Having just released their new EP “no way out”, The Hissy Fits were nice enough to field some inquires concerning the new work. It’s an unpretentious effort anchored firmly by singer Mary Jane Malice’s visceral vocal approach and accentuated by the convulsive playing of guitarist Rex Bonney who departed from the band in the latter stages of recording. Sweating on stages across Hampton Roads for a few years now, the Fits are a rock band worth seeing live.
757E: Clocking in at only 17 minutes in length, more than half of the songs on your new six song EP “no way out” are under three minutes. Was this a calculated move when writing the EP? Was your intention to write a body of work that was dashing- to steer clear of anything too plotting?
Mary: Every song is a story. We don’t believe in dragging shit out more than it needs. The songs and the EP are short, sweet, and to the point.
Logan: When we wrote these songs we didn’t have the format of the release in mind. When we chose the songs out of our set to include in the album we wanted to include some older favorites of ours as well an equal slow song / fast song dynamic. The most important thing to us at the time was to release a good recording and the collaboration with Ross and Cody at Harrington Labs.757E: Is it fair to say that Mary Jane Malice’s lead vocals on much of this EP oscillate between lissome, melancholy laden singing and eruptions of raspy wails drenched with the immediacy of agony and anger?
Mary: Totally fair, the vocal range from Mary Jane Malice on this EP will shock and move you.
Logan: Yup… you basically described verbatim what happens vocally on the record.
Jenni: Does a pimp carry a knife?
757E: Does Mary Jane have any noteworthy vocal influences that have informed or influenced her vocal approach?
Mary: My vocal influences are purely emotional with a twist of drugs.
757E: Lyrically is there a consistent theme carried through the EP or is it a collection of songs independent of one another?
Logan: We didn’t have a theme in mind when we wrote the songs but they were all written around the same time so they share similar influences.
Mary: If there was a theme, I’d say it’s my interactions with every day life, highs and lows, and the struggles that come with that. No way out is a good way of summing it up.
757E: As the backbone and rhythm section of the band, how do Logan and Jenni go about finding a fusion with one another. Is it a more an improvisational process or a meticulous one?
Jenni: Very improv. When writing new songs, we usually jam through the basic song idea a few times trying out different things and then it’ll just click. Our rapport and ability to adapt and keep the process fairly simple… It’s kind of like magic or a Jedi mind trick, but it’s called communication.757E: Rex Bonney is cited as playing lead guitar on this EP and until recently was a member of the band. How substantial was his contribution on lead guitar to this EP? Was Rex’s departure amicable? Might we see Logan as she did on track 5 of the Ep, “Crazy Jane”, more involved with guitar for the band in the future
Logan: Rex’s contribution was very thorough. He is a very thoughtful and emotional guitar player and we had a good time expanding our songs with him as well as playing shows for the time he was with the band. We remain friends and wish him well with his future musical endeavors. The possibilities are open as far as anyone’s future lead guitar playing with the fits. I may contribute again on the recordings, but I plan on remaining on the drums for the live shows.
757E: What was it like working with Cody Dickover and Ross Guthrie at Harrington Labs on the recording and mixing process of this EP?
Mary: FUCKING AMAZING! Cody and Ross are down-to-earth guys with a good ear for rock and roll and the gear to make it. They’re good listeners, patient, and have great direction. I can’t say enough good things… so supportive!
Jenni: They were total dolls to work with! Most of the album was recorded in two days and they kept us moving in the right direction. I think they really captured the sweet and sour we were looking for and helped us achieve the cohesive, yet raw sound we intended.
Logan: Best time I’ve ever had recording music hands down. Ross and Cody both have unique styles that compliment each other and nurture a good creative environment that help keep the recordings sounding alive.
757E: What is in store for the Hissy Fits in the future? Any plans for touring or a new release following No Way Out?
Jenni: Plans for touring are in the works. We have our eyes set on a small east coast tour late summer/early fall and we are currently working on new songs.
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757E Zine is a bi-monthly music, arts, and culture magazine dedicated to local musicians and artists who are not afraid to push boundaries. 757E Zine doesn't strive to be "safe" but rather in touch with what is new and unique in Hampton Roads music and art.
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