just HOW and WHY those sound variances occure. Many say things like, "Nah dude! Only analogue is real!" They frown on using computers for production, and pressing onto CD/Digital formats. Without getting too technical, the issue is all in the performance on the recording that keeps the music sounding and feeling "organic." Punch-ins, cut-n-paste, and fake drums are the core of the "processed" sound many complain of. Play hard, and feel the fire. It will come out of the speakers. The physical format only adds to the experience, but never takes away from it. Personally, I love vinyl/CD for the multi-media experience, and Digital Downloads for the convenience of mobility and consistency.
Your music style is Black MetalPunk. Which are your main influences (Favourite Artists / Bands etc.)
NOELIA: We could be here all damn day because I listen to a ton of music. I'll try hard to keep it short. My influences are all over the place for riff writing Celtic Frost, Sarcofago, Motorhead, Mayhem, early Mercyful Fate, Hellhammer, Bathory, DRI, Discharge, Cryptic Slaughter, Dishammer, Venom, Necrophagia, Ravenous, Voivod and very importantly, the riffers "Old Man" & "Fly" (R.I.P.) of T.R.L.; being so close to home, they birthed my punk side.
Whether it be the content or how the wording is crafted: for lyrical influence early on, Jim Morrison, especially from songs like "The End", "Not to Touch the Earth", "Celebration of the Lizard", "End of the Night"; songs like that left a big impression on me as a 12 year old kid and I've carried that with me since. Other influential lyricists include Satyr, Jeniffer Charles, whoever writes lyrics in Virus & Ved Buenes Ende, Selim Lemouchi (the Devil's Blood) and the Arch Devil (Total Human Genocide Division 218, My Satanic Devotion, Poser Hate) may he R.I.C. I worked with the Arch Devil on many studio projects towards the end of his life; he was a great adviserial spirit and left an impression on me that is now a part of my musical DNA. I also draw a great deal of inspiration from my own experiences in life, with death, the occult and treading the LHP; that is a more personal topic but is evident in my work.
JD DE LA ROSA: On the drums, its all about the aggression of black metal, d-beat, punk, and grind. For the solos, I look to bands like Mercyful Fate, Voivod, Acheron, Pink Floyd, blues, rock, metal, and more......
Which things do you think a Band should sacrifice in order to succeed? Have you ever sacrificed anything in your life for a better future for your Band?
NOELIA: Time, energy, cash, posers, wimps, wisos and falsos. Once the last four are out of the way the first three aren't much of a sacrifice.
Describe your ideal live show as a performance Band. Have you already experienced that?
JD DE LA ROSA: We generally feel its imperative to perform at an event with like-minded acts that share our spirit and approach to the craft. I know there are those that would rather have a sort of "variety night", but this is a new era of extreme. Thirty years ago, we had to play with whomever was around just to fill a night! You would hear punk/hardcore bands play with death/thrash bands, and occasionally have a "hard rock" band open the night. These days, there are 4,862,934,958 bands in every state! We can cultivate themed nights now that celebrate specific intent and styles of metal, and there will be a crowd to enjoy it (and they are normally all the same people in the audience enjoying it too). Aside from that, a PA that is clean, not neccessarily loud, is important. We don't always have monitors (we can survive without them) but the audience needs to be given a real SHOW, damnit. They want to escape normal life, so a good PA is a great tool for just that, even if the bands are not the most impactful. OH yeah....FUCK STOBE LIGHTS!!!!
Which attributes, do you think, that a new Black MetalPunk Band should have in order to gain identity and be unique?
NOELIA: Know your roots, Be true to yourself, stick to your guns and strike with conviction.
Do you believe that Digital Platforms help the new MetalPunk Bands? Which, do you think, is the ideal way for a Band to promote its work?
NOELIA: Digital platform is extremely helpful in getting the work out there organically (as in no paid promotion/shoutouts). If your music is any good it will go far digitally, but stats on a digital platform can still be deceiving vs real life. The ideal way for a band to promote it's work is to get out there and put it in people's faces. That's where YOU as a band will face the music aka the reality of how it's received and supported.
JD DE LA ROSA: I agree. Numbers can inflate egos, but they do not reflect reality. Digital Platforms should not be politicized into what is "right or wrong" for genres. They are just tools to help listeners know what the band sounds like. In this world where there are "4,862,934,958" bands in every state, we need every bit of help we can get, both the bands and listeners.
Do you see any differences between the US Metal Market & EU Metal Market (Labels, Bands, Fans etc)?
