Into The Ethers, with He Whose Ox Is Gored

I’m a dark individual with a heart of gold and I need to tell you about a band that is out there killing it and doing it their own way. A band that stands out from the rest of the pack would be: He Whose Ox Is Gored. Don’t let the name scare you away; this band has been on the Seattle music scene for three years now. Dare I say a staple of what Seattle continues to provide for people who love music. A dark, brooding band that crosses a few genres, but you could ultimately chalk up as an instrumental/doom metal hybrid fueled by beer! If you have ever listened to Isis, M83 or Torche, you will no doubt like HWOIG.

HWOIG caught my eye one drunken night and I’m ashamed to say I don’t know where I was, or how I got there. But the name, of all things to remember, was there early in the afternoon in my subconsciousness when I finally woke up. So I found them on MySpace (yes, this was over three years ago!) and gave them a listen.

Memories flooded back to me of the show and I was hooked. I read up on them, found them on YouTube, and watched them market themselves through a viral campaign dubbed  OXscan 2.0, were one can walk the streets of Capitol Hill and find their 2D barcodes for free music, or for a price of your choosing to support touring, recording costs, and of course beer money! Before I knew of such great places like Bandcamp, I was stuck going to my MySpace page and listening to them.

It would take a move to Houston, the overwhelming sense of homesickness and a what-the-fuck-have-I-done for me to really start plugging myself back into the Seattle music scene. Luckily there are great guys like Nik Christofferson “theseattlerockguy,” who writes, reviews, promotes and takes splendid lo-fi video of some amazing bands. (I may plug Nik a lot … Because he kicks so much ass in the department “Of Kicking Ass.”)

Diving deeper into my own personal abyss, I made a conscious effort to reach out and find myself a little slice of home. I immediately started out with a search for HWOIG, and their Bandcamp came up. I listened and felt a wave of nostalgia; I listened for over an hour, drinking, reminiscing and bought their EP, OPS AMPS II: Into The Ethers. Not 30 minutes later I get an email from Brian, their guitarist, singer and “Rage Coach” thanking me for buying the EP. We emailed each other back and forth for the next hour, talking about music, the hardcore/punk bands I had played in that I’m almost positive no one will ever remember (the Internet was not on my side in the late ’90s, early 2000s), and bringing me up to date with what was in the near future for HWOIG.

The day after I started contributing/writing for Hearingade, I knew I wanted to show you, the readers, a taste of some of my favorite bands. I also thought how great it would be to contact these bands and get interviews with them. So that is what I have done. I caught up with BrianOX as his band was touring the west coast. We emailed each other every other day and he answered my questions. Welcome to the mind of HWOIG certified “Rage Coach” Brian McClelland …

You are in the midst of a west coast tour. As far as the line up is concerned, who is on the road with you, and give me a brief bio/description of your role in HWOIG.

This is BTOWN (Brian OX). I play guitar and sing, and I started the band with our synth player/vocalist Lisa about three years ago. We just added our good friend Mike Sparks (By Sunlight) on bass and our new drummer JC for this tour.

I’ve seen some new video footage on YouTube with Mike playing and I got to say the man kills it! Great tone and an amazing stage presence. Watching what I could see of JC, that man destroys a kit. How has the tour been with the new editions?

It’s been great so far. Our new team is killing it. All of the shows have had great energy, and we’re already working on new material. It’s always funny getting used to new players and personalities, and the road is the best place to do that sometimes, haha. This tour has been awesome between meeting rad new bands and finally getting into the swing of things with booking.

Speaking of booking and marketing, HWOIG uses many facets of technology to promote the band. Between the Internet and OXscan 2.0, how has the feedback from the fans been? 

Great. We’ve always been extremely DIY at heart and we’ve tried to embrace as much social media to spread the Gospel of OX as possible. OXScan started with a smartphone app called Stickybits and moved to the more universal QR code reading Red Laser app. It’s been a great way to track demand and release tracks independently. From Facebook insights letting us track our fans’ interaction, to Square, which lets us take credit and debit cards at our merch table, we’ve always tried to embrace technology and stay ahead of the curve. We’ve even released some brand new secret shit that people are catching up to…

Brand new secret shit! Can you explain a bit more for the Hearingade readers? Everyone loves a good teaser! Well at least I do …

Haha, well if I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret.

Well touché, Brian, you can’t blame a guy for trying. You just finished your West Coast Tour, now you’re back on familiar ground and just played at The Black Lodge. I know back in my touring days, going back home to play the last show of the tour is a real sense of accomplishment. I assume being back home invigorated you and the band.

Yeah, definitely. It’s always rad to come home to a rager with your friends. Especially now, since we just got to load our gear into our living room and pass out, haha. It was the perfect end to an awesome tour.

You just had a 12″ split with InAeona and a release TBA with They Are All Dead. As a collector, I was very excited to hear you’re putting out some vinyl. Is this something fans can look forward to?

Yeah, totally. Our split with InAeona is the first of many vinyl releases we have scheduled. There’s a 7″ in the works for early next year with a band we’re very excited about, but it’s still in the works, so I can’t say who, haha. And of course we’re working on our first official full-length, which we should have out next year, that will be available on tape, vinyl, and download. Our plans for physical releases from now on is just to provide the coolest shit around. We don’t really want to offer CDs anymore, nobody really gives a shit about CDs in my experience, you know? There are plans to re-release our Nightshade EP on a limited edition 3″ CD, but mainly we want to offer fans something really unique and exciting, and vinyl and tape seems to be more involving.

Well, you heard it here, HWOIG is building momentum, meeting the demands of its fanbase through technology, and doing things their own way. I count Brian and Lisa as friends through the Internet and can’t wait to meet them this spring and get in on the “Rage” and see them live (again, I plan on remembering this time at least).

HWOIG will be returning to the road this spring, traveling back to Austin, Texas, for the 2012 SXSW Festival. Keep your radar on for shows near you and make sure to check out their Web pages for news and info. If you’re in the Seattle area, go check them out. They are awesome people and their music is badass!

Check out some of the newest tour footage from HWOIG on YouTube and follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

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