Laura Harris Speaks Up About Ex Hex Tour and Boston Music Scene


I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Laura Harris, aka badass drummer of Ex Hex, about their new album Rips, their first European tour, and how she feels about the Boston/Cambridge music scene. Who knew Ms. Harris worked at the Black Cat, the coolest venue in DC? Ex Hex will be playing a SOLD-OUT show at Great Scott in Allston on April 24, but don’t be sad you missed them—they’ll be back at the Sinclair in Cambridge June 13, at a not yet sold-out show, so grab your tickets quick. Rips is out now on iTunes and sold via Merge Records, but why not grab one at the merch table at the Sinclair?

Boston Hassle: Do you like the music scene in Washington, DC?

Laura Harris: We love DC. The music scene here is pretty diverse, which is nice. As long as I’ve been playing music here, I’ve always felt supported and inspired by other musicians here. I work at the Black Cat, which has been my hub for live music both local and not. I’ve been lucky to see 13 years of local shows at work alone. I’ve always felt like I can play music on my terms here and be supported. It’s a special place.

BH: How do you know each other?

LH: We all met a billion years ago through music really, mutual music friends. We all saw each other play with our other bands.

BH: Are there any musicians you can’t stop listening to?

LH: I’ve been listening to a lot of Thin Lizzy, like usual.

BH: How was your first European tour?

LH: It was pretty unbelievable. The crowds were so cool. We played some pretty out-there venues, ate the best food I’ve ever had, saw some great bands. I didn’t leave my bed for three days when we got home.

BH: Do you have a most memorable performance or favorite performance?

LH: Hamburg was killer! Berlin too. Stockholm was really great too. My favorite for selfish reasons was Athens. From the minute we landed ’til the minute we took off for home (which was three days) I was in heaven.

BH: Is it fun to be in a few bands or is it hard to manage?

LH: It’s fun, yeah! It’s just pretty impossible with this band. We work a lot. I barely have time to do my dishes.

BH: What do you like about playing Allston/Cambridge?

LH: The Boston area has always been great for us. That scene seems like they’ve always been real curious about new music. Open-minded and real receptive. Every show we’ve played there has been a high point.

BH: What’s the ideology behind Rips?

LH: I think pleasure was the ideal. We wanted to play songs that were fun to play from start to finish. No filler. Cut the fat.

BH: Can you describe the creative process through which you write songs and record them?

LH: With this album Mary or Betsy would bring an idea and then we would all weigh in. And then edit. And then record it. And then edit. If there was ever anything that seemed questionable we would take it out. We were editing until the end and listening to Dwight Twilley.

BH: Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

LH: Play as much as you can so long as you really really love the songs. And practice your instrument non-stop. And listen to music—go befriend someone at a record store. Hang out there all day. Invest in a good record player and buy records.

BH: Do you have a favorite venue to play at or go to shows at?

LH: I’m biased; I’ve worked at the Black Cat forever. I always loved that venue but it really wasn’t until I was touring a bunch that I really realized how great that place is. Dante treats bands so well—from hospitality to payout. He’s kept his ideals through all of the crazy changes that have happened to DC. I’ve never played a better show than I have at the Black Cat.

BH: What musicians do you look to for inspiration?

LH: Every band. All music.

BH: Do you consider yourselves feminists?

LH: Yes, totally. Of course.

—Jenny Usovicz

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