Interview with vocalist and guitarist Jey Deflagratör
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: February 3, 2018
France has had a strong Metal scene since the early 80s with such names as Killers, Trust, Sortilège, ADX, Blasphème, High Power, Demon Eyes and many others pioneering the French underground Metal sound. All of these bands have served as inspirations for young French Metal groups just like Hexecutor, a relatively new Thrash Metal group from Rennes, Brittany, that's been around since 2011. The band not only has a true Thrash Metal sound but they also look the part with their leather costumes, bullet belts, etc.
Hexecutor's excellent debut album, Poison, Lust and Damnation, was released in the fall of 2016 by the small French label Armée de la Mort Records and it showed what this band is all about: violence, Metal and angry Thrash that begs no mercy and makes no compromises.
The Metal Crypt decided to check in with Jey Deflagratör, one of the band's founder members, who kindly shared information about the band's past and present activities...
Luxi: Hexecutor might be a new name for metal heads out there so can you tell us how the band started and what were some of the influences that drove you to put this band together?
Jey: The first song that I played with Joey was "A Lesson in Violence" from Exodus. We used to listen the Thrash classics from such bands as Kreator, Whiplash, Destruction, Sepultura and many more.
Luxi: Was it easy to find like-minded musicians to play this type of aggressive, nasty and old-school Thrash Metal?
Jey: I think that it is pretty hard to form a band, typically. I tried to gather some folks in high school but there was always someone missing to make a full lineup. With Hexecutor we had a lot of luck. I left my area and moved to Rennes and then met Joey in a bar called Le Troll farceur. Everything went smoothly since we had a lot of Hard Rock influences in common and soon we started talking about more extreme music. We really wanted to form a Thrash band. Chainsaw, who is an old friend of mine, joined us with his bass, and few weeks after I met Joey, we met Putrid in the same old bar. From that point, everything went really fast and Hexecutor was born in March 2011.
Luxi: How did you end up picking the name Hexecutor?
Jey: We wanted a one-word name that strikes hard, aggressive and violent, something that blasts, that when you pronounce it, you know that you didn't come to hear the local choir! Maybe it doesn't mean anything, or maybe we got it wrong, but we don't give a shit, and we don't regret anything. We loved the idea, but we found out that there were a lot of bands called Executor, Executer, Egzecutor, so we had to find something different. Joey suggested adding an "H" which is from the German root "Hexe" that means "Witch".
Luxi: Was it easy to start making a name for Hexecutor, first locally and then nationally?
Jey: We had to fight for it, just like many bands. Nothing came "just like that", we never made any buzz or whatever. We just grew step by step after every release, with the help of friends who hold labels (such as Impious Desecration Records, Armée De La Mort / Legion of Death Records), and by playing as many gigs as we could. We came from nowhere, we were built from nothing, so that had to take some time.
Luxi: I assume that playing gigs was one of the best ways to get Hexecutor's name on people's lips so could you tell us how these gigs have helped make the band known? Has it been any fruitful for you guys in terms of advertising the band on media platforms like Facebook, Bandcamp and so on?
Jey: We played our first gig with friends from the band Savage Blast and next, we opened for Vulcano and Manzer. We then had the luck to share the stage with Master, Vulcain, Xanadoo etc. After 10 shows, we played for the first time abroad, in Spain, and the day after that in Portugal at the Extreme Metal Fest (with Setherial as the headliners). Then it became much simpler to find gigs in France, we played with great bands such as ADX, Vulcain again, Loudblast, Aura Noir, Darkness, Hobbs Angel of Death, Interment, Minautor, Deathhammer, Necrowretch, Ranger etc. We took part twice at Motocultor and also at Fall of Summer festivals - and we will play at Hellfest next June.
Facebook and Bandcamp certainly helped us broadcast our music to a wider audience, for sure, but the best way to promote your art is to physically present it. You have to play relentlessly, as if every gig was your last one.
Luxi: As you guys come from Rennes, Brittany, with more than 200,000 inhabitants I assume you have some pretty good venues for playing gigs or am I completely mistaken about this? Can you recommend some places where I should go as a metal head tourist, in order to see some good underground Metal gigs in your town?
Jey: Haha... I had no clue about the number of inhabitants. So, there is the Mondo Bizarro, a cult venue where Roazhon Underground organizes the best Metal gigs. We also played in a cool bar call Le Marquis De Sade, definitely a rocking place with amazing bartenders. There was also the Troll Farceur that held gigs until 2013 and is now called the Jument Pavoisée. In terms of bigger shows, Garmonbozia organize the venue "l'UBU" which is a bigger place, where we saw bands such as Watain, Aura Noir, Destroyer 666, Nekromantheon and others.
