Hex Volume One
Artist: Loot the Body
Released: June 4, 2021
Available at: Bandcamp $6
We get a lot of requests for reviews here at Rolling Boxcars. Most are for roleplaying games for us to review. Though once in a while, we get a request for something adjacent. These adjacent topics to the hobby of Roleplaying are the ones I enjoy the most. When we received the request to review Hex Volume One by Loot the Body, I was first in line to cover it.
Note: Loot the Body provided review material to Rolling Boxcars for this article. If you have an item you’d like Rolling Boxcars to review, please visit our Product Review Request page.
Hex Volume One is the latest musical release from Loot the Body, a one-man musical band that draws lyrical inspiration from science-fiction/fantasy themes from Appendix N and old-school Dungeons and Dragons. When preparing for this article, I found little information about Loot the Body, so I decided to contacted Levi Nunez, the brainchild behind it to, learn a little more about him and his project.
RB: Who is Loot the Body? How and when did it form, and why?
Levi: Loot the Body is a one-man band formed by me, Levi Nunez. I’ve been playing in bands with varying degrees of success for most of my adult life. After my last band broke up I found that I needed an outlet for my creativity/songwriting. This coincided with an increasing obsession with old school D&D/Appendix N. It seemed to make sense to group my two obsessions into one. Thus Loot the Body was born.
RB: I would assume you’re a gamer, can you confirm this?
Levi: Yes, I am a gamer, though I was just starting my journey into gaming when I started Loot the Body. I have been in a bi-weekly game for a while now and at the time I was DMing a game as well.
RB: When did you start? What do you like to play? Where are you now?
Levi: My fascination with RPG really started as a kid with the Appendix N side of things. I love classic fantasy and sci-fi. My brother played, but I was not allowed to hang with him and his friends (typical older brother stuff). I did love the cartoon (Dungeons and Dragons), but as a kid, I did not play. Also, the books themselves looked too much like math. It didn’t seem like something I could teach myself. That changed when I walked into my FLGS and found that these games were now more accessible. I had the disposable income to actually buy them. There were lots of online resources and communities to help you learn on your own and connect with players. The products themselves were more friendly to people looking to learn on their own. I’ve really only been playing for 6 or 7 years.
I’ve run 5E, Mouseguard, and Dungeon Crawl Classics. I stopped running games with the pandemic and have yet to resume. In my other gaming group, we switch games. So far we’ve played Forbidden Lands, Alien, The Yellow King, a Heroic RPG, and probably a few others I can’t recall. Currently, we are playing Tales from the Loop and I’m enjoying that quite a bit.
RB: What inspired you to write songs with a D&D theme?
Levi: I was teaching myself how to play and how to DM. My head was filled with all this info and songwriting is just something I have done for years. Both of these interests collided and somehow it made sense. Not sure if it makes sense for anyone else.
RB: Do you think you’ll branch out and write songs about other games?
Levi: Probably, not all my songs are specific to D&D. I do have songs about fantasy and RPG-adjacent themes. Also on my first release, I have a song about the Conan story Tower of the Elephant. But lately, I do seem to have landed squarely on old-school D&D territory. I don’t want to get to a place where I’m just running down a list of D&D stuff and forcing myself to write about them. So far there’s plenty of inspiration but I expect that will change. Hopefully, it won’t stray too far from what people like to hear from me. More than songs about games, I think it’s fair to say I’ll be writing about sci-fi and fantasy for a while… whether it’s specific to a game or not.
RB: What style of music and artists inspired Loot The Body’s sound? How would you describe it?
Levi: There’s something about the intersection of early prog, psych, and metal that seems very D&D to me. That’s usually the type of musical inspiration I draw from. Bands like Genesis, The Beatles, Hawkwind, Iron Maiden Black Sabbath, ELO … I’m also a big fan of the Elephant 6 bands like Neutral Milk Hotel, Apples in Stereo, and Olivia Tremor Control. I have influences beyond that but mostly that’s the kind of vibe I’ve been going for with these songs. Although I do plan on keeping it musically interesting and that will undoubtedly bring more influences out.
I usually describe it as psych-rock… but I’m not sure how accurate that is.
RB: What do you feel is the best song you’ve ever released and why?
Levi: I don’t have a favorite but when I look at my streams and YouTube views it seems like my song Caught in a Gelatinous Cube off my first release Random Encounters has really connected with some people. For one reason or another, that seems to be the most popular one so far.
RB: You’ve released two other albums Random Encounters and The Barrier Peaks Songbook. How were they received by audiences?
Levi: I sort of came out of nowhere for some folks so the response was next to nothing at first but I’m glad to report that it has been steadily growing. A big part of this is aided by the videos I release. Each song gets a video on my YouTube channel. Most of the feedback I get is positive. And most importantly, it seems genuine, from gamers who get where I’m coming from and feel inspired by what I’m doing to some degree. These are people who don’t know me at all. They just evaluate the music, that means a lot to me.
RB: What special place does the Expedition to the Barrier Peaks hold for you to create an entire album around it? Will we see other albums themed on one adventure?
Levi: I didn’t set out to write a concept album at first but I found that I just kept going back to it so I decided to set those songs aside when I had enough I released them together. I’m a fan of concept albums so that idea was appealing in and of itself. Plus the retro sci-fi vibe is just so evocative of Space 1999 and Battlestar Galactica or wonderfully crappy B movies like Star Crash. The songs just sort of flow. The songwriting process for that was very much like the DM prep process where you read and prepare encounters and you try to find a voice or personality trait for each adversary. I am open to writing another concept album but so far none have really jumped out at me. There are some larger adventures like Against the Giants that would sort of need their own album. Not sure if I’m up for that yet. But who knows.
RB: Will we see Loot The Body performing at a gaming convention in the future? Do you perform these sounds live?
Levi: I try not to say never but I sort of doubt it. In all the bands I’ve been in I’ve never been the lead singer. Though I do sing all the vocals and play all the instruments for Loot the Body, I don’t have that lead singer performer personality. I’m much more comfortable in the studio and letting the videos create the visuals. I have interacted online with people who like the music and I would love an opportunity to thank them IRL. So maybe a convention sometime … but I don’t know that I have it in me to do a whole performance.
RB: What is next for Loot The Body?
Levi: I’m currently releasing videos for the songs on Hex Volume 1. So far I’ve released White Plume Mountain and Ravenloft. Tomb of Horrors is coming up next on Friday, July 2. These video releases will probably go for the next few months. Hopefully, they will help folks find the music. If enough people buy the album on Bandcamp I’ll be able to release Hex Volume 2. So far that’s looking likely. I’m also working on a homebrew project that will have a music and gaming component. After that, who knows!
I want to take a moment and thank Levi for taking the time to answer my question and giving us insight into his creative endeavor. As mentioned above, Loot the Body has two other musical albums available, Random Encounters and The Barrier Peaks Songbook. Both are found on Bandcamp, along with his latest Hex Volume One. If you prefer visual stimulation with your music, Loot the Body has a collection of music videos on Youtube for you to enjoy. I enjoyed them immensely, and I think you will too. Levi is rolling out more as time goes by, so check back often.
Hex Volume One by Loot the Body is a magical musical collection. Its adventure themes set to psychedelic rock, progressive proto-metal, and 60’s-era pop style music is the perfect inspirational music for prepping games, exciting your players, or anytime you just want to immers
ive yourself into a fantastical world. Please give Loot the Body a listen and show Levi some support if you like what you hear.