With a sound that defies expectation, heavy hitting British quartet VEXED are here with their furious and fast paced debut record, ‘Culling Culture’, that includes the crushing breakdowns of ‘Ignorant’ and ‘Hideous’, and a brutal performance from vocalist Megan Targett.
We caught up with Megan and the band to talk about the new album and what it was like to release new music during a global pandemic.
DP!: How are you feeling going into the release of ‘Culling Culture’ this month?
Vexed: Mixed emotions is an understatement. We’re all SO excited but also super nervous purely because of how much work has gone into this. We’ve been working so hard for so long, to the point our whole lives have become intertwined with this record. I think that’s why there’s naturally so much anxiety that comes with this release. These tracks mean so much to us, and we didn’t sugar coat a single second, so the idea of broadcasting them to the entire world is such a big thing for us. To be honest, we’re just so excited for people to finally hear what we’ve been working so hard on. This really has been a long time coming.
DP!: We’ve heard the singles ‘Misery’, ‘Epiphany’ and ‘Hideous’, why did you pick these tracks? Do you think that they represent the album as a whole?
Jay: I think our single choices give a really diverse taster of what’s to expect with ‘Culling Culture’. We put a lot of time into making sure each track captures a different vibe to the last. I personally would’ve been happy with releasing any of the tracks on the album as singles, but I think these tracks in particular do a good job of building up the hype a bit more. Still though, I think certain tracks and sections on the album will take people by surprise – the singles are teasing what’s to come, not summarising the album.
DP!: The record responds to the social phenomena of public ostracism in “cancel culture”. What were the influences behind this?
Megan: The album really isn’t so much about cancel culture, but more so taking inspiration from cancelling people from your own life. When we started VEXED, I decided to cut ties with anyone who brought me pain or negativity. No matter how deeply they were connected to me. Having a small circle of friends around you who love and support you is so important and healthy. We wrote these songs about all of those people and so decided to call it ‘Culling Culture’ as a personal nod to cancel culture, but focusing specifically on the negativity from our own lives.
DP!: How does it feel releasing an album during a worldwide lockdown? Did you consider delaying the release like some other bands have?
Vexed: Annoyingly we did have to delay the release quite significantly, almost a year in fact! We were only a couple months away from releasing our first single ‘Hideous’ when the whole pandemic kicked off, which made it all the more frustrating knowing we had to wait so much longer. We’ve literally been itching to get ‘Culling Culture’ out in the open, so we’re so happy we can finally release it. As annoying as the setbacks were, they were super necessary, and if anything, we’re now so much more excited to release after such a long wait.
DP!: How important is music to people at a time like this?
Vexed: For most of us, if not all of us, we’ve been drowning in the stress brought on by COVID-19. The days have been bleeding into one, and we’ve either been working, or sitting around at home. I think that since we’ve not been able to socialise and enjoy life as much, music has been such a crucial means of escaping, and breaking up the painfully mundane lockdown life. It kind of allows us to go back to pre-pandemic times, while reminding us that the good times are on the horizon. For me, music has either been bringing back sick memories, or making me think stuff like “this new release is sick, I can’t wait to see it live after the pandemic.” I guess it’s also encouraged people to stay creative and inspired. Put it this way – when all our shows got cancelled it was super hard for me to find the motivation to keep my playing tight, it was purely down to jamming out bands’ lockdown releases that made me want to keep playing.
DP!: How have you guys been keeping busy during lockdown?
Vexed: We’re incredibly fortunate to have signed with Napalm Records before the pandemic happened. This meant that we could get all the official information and documents needed for working and so we’ve kept busy by focusing on our music videos. They gave us something positive to focus on as well as being able to meet up and pretend that everything is normal for a while. Making good music videos is difficult enough in a normal world, so the challenge of trying to produce videos for a debut album, in the midst of a global pandemic was insanely difficult. However, the finished result is absolutely beautiful and it’s all down to our incredibly talented friends at Purple Yam Productions. Adam and Rich turned something that could have been really stressful into an experience that was so much fun and positive.
DP!: What plans have you got for the rest of the year?
Vexed: We’ve just announced that we’ll be performing at this year’s Bloodstock Festival. We’re so excited to have a light at the end of the tunnel and finally have live shows in sight. Nothing else can be announced as of yet but we’re hoping that will change soon. We’ve already started working on our second album and are looking into getting a live streamed performance done soon.
VEXED‘s debut album, ‘Culling Culture’, is out now via Napalm Records.