Interview: The Rex Complex
Meet The Rex Complex – one of the most original four piece bands in Bushwick. Their performance is a wild ruckus, an audio exercise that pumps and stirs you to get right up and join the fun.
The music school friends (Berklee, MA) have been together since 2006. After gigging the Boston circuit for a few years, Jeremy tells me they wanted “to switch it up.” They needed stimulation and having already played New York before were naturally lured by a city as bubbling and brimming with energy as both their creative sensibilities. In 2009 they arrived in Bushwick and settled at The Loom on Knickerbocker & Flushing.
Since then The Rex Complex has played a host of area locations, including The Cave Festival at Shea Stadium, and Good Friend Electric’s Reinvasion this spring. They financed a one month tour through Kickstarter in March of this year, hitting 20 cities in the Midwest and along the East coast. And for a while they took up a brief residency at Café Orwell on Varet (courtesy of Valerie Kuehne and The Super Coda).
Currently on the roster for Young Cub Records, The Rex Complex released their debut full length titled A Delicious Victory last fall. The album was recorded in a school house in the Berkshires, and mastered by Danny Bloom of Good & Evil Productions.
Rex and Jeremy are two friendly and chilled out guys with eclectic tastes and positive vibes. I spoke with each separately, but it wasn’t hard to see how the two could mesh well. The band’s name is a testament to that much.
See, Rex’s first name isn’t Rex. Rex is his middle name. And his father’s middle name, and his grandfather’s middle name. And he got it from Elsie Rex, a great aunt. It was Jeremy who’d decided this name situation was in fact a “complex.”
Talking with the guys was easy. After seeing them live, and flipping through the photos on their Facebook fanpage, I already knew this was a silly pair. There’s no pretense here, just raw, live, honest expression.
A jolly combination of observation and process, their sound has been described “voodo psyche-blues.”
Both Rex and Jeremy cite Micachu as a current influence. Their inde peers, Railbird and Cuddle Magic have also left marked impressions. Jeremy lists The Band, Mr. Bungle, Miles Davis, Apex Twin, (and a wide breadth of acts I’ve never heard of) for influences. As he puts it, “There aren’t new chords…but there are still new sounds and textures…”
Hussman’s list include Johnny Cash, Otis Redding, Bill Withers, The Clash, and Iggy Pop & The Stooges. He tells me his musical ambitions are to “learn a lot of songs by people I like.” I ask when he first knew it was music for him. “I was two years old,” he tells me. He’d heard the Aardvark song on Sesame Street, and had to recreate it. His attempts were made on a plastic drum.
Though the band has plenty love for the DIY experience. One highlight from this Spring’s tour was a stop in Austin for SXSW, where they played Sam’s BBQ. The gig was a last minute find. They hadn’t really had anything lined up for the stop, but kept hearing that Sam’s BBQ wanted performers.
Sam welcomed them to his shop, powered up the generator and let the boys have at it in the backyard. Hussmann says he enjoys the freedom DIY spaces allow. (Though I’m sure he’d take his liberties in any location.)