Revision, the second full length from Pennsylvania’s Hex Inverter, saw its release a little over a month ago. Once the album’s hooks are set, putting it down is not an easy task. It’s different to be sure, no grinding guitars or blast beats but the electronic and industrial repetitiveness layered over ambient, and at times folk, soundscapes is nothing short of mesmerizingly addictive. From “I Swear I’m Not My Thoughts” with its bombastic western flair to the drone and psychedelic folk of “Daphne” to the dark and industrious “Cannibal Eyes” the album begs repeated listens to fully wrap your brain around. We recently had the opportunity to ask Christian McKenna (vocals, keys and loops) our set of Profile questions, see what he had to say after the jump.
How did you first get into playing music and have you achieved the level of success that you always hoped to achieve?
When I was super young… one of my earliest memories in fact, I heard someone listening to Steve Miller Band while they were washing their car. I was walking to the beach with my mom. I made her stop so I could hear the end of that “abracadabra… I’m gonna reach out and grab ya” song. The tune got its teeth in me pretty good and I knew I wanted to rock from that moment on.
Many years later in school my friend Brant asked me to sing in his band. I think he asked me in chem-lab or something.
Have I reached any personal achievements? Well, I’m trying to make a record that is the perfect audio execution of what I hear in my head… I haven’t come close to this yet.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, debased and praised? If you don’t have a story please tell us any embarrassing story.
Does blowing the owner of Infernal Racket Records count as “debasing” myself to get him to put out my shitty record at the time?
Embarrassing story… A few months ago I was having dinner with a friend and I accidentally turned all the lights off in the restaurant while fishing around for the bathroom light. When I came out of the bathroom everyone looked really stressed out and the staff at the restaurant were giving me the look of death.
What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?
Great things in metal… Voivod is one of my favorite metal bands.. I read they’re making a new record and I look forward to that. I got to meet Away last year and that was super cool. I got right upfront for their gig in Philly and it was a blast. I was on a high from it for days after. My friend has a band called Slow Death and I thought that stuff sounded good. Their record comes out soonish I think. U.S. Christmas is a great band…. I’m not really sure if they’re metal. Generation of Vipers are an excellent band too.
Worst things in metal… too many copy cats. Everything sounds the same, lack of melody and when I go to see a band it feels like no one is there to actually listen to music… everyone looks exactly the same it’s so boring.
It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music? (This question is especially appropriate for you since your music is quite an outlet for your physical and emotional pains).
I don’t really do the political thing with my music. I’m passionate about my music… When I’m writing I often don’t even realize what the tune is about till years later or the meaning changes overtime. I don’t have a problem with politics in music and if someone uses it as a platform to get the word out on something they feel strongly about then more power to them.
Issues that are important to me…
I found it really odd and terrifying how the environment seemed to be so low on the totem pole with this past election. We aren’t gonna have anything to worry about if there is no planet to live on. Why haven’t we made the solar car easier to get and more affordable in this country?
More focus on mental health… I’m not a politician… It’s a shame that some of Obama’s work is going to be destroyed by Donald Dump… that’s what my sons call him… President Dump.
I’ve always voted but I have to admit I don’t think it means much. This is very negative. I don’t know.. I recycle my trash and I try and teach my kids right from wrong. Teach the children well…
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
I don’t play or make metal music do I? I don’t think my folks were thrilled when I basically dropped out of college to work on music.
What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.
I just want to make a record I’m happy with, spend time with my kids and eat at this Indian food restaurant near my house at least once a week.
When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)
I’ve been stuck on the new Beiber record called Purpose for the last year… my daughter got me into it. I like this record by this Swedish guy named Bo Hansson a lot too. He wrote it based off The Lord of the Rings. He had a few records in the 70’s. Mick got me into the Bo stuff.
Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the final publication.)
Many thanks to Christian for his time!