9 Sep 2017

Hex summon the riffs

From RNZ Music, 3:30 pm on 9 September 2017

Originally conceived from a three way love affair of music, witchcraft and rock opera, Hex is the genesis of G G and Kiki Van Newtown. The pair started jamming with Liz Mathews on drums in 2010 with the ambitious idea of writing and performing a Rock opera. In 2012, Hex the band was officially brought to life.

- Jana Whitta


Hex Photo: supplied

After a three year hiatus to have babies, Kiki and G G (now married), along with Liz as the backbone, became a dominant force on the local music scene. Steadily, Hex have been mesmerising audiences at live shows, establishing their own cult of Hex fans. This steady rise saw them scoring support for The Kills, and more recently, Dinosaur Jr.

Their music often cites references to Black Sabbath, early ‘90s Riot Grrrl music and folk tradition. There’s a kind of summoning that happens at their live shows, a transformation to a higher place, leaving you feeling empowered, yet dark, having been completely possessed by their music and their aura.

Kiki and Merlyn

Kiki and Merlyn Photo: supplied

But that's not the only thing that happens at their live shows. Kiki has a way of creating a safe and enjoyable space for everyone involved, both demanding and charming, she confronts you with issues on abortion, sexual assault and women’s rights. Earlier this year I found myself amongst the sweaty, heaving crowd at their stand out performance at Camp A Low Hum NY.  After their first song, Kiki stopped and said “I want all the short people to come forward and stand in front, all the short people at the front!”. For the first time ever, my usual eye rolling pet hate for tall people at the front, blocking the view for everyone behind them, was being highlighted and honoured by someone else.

Hex let us know they won’t be bystanders in this social and political climate and highlight the issues of injustices and inequality in the music scene, reminding us all there is still so much work to be done.

Now with a lineup change, Jason Erskine fills the gap that Liz Mathews left, but Kiki is quick to point out for us not to worry - “He hates the Patriarchy too!” - which reminds us that, music transcends all genders and politics. Jason was already a friend of Hex, as he mixed and mastered their EP ‘Calling to the Universe’. He also recorded and mixed their upcoming album, ‘The Hill Temple’ which is due out later this year.

Hex at RNZ

Hex at RNZ Photo: Jana Whitta