The Hellblinki Sextet
Metro Spirit   09.30.06

Sextet in Flux
Drop the "band" label from now on; Hellblinki Sextet is something vastly different. Andrew Benjamin's brainchild still plays music, sure, but the demented, gothic collective has a lot more in common with a travelling stage play at this point: a revolving cast (Benjamin is the only origional member that still plays every show), a penchant for the dramatic (see a Hellblinki show for details) and thick shadowy elements adhering to a theme that seems to stretch directly from Benjamin's own dreams.
At this point, it's like he's the script - the constant - and whatever assortment of musicians that are joining him are the actors, sticking loosely to that script while adding their own unique performances.
"It's not so much sharing the vision that's important," says Benjamin, "It's finding people that are capable of sitting down and doing it fairly easily.  At this point point people have to be of a certain level and capability to just jump in and play. And of course, they have to have at least some affinity for the music."
Benjamin says that he's still rotating members in Hellblinki Sextet, even more so in fact, since moving from Augusta to Asheville, NC. But that's not a result of the move, which left his old bandmates here in Augusta, nor is it an effect of of a more fertile pool of musicians in Asheville.  It's just in the Hellblinki creedo: musicians will revolve in and out.  It's just the way it's always been and it's starting to have an effect on the music.
In just what ways Hellblinki Sextet is changing, and to what degree, however, will be revealed when Benjamin and Co. make what will probably be it's final Augusta appearance of '06 this Saturday, Sept. 30, at The Soul Bar.  It's not so much that Benjamin is being coy and witholding what his show will be like; full disclosure of what will be seen at the show might imply that he knows everything that's going to happen.
At this point plans for the new album are similarly up in the air.  So far, all Benjamin knows is that it will probably be out by Spring '07 at the latest and that will be on par with the conceptual nature of his previous two records, 200's Self-Titled Debut and 2004's "A Pirate Broadcast."
"I like the idea of a record being a singular piece, made up of these little vignettes that are the songs," says Benjamin. as for what listeners can expect the record to actually sound like, Benjamin adds, "Right now, it's kind of a skeleton, the songs being the bones.  Things are continually getting hung on that framework and it's continually changing."
By all rights, Hellblinki Sextet could've dissolved by now.  Between the move three hours north, the start of a new family and a general shift in lifestyle, Benjamin has certainly been through enough to break up a lesser group.  It's at this moment, however, that the utility of the revolving cast comes into view.
"it's what I do," says Benjamin. "I'm a lifer. Hellblinki's my job, and I'm not gonna fire me and I'm not gonna quit on me."
-Andy Stokes