Interview: VEXED on the process and vision behind CULLING CULTURE, signing with Napalm Records and current pandemic scenario.
SICK AND SOUND is catching up with UK’s blistering foursome VEXED (Megan Targett, Jay Bacon, Al Harper, Willem Mason-Geraghty) who signed to Napalm Records and dropped their long-awaited debut album CULLING CULTURE on May 21st, 2021.
Our editor-in-chief Alex had a chat with Willem Mason-Geraghty and Megan Targett who took some time out of their busy schedule to talk about the writing process approached for blistering new record CULLING CULTURE.
We discussed the current pandemic scenario, the consequences and impact on the band’s activities alongside some suggestions and mental health tips the band shared with us to help other musicians cope during these unprecedented times. We talked about the main vision portrayed in the record and the tribute to hate, betrayal and anger reflected in the lyrical themes.
Megan opened up about the personal journey to become a metal vocalist and the mindset behind using personal experiences and pain as a creative outlet for music.
We discussed signing with Napalm Records, a few tracks off the record, future plans and more.
- Hello VEXED. It’s great to catch up with you. Before getting into the details of your crushing record CULLING CULTURE, I would like to discuss with you the COVID-19 crisis we are still globally facing on a daily basis. What kind of impact are these troubled times having on your activity in the music industry? What suggestions and mental health tips can you share to help other musicians cope during the current pandemic?
Hello, thank you for taking the time to ask us some questions!
So like everyone we have been affected by the covid-19 pandemic. At first we were a bit disheartened by the whole situation that we felt hopeless but luckily we have a great team around us who always push us and keep us motivated. We had a lot of work to do for Culling Culture in terms on content creation, music videos etc. So we were busy through our 2020 to say the least.
As for advice to help cope during these strange times we found it healthy to really focus on hobbies outside of the band. The first lockdown I felt extremely deflated about music and what we were missing out on that I couldn’t even look at my drums. I’m a keen boxer so I really focused on that and keeping healthy rather than dwell on the negatives. It’s amazing what a bit of exercise can do for your mental health. – Willem
- CULLING CULTURE is your new stellar record out on May 21st, 2021 via Napalm Records. What’s been the writing process approached this record as compared to your previous releases and how long have you worked on it?
So we technically started writing it back in 2017. It started with Misery, Aurora and Elite. We wanted to showcase who we were as a new band in January 2019 so we released Elite as we felt it was a strong start. As we started writing more we focused on doing a full length rather than doing the whole EP after EP thing that young bands seem to always do. Initially we thought we may have to self release it but as our team grew and we found our amazing management company we realised that releasing it through a label wasn’t as far off as we thought. So all in all Culling Culture really was 3 years in the making, not because we struggled to write or were lazy but because we wanted to get it right. – Willem
- CULLING CULTURE is said to be a tribute to hate, betrayal and anger. I would love to know more about the specific lyrical themes discussed and message or vision that VEXED are ultimately getting across with this record.
100%. We had a clear vision in mind and we had raw experiences to write about. We are very proud of Culling Culture but we still feel like we missed the mark ever so slightly in terms of what we were going for. The next album is going to be a spiteful one for sure. – Willem
- Congratulations for signing to Napalm Records and entering their stellar roster. What feelings and expectations are behind this massive achievement?
Thank you so much. Like any young musicians you always strive to get a record deal and tour so it’s a dream come true and we still can’t really believe it. Though we have been playing our instruments for 12+ years individually, the work has only just begun and we will continue to evolve as musicians. – Willem
- MEGAN: The control you have over your voice is unspeakable, I was impressed with the kind of harsh vocals you have. So what are your influences and what’s been you journey to become a metal vocalist?
Thank you very much, that’s really kind of you to say. I’ve spent many many years working on my technique and still feel like there’s areas I need to work on. But for the most part I really do prefer screaming to singing. My influences cover a large spectrum of genres but my journey to wanting to become a metal vocalist began when I started listening to Bring Me the Horizon and Slipknot. I loved the style of Oli Syke’s screams on their album ‘Suicide Season’ and I was captured by Corey Taylor’s rhythms and emotionally frantic annunciations. My journey has in later years expanded into other genres and I now take influences from many rap and grime artists in my vocals. But of course always making it heavy!
- MEGAN: You’re also a mental health advocate and focused on using personal experiences and pain as an outlet for music. I’d love to discuss more this inspiring approach.
I’ve always been a straight to the point type of person. I find it really difficult to try and write things in a metaphorical or ethereal way. So writing about my personal experiences in life is just natural. I suppose it’s also a way of coping. People process their emotions in a multitude of different ways whereas I’ve always found putting pen to paper the best way of dealing with it. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s fine, I’m not trying to be. But if anyone can find comfort in my words and know they’re not alone that’s all I can hope for.
- What songs do you consider to be: the heaviest, the most personal and the most experimental on this record?
We will take inspiration from any genre for starters, there are no limits so we don’t really restrain ourselves from any sounds or rhythms that we like. If you go into a song writing session like ‘yeah I’m gonna write the most heavy hateful song ever.’ Chances are you probably won’t and it won’t sound great either. It’s a complex process involving every band member and we literally write what we want.
As for which songs we feel are the heaviest… Narcissist always comes to mind, every song on this album is personal and non-fictional.
As for the most experimental I’d say Purity and Aurora. Both of those songs were completely out of our comfort zones regarding ability and vulnerability. They’re extremely raw and passionate and an insight to some dark but also positive feelings. – Willem
- What’s next for VEXED and how you guys are going about the promotion of this record?
I’d love to tell you that we’re going to tour the world but who knows! We have Bloodstock Festival in our sights for mid August and hopefully some more shows towards the end of the year. We also begun writing the second album about 7 months ago so that will keep us busy for the foreseeable future.
As for promoting the album we will just continue to keep an online presence, we have alot of things coming your way including filming a live session. – Willem
Thank you for your time VEXED, I really appreciate that. All the best of luck for the promotion of your amazing record and future endeavours. Love and support!
Thank you for giving us your time, we truly appreciate it.
VEXED – Culling Culture tracklisting:
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