Smile Politely

Ex Hex: “The tour is all that matters”

I woke up sick and made myself some tea before my first ever phone interview. I was able to talk to Mary Timony of Ex Hex before she left for their first major tour. We talked about her band mates, Betsy Wright and Laura Harris, as well as their favorite little punk spot in DC, Black Cat. Dante Fernando, the owner, has been a friend of Timony’s since she was 15. He “supports local music” in what I would describe as a hub for youthful punk enthusiasts.

As Mary Timony describes her band mates, I realize my prejudice against punk bands. (I don’t get the music at all and the aesthetic has never appealed to me.) The women she’s talking about sound really great, to be perfectly honest. Betsy Wright plays bass for the band but is trained on the piano in classical and jazz styles. Laura Harris, as Timony describes her, is the funny and smart drummer with a good ear. Timony says she learns about new music from Harris. As for the lead guitarist, when asked to describe herself, Timony simply says, “I don’t know. Leads on guitar is my favorite thing.”

Mary Timony went to high school and college in the 80s. She grew up listening to punk in DC, and that “hardcore scene” had an impact on her. “Riot Grrrl and Bikini Kill and all that.” When asked what made punk interesting to her, Timony responds, “People are drawn to different aesthetics. They’re drawn to different things.” So it is what it is, it seems.

Ex Hex has traveled to the southwest and back to play, but they are now on their first major tour. Timony enjoys playing anywhere from small towns to big clubs in New York. “As long as the club sounds good, I’m fine.” Ex Hex plays their “short, pretty poppy songs” to more excited crowds in small towns, whereas their “fast and loud” music is received by a possibly more jaded group, she muses. One thing is certain about any of their shows: the female trio has “a lot of fun playing.” They “enjoy playing and hope it translates” in their stage show. When I ask Timony what her road trip must-haves are — besides instruments and gear — she has a hard time coming up with anything. “The tour is all that’s important,” she says, but she admits to needing a sleeping bag and phone Tetris to turn her brain off. She’ll throw in an autobiography about Mötley Crüe for the van.

Ex Hex will be at Pygmalion Festival on Sunday the 28th with American Football, Deafheaven, and plenty of others. Grab your tickets here.

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