Luxi: I noticed there's quite a lot of live footage available on YouTube but you haven't put out any official, professionally made promotional videos yet. You should seriously consider doing one because it's a kick-ass tool to get your band promoted in today's world of the Internet. Do you have any plans to make one in the near future?
Jey: We had a chance to make a promotional video for the release party of our first album and we loved the idea. I don't know what you mean by "professional", but in my opinion, this was just perfect. Romain (from Cadaveric Fumes) made it and we just fucking loved it. It has lots of images from films like Suspiria, Excalibur, The Devils, Conan The Barbarian... You should watch it! We are thinking about doing that again for next release.
Luxi: I noticed you use lots of leather, bullet belts and spikes onstage. Do you have a "dress code" whenever you play onstage?
Jey: Our only dress code is violence, so everything is about leather, chains, nails, bones, rock boots, roll jackets and World War II ammunition! We never wear a battle jacket with band patches on stage, because we think that this is a fan tool and it just looks like flashy colorful ugly stuff.
Luxi: Your debut full-length album, Poison, Lust and Damnation, was released at the end of November 2016 digitally and in cassette and CD formats. How happy are you with your debut album? Do you think it represents what Hexecutor is all about both musically and lyrically?
Jey: Yes, we're really happy with what we achieved. This album represents a huge amount of work over several years and we really tried to find an identity of our own. I hope that people will get what we meant to do, and it comforts me to hear less and less that we sound like Kreator or Destruction. We would love so much to sound unique that we found some kind of formula by bringing some new elements and by making the whole thing evolve. The LP format was released on November 17 by Dying Victims, we mixed the sound again a little because we were not satisfied with the original album sound. Expect something different from the CD version!
Luxi: How did you end up signing Armée de la Mort Records? Did you feel like you would fit their band roster?
Jey: We met Shaxul at our second gig (with Manzer and Vulcano, in May 2012) and he came up with the idea of releasing our first EP. Since then, we always believed that he would release the album. So, to be honest, everything followed naturally. Moreover, Fred became a great friend of ours, knowing that we shared so many drinking nights, and that Manzer is a band that we all respect a lot. There are lots of other underground Metal labels out there nowadays, but we were destined to sign with Armée De La Mort.
Luxi: How much new material have you written since your debut album came out and what can you tell us this new material?
Jey: That's a very good question. We indeed have new stuff coming up. I gathered enough riffs to make eight songs, two of them completed already. I also already wrote lyrics for 1 song, titled "Tiger of the Seven Seas", which is about Robert Surcouf.
Luxi: Do you have any plans to enter the studio soon to record an EP or even your follow-up album?
Jey: We are thinking about releasing a split this year and then focusing on the second album, but nothing is really defined yet. We will record everything with the help of a friend of ours who plays in Herzel. But no date is fixed regarding the recording sessions.
Luxi: We have had many killer Metal bands from France through the decades - Killers, Mercyless, Agressor, Loudblast, Mutilated and so many others. How do you view today's French underground scene when compared to what you had in the past?
Jey: I think that the new scene is as much devoted to Metal as it used to be back then, but the classic albums were already released back in the 80s, and this is what feeds us. We should never forget that, no one can release Final Holocaust or Neverending Destiny again. I prefer the old stuff from the French Metal scene, but I am also very happy with what's happening right now as well. I could quote Necrowretch, Skelethal, Cadaveric Fumes, Venefixion, Necroblood, Hexen Holocaust, Hurlement, Mortal Scepter, Ironslaught, Tentation, Herzel, Disfuneral, Affliction Gates, Goatspell, Destrukt and just so many more! We really have a fucking great scene in France.
Luxi: What is Hexecutor's status in the national scene? Do you believe that you have managed to cause some stir since you started back in 2011?
Jey: We're really proud about the road we've made so far. Many bangers name us as the number one French Thrash metal reference, which is really overwhelming. Even though I'll keep on saying that there never was a band playing this kind of Metal except Death Power, or any embryo of what would later become the Death Metal scene. So the spot was always open. Also, I do not mention any band playing modern shit under the "Thrash Metal" label that are galaxies away from the original style! I hope that, in our madness and violence, we shall invite people to join us in this noble style reborn.
Luxi: For those that still haven't heard Hexecutor could you give three (or more) good reasons why they should check Hexecutor out? Now your salesman's skills are badly needed...
Jey: If you like violence, melodies, French traditions and history, booze and drugs, and having your soul tortured, then Poison, Lust and Damnation is made for you!
Luxi: Thanks a lot for your time Jey and all the best with Hexecutor. Now you are entitled for those famous last words to conclude this chat properly...
Jey: Well thank you for this interview. I'd just like to thank Canada for its 80s Metal scene that brought me so much: Hail Infernal Majesty! Hail Razor! Hail Sacrifice! Hail Voivod! Hail Slaughter!!!
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