Archbald resident Andrew Merwine burst onto the local music scene in 2011 armed with a collection of hip-hop/rap tunes full of fierce lyrics and plenty of emotion.
Back then, he went by the stage name Drew Breeze, under which he released five albums. Merwine battled a “staggering” case of writer’s block over the subsequent years, and even stopped performing all the way up until 2015. After experimenting with his sound, he took some time to channel his frustrations into a new batch of songs and re-emerged as Lucas Hex in 2017.
Having just completed a four-city tour in Pennsylvania and New York in support of his new EP, “Sermons,” Merwine took some time to go On the Record about what’s different with this album and his approach to getting his music out there.
Q: You used to perform as Drew Breeze but switched your stage persona to Lucas Hex. Tell us what this name means to you, and how this change reflects you as an artist.
A: The name means more to me, because Lucas has a personal meaning as far as my family goes, and Hex fits more of my personal philosophy. I won’t pretend I’m some high priest or anything, but I’ve always had an interest in the occult and “chaos magik” specifically, so it makes sense. Drew Breeze was literally a pick out of a hat when I was a kid and had a mixtape, but no name.
Q: Who’s the biggest influence on your sound?
A: This is where people are going to hate me even more than they already do: as far as influences go, I love early Drake, and I can’t help it, it’s so catchy. I love all the obvious ones that everyone says, like Tupac, Biggie, etc., but I’m super influenced by Waka Flocka Flame, Vince Staples, Ghostemane, Slipknot and any dumb thing I’ve done before I became a settled adult.
Q: How has living in Northeast Pennsylvania affected your music?
A: Living in NEPA made me thicker-skinned to criticism, which is important. People here are willing to tell you point blank if they hate you, and people have. That helped when I started getting actual meetings with bookers, bigger blogs, etc., because they have no time to sugarcoat, and I’m already thick-skinned enough to accept a “No” or a “We’ll see down the road” and keep moving.
Q: Tellus about your new EP, “Sermons.”
A: Lyrically, you can hear me tell stories about situations I didn’t need to put myself in — in an obnoxious way — and me dealing with my own mortality. The style is hard to describe because I think it’s super aggressive, but I still tried to keep it catchy, because that’s what I enjoy. I have a beat on the album produced by Nedarb, who’s worked with Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, Ghostemane, Lil Peep and a ton of others — which might not seem like much to someone on the outside, but it’s a big deal, and it’s awesome.
Q: Describe Lucas Hex live on stage.
A: Live is where I thrive. There was a long time when my recorded songs didn’t translate as well live, which I finally think I fixed with “Sermons.” But all I can say is — as humble as I like to be — I truly believe if you see me live, I can convert you.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in 2018?
A: My biggest hope is more tours. Touring this year was already the highlight of my “career.” Seeing strangers’ reactions to me and buying my merch, asking where they could get my music online, all of it — and the meetings and interest that came from it — was an eye-opening experience that this thing really has a shot at happening if I keep my nose to the grindstone.
Meet Lucas Hex
Based out of: Archbald
Up next: Slam Jam Car Show & Music Festival,
Saturday, Sept. 1, 3 to 8 p.m., Seamans Airport, 65 Windsock Lane, Factoryville
Online: Visit the Lucas Hex pages on Facebook, Spotify, iTunes, bandcamp.com and SoundCloud.com or follow @LucasHex570 on Instagram and Twitter.