Author: Dope Fiend
Translation: Dope Fiend
Jex Thoth - Vocals, Keyboards
Matt Jacobs - Guitars
Brandon Newhouse - Guitars
Danny Gonzalez - Bass
Nick Ray Johnson - Drums
Mysticism, darkness and heathenism: these are the foundations of the Jex Thoth's universe, a universe that has recently given birth to a new creature called "Blood Moon Rise". Aristocrazia offer you today the opportunity to deepen its knowledge.
Hi Jex, welcome to Aristocrazia and thanks for your availability. How are you?
Jex Thoth: I'm well, thank you.
Let's take a brief step back: how did the band born? Why Totem have decided to become Jex Thoth?
We started with Black Sabbath in mind and we were all into Amon Düül II and Reverend Bizarre. When we set out to record, I never looked into the name Totem to see if it was taken. Turned out it was, so we needed a new name. Everyone involved at that time was contributing tremendous ideas but it was my vision we were executing. I wanted our new band name to reflect that so Totem became Jex Thoth.
The second part of your pseudonym — Thoth — refers to the ancient Egyptian god, to the god of "Dungeons & Dragons", or something else?
I took my name from the Egyptian God Thoth to represent harmony between worlds light and dark.
What are your musical influences and your spiritual inspiration?
I find spiritual awareness and inspiration in nature. Lately, I've been listening to a lot of weird, old psych records I found in town. I could give you a list of bands and music that have inspired me, but when I'm writing I try not to have those at the forefront of my mind in order to preserve my own voice. Of course, every time I put on one of my favorite records a part comes along when I inevitably say, man, I love that, I've got to remember that!
As I stated in the review, "Blood Moon Rise" is a true masterpiece and your proposal has become very personal. In your opinion, what are the strengths of your style?
Thank you for saying so. I think our greatest strength as a band is that we've shown we won't be boxed in. We feel free to explore new sounds.
What has changed in the way you compose from the split with Pagan Altar to "Blood Moon Rise"?
When the chance came to do a split with Pagan Alter we were over the moon. It was difficult to decide which track to use, in the end I chose "Stone Evil". I think it was a good choice. Ex-members Grim Jim and Silas wrote that one and it's still one of my favorite songs.
I believe in this last album there was a great improvement if compared with the — however beautiful — debut album. Do you agree? What do you think are the major differences between the two releases?
That's nice to hear, I always like my most recent work the best. My understanding of music has shifted and changed since then. If the self-titled album was air, than the new one is water.
In my opinion, one of the most admirable merits of "Blood Moon Rise" is to be able to build a thick Doom atmosphere without necessarily resorting to its stylistic traits. How do you manage to combine so many different musical elements and to build a sound so compact and homogeneous?
Lots of roads lead to Heavy. It's important to listen to a song once it begins to breath on it's own. I mean, a good song can be easily be destroyed, crushed under the will of it's creator, if he or she stops listening to it. I try and capture the essence of a song in mood mostly, with the most basic of instrumentation, and then see what it sounds like. In most cases, when I listen back and I feel pulled in one direction or another. The key is not to fight that on the basis that it may not be what you had planned for the song when you first conceived of it.
How important are to you the spiritual, lyrical and iconographic aspects of your proposal?
Extremely, these elements guide the musical experince.
During the last May you played two dates here in Italy. What were your impression about our country? Were you pleased with the welcome you have received here? Do you'll play again in Italy?
Italy is a beautiful country. We've met some wonderful people there, eaten delicious food and discovered great bands like Shinin' Shade and Black Oath, just to name a few. I am so grateful music has brought me here.
Are you still on tour now? How it going on the promotion of "Blood Moon Rise"?
I'm home in Wisconsin presently, we have plans to return to Europe in late October 2013.
What feedback have you received from fans and criticism around the world?
We've received wonderful support from fans from all over.
"Blood Moon Rise" has a dual personality: the most dreamy and psychedelic face of songs like "Keep Your Weeds" and "Into A Sleep", and the heaviness of other songs like "The Divide" and "The Four Of Us Are Dying". What are your favorite songs in the album?
I love all the songs individually, but even more fore the impact they make as a collection. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be "Psyar" for the killer guitar solo at the end.
When and why did you discover your passion for music?
Music has always been a part of me, since I was a little girl. As far back as I can remember, music has brought me joy.
Who is Jex in daily life?
I prefer to reserve that information for those I spend my life with.
What will be the next steps of the band?
We plan to take over the world one concert at a time.
I thank you once again for your availability, I congratulate for the immense beauty of "Blood Moon Rise" and — wishing you all the best —, I leave to you the word one last time to end up the interview as you prefer.
Thank you for the kind words. We have three shows in Italy, November 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Official dates posted on jexthoth.net and facebook.com/jexthoth. Hope to see you!