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Hydrogyn - Interview

  by Peter Allison

published: 22 / 8 / 2008

Hydrogyn - Interview


Peter Allison chats to vocalist Julie and guitarist Jeff Westlake from West Virginia-based hard rock band Hydrogyn about their just released sceond album, 'Deadly Passions' and hopes to tour Europe.

'Deadly Passions' is the just released second album from the female fronted Hydrogyn. It is a surprisingly good hard rock album which combines excellent guitar work with catchy lyrics, and promises to be the breakthrough release the group, who were formed in West Virginia, richly deserve. Despite having enjoyed moderate success in America with their 2006 debut album, 'Bombshell', which like 'Deadly Passions' was produced by legendary producer Michael Wagener (Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper), they are not as well known in Europe as they deserve to be. Pennyblackmusic enjoyed the chance to chat with vocalist Julie ("just Julie") and guitarist Jeff Westlake to find out more. PB : You have both recently released 'Deadly Passions' and have completed an American tour; my first question: How are you all feeling ? Julie : I think we feel great. It was a good tour ; well actually a great tour to be honest. The first of many legs for this CD that will take us well into 2009. It is all great and we are having a great time. PB : How did Hydrogyn form ? Julie : Well it started in 2003 with Jeff Westlake and our other guitarist Jeff Boggs. I was brought into the picture at the last minute, literally (2 weeks before a scheduled gig) in January of 2004. That is the official formation of the band. The guys had a band together ; just a cover band and I had to learn 40 songs in 2 weeks. From there people started picking up on it and before you know it we had decided to go original and we had Pepsi and Budweiser jumping on board with us not too mention others including Michael Wagener and one thing led to another and here we are today. PB : Who were your childhood influences when growing up ? Did these affect your musical career ? Julie : Honestly there are none. I grew up in a religous home so there was no rock and a little country music. It was not until I met these guys that I had even heard AC/DC, Dio, Ozzy, Judas Priest and so on. So there was no real influence on me at all. Now for the guys they were all fans of the before mentioned people and more so they had it, but I came into this totally new and I think that has been a good thing. Jeff : I totally agree with Julie on that. I think her freshness made a big difference in our material and her fresh interpritation also made big statements as well. PB : 'Deadly Passions' seems to have a core theme of relationships. Would I be remiss in assuming this ? What was the inspiration of 'Deadly Passions'? Julie : Well, it is funny. I had the entire concept or theme for the CD right at the end of the 'Bombshell' CD. I had the idea for the cover and name so the guys wrote from that point on. The CD is all to do with deadly passions. That can be sex, drugs, bad relationships, addictions, loss, self esteam, gluttony, you name it and, if it a deadly passion, then it is included in the CD. We see it all the time all around us on the news in everyday life so we decided to take the CD title and be thematical with the songs. No, a concept but thematical. Some of the songs are about relationships... none that are about me or any one else in the band but they are based on true real life people and events that we know. 'Your Life' is about a friend of mine who has a husband that just is not true to to her in any sense of the phrase. The title cut is about anything that has such a hold on you that you can not fight it. It doesn't matter what that might be but it has got you and you are controlled by it ( being the passion). So, it is a cool CD from a mental standpoint if you get it. If you don't then people think it is about my life or my relationships which not one thing on the CD is about. Life is really good for me right now. PB : What made you choose to do a (great I might add) cover of Alanis Morisette's 'You Oughta Know' for this record ? Julie : It was Jeff Westlake's's idea actually. We had played that song as a cover band and once we started to be an original band we dropped it. Then last year Jeff brought it back for a show we did in Seattle. The crowd flipped over it. So we took it Europe to see the reaction there and it was the same so I said I would like to do it for the CD and the band agreed. I love the song vocally and it fitted the theme of the CD so we did it. PB : Personal issues rather than current events seem to be the focus of your music ? Is this intentional, and if so why? Jeff : It is not intentional at all. It just seemed to be what was filling our days. If you look around you there is always something that is close to personal going on in your own realm that is great to write about. So many people write songs about world events and now Judas Priest have done their thing so it just seemed natural. It is funny that we never thought about the lyrical side of it. As the musicians in the band ,we said, "Wow ,Julie has delivered a great CD title" and it really gave us energy to write the music that we thought fit. Then she started putting the melodies and lyrics to it and it all just fell together. I do not think it was intentional at all on her part ... was it ? Julie : No, not at all. I just looked down one day and said, "Wow, this is all working with the CD title. Again it is not about the band at all but people we all know. Once it was done we all thought, "Wow ! How cool !" PB : 'You have some excellent lyrics on 'Deadly Passions'. It seems the music blends itself to the lyrics ? Is this true, or do you form the music first and then weave the lyrics into the music ? How do you write your music ? Julie : Thank you so much. It all starts with Jeff. The guy is a writing machine. He will work on material in his studio by himself. Then will take it to the band to work out and then they bring it to me. What is cool is that it is just an outline for me. Once I have what I want and hear in the music I take it back to the band and tell them and show them what I have in mind. From there Jeff and the guys make the adjustments to fit the needs and then once that is done I take it back again and finish it. It is a process but a great one for us and it works on my speed and that is good because I am slow. I let the music talk to me and then from there I find the topic and away I go. PB : Julie, you're following in the footsteps of Courtney Love, Sean Yseult from White Zombie, and Miss B in My Ruin; what has been the reaction so far to your rise as the next strong female icon ? Julie : Ha, ha. Nice rack. Ha, ha. No, I dont know. It seems to be good. There is alot of positive feedback and some negative but in the scope of things it does not matter. Good or bad, I will take it. I think live we are making a big impression on people and suprising them for sure. Like anything else all good things come with time and I am very comfortable with things but we are nowhere close to our height yet. The bottom line is I am not going away and neither is the band. PB : Having recently finished a tour in the USA, will you be touring the UK again soon ? Jeff : We are looking at it and want to get there very badly to play. We have our label looking at it and we are as well along with Dean our manager. We have a lot left ot do in the US as well so at the end of the day it is whatever Dean and Eric, our label boss, say as to where we go but we are ready for anything. PB : What does the future hold for Hydrogyn? Julie : More music, more touring and a ton of fun. We love what we do and we think the best is still ahead of us. We want to do this for many many more years and see the world. We are working on all kinds of stuff so keep an eye out for it on www.hydrogyn.com . PB : Thank you. Julie : Peter, you are welcome and we appreciate the time and hope to see you soon.

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Hydrogyn - Interview

Hydrogyn - Interview

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