Hexes & Ohs' Heidi Donnelly and Edmund Lam

Hexes & Ohs at Steam Whistle's Unsigned

Hexes & Ohs are Heidi Donnelly and Edmund Lam, a Montreal-based electro indiepop duo and real-life couple whose collaborative efforts on-and-off the stage have lasted longer than most modern rock n' roll romances. Their 2005 debut album Goodbye Friend, Welcome Lover generated a lot of buzz on the blogosphere, drawing comparisons to New Order, The Postal Service and friends Woodhands and got them spots on festivals around Canada and across the border such as the CMJ Music Marathon in New York.

After three (long) years, Hexes & Ohs will finally be releasing their follow-up entitled Bedroom Madness this September. The band is currently en route to our fair city for tomorrow night's Unsigned at the Steam Whistle, sharing the stage with Gravity Wave, Bocce and Opopo. I spoke to Edmund this morning and asked - why the bloody hell did it take so long?

Hi Edmund, when are you coming out with a second album? What's it called and how is it different from "Goodbye Lover"?

Our new album is called "Bedroom Madness" and will be out mid September 2008. We've actually had most of songs written over a year and a half ago, but we really wanted to work with specific people so it took some time to get things to come together.

The main difference with this album is the songwriting, we've gotten much better at it and learned how to write hooks and make things sound more effortless. Our musicianship has vastly improved, as well as our ear for production. The songs are more immediate, danceable and just... bigger. It must sound like we really love ourselves, we're just really proud of this one.

What has Hexes and Ohs been up to since playing all these festivals (CMJ, CMW, NxNE, etc.) - any plans to tour the rest of the country, maybe North America? I've heard you have quite a fanbase in Europe - any impending plans to promote your music across the Atlantic?

We've been writing and playing a lot of one-off shows, mostly in Montreal and Toronto. We are in the midst of booking a west coast tour for the fall, from Montreal to Vancouver, which we're pretty excited about. We would absolutely love to go over to Europe, we definitely have our heart set out on doing that in the near future, nothing in the works as of yet though.

You're shooting the video for "H-h-high School" this weekend with Toronto video prodigy Alon Isocianu (who recently did USS' video for "Hollowpoint Sniper Hyperbole"). How did the collaboration with him come about? And what's the video concept?

Our mutual friend Alice Phieu introduced us. She showed me some of his videos and him some of our music, and I think we independently realized it would be a great fit. He contacted us some weeks later and it went from there. It's going to be a performance based clip with a loose high school theme mixed in with some illustrated elements. I've done a bunch of doodles of monsters and weirdos and it will be incoporated into the video somehow.

What do you like and loathe most about playing in Toronto? Do you have any must-go/do/see TO hotspots when you're in town?

Toronto has amazing food, because there's a larger immigrant population I suppose. The sushi, in particular, is generally cheaper and fresher than ours. Everytime we're there, we make sure to have at least one sushi based meal. There's a Vietnamese Pho place near the Drake Hotel that's quite good as well. Heidi is also a huge H&M fan, so we usually try to pay them a visit when time permits.

The least favorite thing about playing Toronto is definitely the driving. We've gotten somewhat used to it by now so it's really not that bad.

Who are your fave Toronto bands?

Woodhands, vitaminsforyou, Tokyo Police Club, Crystal Castles, the D'Urbervilles

Steam Whistle's Unsigned: Indie Music Series
featuring Hexes & Ohs, Gravity Wave and Bocce
with a special DJ set by Opopo

Friday, May 30, 2008
Steam Whistle Brewing
255 Bremner Blvd.
$5 at the door

Hexes and Ohs photo by Etienne Boisvert

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