JD DE LA ROSA: I've been fortunate to have toured a few times in Europe and once in Japan. The scene are VERY different in certain aspects and VERY alike in others. One of the main differences is the "open-mindedness" of the audiences. In Japan, I think its due to the area confinement and isolation of the region and it's people. You hear punk bands with raging guitar shredding solos. You hear grind bands with wild singers that break all the rules, singing in wide registers, and growling like demons. Europe is similar in its audience's open-mindedness, but I think its due to the close proximity to the neighboring countries of varying cultures and languages. Each nation has strong and influencing acts of varying styles of metal, and those nearby are influenced by it all. Also, the work scheduals in EU are more enabling for the people to enjoy massive "music fest seasons" unlike in the USA. I know many Europeans that are given up to 3 weeks off a year for holiday. That is a big factor in the EU scene and Fest season celebrations. Just take a moment to list the top 20 metal fests in the world........at least 15 of them are in the EU.
Tell us a few things about the New Underground Metal Scene in Texas (Bands, Fanzines, Webzines, Metal Clubs etc.)
JD DE LA ROSA: Texas has always been a hub for great flavors of metal. We have a great blend of European and Mexican blood here. We are also a coastal state, so we have access to imports of food, entertainment and technology that inspires us to grow culturally and musically. Today, due to having such a heralded legacy of music in Texas history, we continue to yield bands that maintain originality while celebrating common genres of extreme music. Our death metal does not sound like Florida, Sweden, or New York. Our black metal does not sound like the Hellenic Republic, Brazil, or Norway. Our thrash does not sound like Germany, Canada, or France. Texas music does reflect the inspirations from these iconic sounds, but continues to express a refined approach to the craft. Check out bands like Pious Levous, Kryptic Mutation, Black Jackyl, E.T.D., Oath of Cruelty, Wulfskol, Discarnate Horizon, Dream Shake, Haserot, Transcending, Yellow King, Trucido, Cultus Mortem, Steel Bearing Hand, Sangre Impura......and that's not even mentioning all the veteran kings that are still crushing stages here and around the world.
NOELIA: I'd like to add Mindeater, Tyrant's Might and Maximum Trauma to that list of bands as well. At the moment, Texas based Youtube podcasts such as the Jamming Out All Badass Channel (hosted by Francisco Pulido) and The Witching Hour segment on L Necron's Channel (hosted by Karl Sneider) have been playing a big part in helping promote Texas underground metal/punk/extreme music. They have been hosting underground bands/members on their channels, sharing fliers for upcoming shows, sharing underground music old/new and connecting that current of Texas metal to viewers and other podcasts, such Death Metal Podcasts (hosted by Roy Fox), beyond Texas and even the states. All three of these hosts have been in the underground scene and in contact with each other in some way or another for fucking years. Hail the unholy trinity!
Do you know anything about the Hellenic Metal Scene?
NOELIA: I am familiar with bands such as Rotting Christ, Varathron and Astarte. Also not metal at all, but there is an old folk song called Ime Prezakias that fucking rules...when I learned the translation it made sense that I would be drawn to such a song haha.
JD DE LA ROSA: Greece and the Hellenic Republic are iconic mainly for the black metal bands and sounds that came out in the late 80s/early 90's. I think it was due to both the isolation of the region, and the approach to the technology in producing such bands. It was a perfect storm for the right ambience of spiritual fire and power in music. Many bands around the world were moved by not just the bands' music, but the sound as well. Now, most of those iconic bands have departed from that approach, which always causes a response of nostalgia. You have killer labels like "Kyrck Productions" that praise the old ways and invest money and passion into keeping the old flames burning bright. I hope to have the opportunity to play in the Hellenic Republic and witness the spirit of true extreme metal madness that resides there some day. Greece.... a golden icon of history and culture!
The last 3 years worldwide we have faced many dark, strange & new situations with our everyday life (covid, lock-down etc.) Did all of this affect you positively or negatively?
NOELIA: Yeah it did both positively and negatively. A sort of transmutation if you will. The effects last to this day in some ways. There were a lot of deaths literally and metaphorically around that time not even related to covid that occured for me personally, covid just added to that shift. The scythe continues to fall. Creation spawns from destruction, so I've come to embrace it.
What are your future plans?
NOELIA: Continue doing what I've been doing since before Hexella; writing music. We just signed with Hell's Headbangers and will release our full length album in mid to late 2024. When that comes to pass, I will continue to write and record music whether it gets released on a label or not.
Thank you very much for your time & Keep up the good work! The closure is yours.
NOELIA: Thank you for that, and for your interest in Hexella. Hails to all the maniacs and unholy rock n rollers that support us! Stay solid, keep crushing poser fucks forever!
By Steve the Filthy Dog.
Logo and cover art designs by: Hexella
Live photo by: Shane Wilson
Wullfskol/Hexella - ''Burn with Us'' cover artwork by: Gus Grinder Oliva