You need to know Ex Hex.
True believers will recognize frontwoman Mary Timony’s name from her previously lauded project Helium and, more recently, from her work with supergroup Wild Flag. This lady is D.C. rock and roll royalty. Two other punk rock veterans, bassist Betsy Wright and drummer Laura Harris, complete this trio that simultaneous shreds while kicking out danceable tunes. Think a crunchier Blondie. Their debut album Rips is out now on Merge Records and consists of twelve punk rock gems. We caught up with the band recently, and you can read our exchange below. See them in the city from which they hail when they kick off Landmark Festival’s first day ever – Saturday, September 26 at 12:30 on the Jefferson Stage.
Landmark Festival: Ex Hex is carrying on the punk rock tradition that made D.C.’s music scene famous back in the 80s. What are some D.C. bands you all love?
Laura Harris: I loved Lungfish. Also I loved Minor Threat.
Betsy Wright: Quix*o*tic, Slant 6, Autoclave
Mary Timony: Rites of Spring, Fugazi, Grey Matter
Landmark Festival: Mary, you’ll be kicking off the inaugural Landmark Festival in the heart of the city in which you were born and to which you have contributed so much in the way of music. How does that feel?
MT: Well, thanks. It’s exciting to us to be a part of this festival on the mall where there have been so many historical events and concerts over the years. It’s a pretty amazing location. We are psyched to be included in the line up. Actually, one of the first concerts I saw was the Beach Boys on the mall when I was like 10.
Landmark Festival: What exciting things are happening in D.C. music right now?
LH: There are some great bands in the dc area. I love the Ar-Kaics. They live in Richmond but they are DC suburbs guys.
Landmark Festival: In recent years, it seems the conversation around gender equality has become increasingly prevalent. Is it exciting to see that happening or frustrating since it’s still happening in 2015, or does your outlook change depending on the day?
MT: I think there are way more women playing music in bands than there were in the 80s and 90’s which is great. We are getting to a point where there is almost no need to talk about women/ the lack of women in rock music anymore. It really is totally different than is used to be in my experience. I do wish there were more women producing records, recording records, mastering, and running record labels. But I have noticed that in a very general sense, rock music has become much less of a boys club, and more of an artists’ club, which is good for everyone.
Landmark Festival: What instrument would each of you like to learn that you don’t already play?
BW: Just trying to get better on the ones I already play – practicing everyday!
Landmark Festival: What food is Ex Hex most like: spicy nachos, cheese pizza, or late night ramen? Why?
MT: I think we are most like pizza. We taste pretty good and we have tomato sauce and cheese all over the place. Also kids love us.