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Artist info: Hexadiode.com / Purchase album here
As is often the case in music circles, new projects arise from the smoldering embers of the old. This is certainly true of Dayton electronic artists, Hexadiode, who celebrate the release of their first CD, Ibex, Saturday at Cloverdale.
After providing new blood and material to an updated and short-lived version of Dayton’s seminal industrial dance band, Dementia Precox, local music vets Jonas Miseh (Fleshbats, Igniters), Tim Krug (Human Reunion, Oh Condor!) and Eric Purtle (Luxury Pushers, Dark Backward) decided to start a legacy of their own.
In Dementia, Miseh was given the unenviable task of taking over lead vocals for Gyn Cameron, who passed away in 2011. Meanwhile, Krug and Purtle toiled away on keys and guitar, respectively.
“When we were doing the Dementia thing, I always felt a little weird about having new songs. It seemed like Dementia was always Gyn’s thing,” Krug explained. “It was always in the back of my head that, while we were writing new songs, that this could be another band instead. It just seemed like a natural progression to give it its own identity.”
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A NEW START
In 2014, the three began reworking their songs and writing new ones under the Hexadiode moniker, making their live debut that May at the now-defunct Canal Street Tavern. The songwriting process proved meticulous as both Krug and Miseh tweaked the songs over and over.
“We refined everything and kind of distilled it down to what it needed to be for our goal I guess. I didn’t know what our goal was at the time. It just kind of turned into what it needed to be. I think (Krug) kept telling me, ‘If you throw that song away again, I’m going to quit,’”Miseh joked. “We felt like Eric was, unfortunately, having to stand around a lot while we would be programming stuff. I felt kind of bad for him.”
After a year, Purtle left the project, forcing Krug and Miseh to make adjustments.
“Some songs we had to throw out because we just couldn’t figure out how to do them without him. Some of the songs got re-written completely,” Krug said
"For the 10th time," Miseh joked.
It was also around this time Miseh started noticing a good deal of positive response to rough demos he had posted on the Soundcloud application. And while the band’s not 100 percent sure, they suspect this is what led to their eventual signing to Italian label EK Product.
Though Purtle’s departure presented some challenges for the duo, it freed them up in other ways.
“(Songwriting) moved faster once we got label interest. We were kind of kicked in the ass to get our record out at that point. The label said they wanted a record with 10 songs and we had eight,” Miseh explained.
Miseh and Krug streamlined their process, spending all of last winter finishing the album, which includes two remixes.
“We seem to be kind of brutal with the arrangements,” said Krug. “Nothing’s really sacred. With larger bands, you have four other guys that all have to agree on that. But I can just show up one day and say, ‘Well, I’ve already changed that. It’s already in the sequencer. It’s different now. Deal with it.' You could spend your whole life just changing things; making it better. But we had a deadline.”
Recorded at both Reel Love Recording Company in Dayton, and Krug’s home studio, the album is a total homegrown product. All the handwringing over songs, and their subsequent numerous tweaks, has resulted in a collection of incredible sounds led by dark and downcast lyrics.
“Breaking It Whole”, a salvage from the Dementia days, underwent an extensive battery of re-writes before Miseh and Krug were satisfied. Armed with a goosebump-inducing chorus, it’s evident all the overanalysis wasn’t for not.
“We just kept throwing it away,” said Krug. “We just didn’t like how it sounded, and then it would kind of creep back in a little differently. We’d record it and throw it away.”
"I wrote an entire new song and I was (messing) around with it, and found "Breaking It Whole" would fit really well with this song. It was like, 'That's perfect!'" Miseh added.
“Contamination” harkens back to the days when Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb ruled the dance floors of industrial clubs.
Arguably the album’s best track, “Rive” is a perfect example of how Miseh’s vocal performance pairs well with some of the otherworldly sounds and loops provided by Krug.
PLAYING LIVE AND MORE
This Saturday's show, which features a reunion of sorts with My Latex Brain and Purtle's Dark Backward in support, got help from Cloverdale event host, Mary Kathryn Burnside, who had been a fan of the group from the beginning.
“I kind of wanted to do it at a venue where it’s like, well, let’s see how it goes. See if we can get a crowd out. If we can’t, well, we can’t. We’ll go tour Europe,” Miseh laughed.
EK Product is currently mapping out a Hexadiode European tour, and Miseh can’t wait—even if the band goes broke in the process.
“If we feel like losing money, we’ll tour Europe. I guess you’d do that if you were on vacation, so you might as well do it playing music. It’s always been a dream,” added Miseh.
PRAISE FROM ALL OVER
Though hesitant to label their music, Hexadiode's Ibex has been received well by the industrial community, both in the U.S. and Europe.
So, are they industrial?
"We talk about that all the time," Miseh said.
“I’ve never been good with the whole genre thing myself. I mean, everyone else is saying we’re industrial. Our reviews are often industrial fans,” Krug added. “Between the two of us, we span a lot of influences that are industrial. But then a lot of them are just weird, electronic, experimental things. We just try to bridge that gap a bit.”
Miseh is less concerned with how you categorize Hexadiode. He just wants to be a satisfied artist—no matter how many rewrites it takes.
“I don’t think I have a problem with being labeled (industrial). I just want to make good music that’s dark and strange and has a good melody with some hooks that are danceable.”