Interview with Jarod Lawley (Vocals and Guitar)
By Jo Blackened
Photography by Graham Hilling
So we’ve just seen you play your first gig here at the Unicorn. How do you feel it went down tonight?
Going by the reception from the crowd I don’t think we could’ve asked for much more! We definitely gave it our all and I’m glad that people seemed to like it. It was definitely a privilege to play in front of such a great audience at our first show.
I understand this gig almost didn’t go ahead for you, what’s the story there?
Yes, the Southampton black metal band Verdelet was originally supposed to headline, but after they pulled out due to surgery the original gig got cancelled. Tonight’s event was thrown together last minute, but thanks to the venue I think it’s been a success and we’re just really grateful for the opportunity to play as the last band on the bill!
What have you done to prepare for this first gig especially?
Unfortunately, we’ve had about 2 months without rehearsals over the Summer as the band members have been in different places and we’ve been unable to meet. However, this week we did two rehearsals, including a massive eight hour one yesterday- which I think we are all still recovering from (laughs) but hopefully, it didn’t affect our performance too much tonight.
How did you meet the other members of the band?
I met Toby, the guitarist on my first day of university. It was one of those days where you just chat to everyone and we found out we had metal in common pretty early on! So when it came to putting this line-up together I knew he was gonna be the other guitarist.
The other two guys came by recommendation and just randomly on Facebook. Mark Cross from Dygora helped me put the rest of the line up together and recommended Caio, who he knew as the drummer of Sufferer, another London extreme metal band.
I didn’t particularly plan to have a Cello player in the band, but when the opportunity came to have Arianna in the band it seemed like something different, and she’s incredibly enthusiastic about the music, so I think it worked well!
Where did the name Hex Morbidity come from?
When the band started we were originally called ‘Undead Revenge’, but that was when we were playing old school death metal. I wanted to take the band to a slightly more melodic direction, with more atmospheres in the sound, so the name had to change.
The name represents humanity’s eternal obsession with death. It is as if we are ‘hexed’, to always have this curiosity and fascination with the macabre. And it isn’t just something that applies to people who are into heavy metal, or horror films, for that matter. Everyone is intrigued by death- possibly because it is the great unknown, and our species hates not knowing things. I believe it’s the reason people slow down to see car crashes or go on roller coasters which seem death-defying. We are all trying to catch a glimpse of the unknown.
How would you describe your sound?
Our sound, I’d say, captures a wide variety of emotions. That’s why we have aggressive, fast sections with growls and guitar solos, and then we have melancholic string parts. It’s all in us and that’s what we like to give in our music. I think our riffs and choruses are catchy enough that we don’t just appeal to black metal fans. In the crowd tonight there were death metal fans, black metallers, doom fans and even a guy who had never been to a metal show before!
Your sound is quite distinctly British, but how so when you have such an international line up?
I still write at least 90% of the music, and I think many of my influences, especially subconsciously, are British. I’m inspired by the landscape of our country, by our poets, by our musicians. Patriotism is not something I associate with, but Britain has a beautiful culture and it’s something I’ve definitely absorbed.
Furthermore, England is such an exciting place to play in a black metal band right now. There is a strong sense of community which I’ve felt part of for many years. All the bands have a good sense of camaraderie. Everyone seems set on keeping the scene alive and so many people are involved in it- whether they’re playing in a band, making cassettes, or writing a blog post. It’s very inclusive and that’s why I think it’s thriving.
So your debut EP came out at the end of last year, what have you been up to since the end of last year and when can we expect new material?
Rehearsing is what we’ve mainly been up to, but I have done a lot writing and recording too. Expect a new EP by the end of this year.
What’s the writing process like for the band?
For the most part, I write the music, and then in the rehearsal room, the others add their ideas or flourishes. However, recently I’ve been sharing some of the riff writing with our other guitarist Toby, and I think some great tracks have come out of that recently, including ‘Half a League Down the Cavernous Shore’; a new one which we opened with tonight.
What are your plans for future live shows?
So far we have no new gigs booked in the calendar, but we are very eager to play wherever we can and I urge any promoters or venues to get in touch with us! I hope we’ll be playing the usual spots in London, The Unicorn, Black Heart, The Devonshire Arms, fairly soon.
Thanks for your time tonight, is there anything else you’d like to say?
At the moment we are very keen to get back on stage and we hope to play live again in the UK soon! Thanks for everyone who has shown us support recently, we are eternally grateful!