Known by many as vocalist/guitarist for rock-fusion band 311, Nick Hexum has recently announced details surrounding his new solo-side project, The Nick Hexum Quintet, and the group’s debut release, My Shadow Pages.
Over the years, Nick Hexum has found a multitude of creative outlets. Aside from leading 311 to multi-platinum-success, Hexum has taken on the role of producer, working with acts such as Lenny Kravitz, Jason Mraz, No Doubt, Pepper, and Seal, and even producing the Gold-certified soundtrack for the film 50 First Dates.
Now, Hexum has developed an outlet for musical expressions that deviates from the heavier Alternative Rock riffs of 311. This exciting new side project, titled The Nick Hexum Quintet allows the musician to experiment in additional genres. Sounds from laid-back rock, as well as funk, jazz and pop, unified in a jam-like ensemble.
Discussing the project, Hexum told The Pier, “I wanted to have an outlet that had a different arrangement with saxophone and B3 and more keyboards and more Jazz tones. There’s no heavy anything on the entire album, it’s much more laid back, it’s more chill and funky and lighter than heavy, and you know, 311 does heavy great so I wanted to explore something different.”
Set for an October 1st release date, the 13 tracks of My Shadow Pages were recorded in Los Angeles with producer Jim Scott. The record will be distributed in partnership with INgrooves/Fontana and, Hexum’s own label, What Have You Records. The original label that allowed, a then Omaha-based 311 to independently release their first three records Dammit!, Unity and Hydroponic, before moving to Van Nuys, California and signing with Capricorn Records in 1992.
In addition to Hexum, the quintet features Nick’s guitar/sax/keyboard-playing younger brother, Zack Hexum, who has toured with Fitz & the Tantrums, performed with Michael Bublé and composes music for film & television.
Questioned about the collaboration Hexum explains, “Zach, my brother, who’s just an amazing Jazz player, and I – we’ve been putting music together here and there, kind of behind the scenes, we’ve done some work for TV and we first started thinking about having a ‘just for fun Jam band’, where we would write instrumentals just to play and stretch out, because you know, I had been working on my guitar playing a lot. Then it kind of just expanded beyond just instrumentals. And then we put a couple songs together, and I was like ‘I really want to put this out!”
Rounding out the line-up are three more talented musicians, who between them, each brings in different musical aspects from their own experiences in professional music. Drummer Gary Novak’s resume includes work with acts like Alanis Morissette, George Benson, and Chick Corea. Keyboardist Luke Miller has previously played in Funk-Jazz outfits with New Soul Underground, and Phunkelotopus. Bassist Andrés Rebellón a native Colombian, was discovered by Hexum at a Musicians Institute audition.
Revealing more about the group, Hexum continued, “We have been having these Thursday night jam nights where we would get together a group of five or six dudes, and just play. We would actually roll a dye to pick the keys, the tempos and the scales. Then just play so it would be a totally unpredicted thing each time… this group of dudes would definitely work well to play these songs live.”
Further inquiring about plans to take the quintet on the road, Hexum expressed interest, “yea I would like to, I’m just kind of taking it one step at a time. When we first put it out, we’ll see if there’s time and interest.”
Lately, hard at work with 311’s latest studio effort, we asked Hexum about the difficulty working on two different endeavors, deciding what idea goes where, Hexum clarified the collaborative process explaining, “Well you know 311 is definitely the priority, that’s our lives work, its just such a special thing we have… The Quintet stuff happened when I would call one of my song writing buddies and we would just riff from there. If I had like a really killer song I would present it to 311 first, and that’s kind of what I did. These other songs came from these new random collaborations.”
Concluding, Hexum adds, “It was just kind of a passion project, something just for fun, just for the creativity of it, and if people connect with it, then that makes making art that much more fun.”
The Nick Hexum Quintet Links:
The Nick Hexum Quintet Website
The Nick Hexum Quintet Facebook
Nick Hexum Twitter
Article By: Aaron Solomon
To listen to a preview of the first single off My Shadow Pages, check out “Blame the Sky.”