Exclusive Interview: Vexed talk “Culling Culture”, Tech-Fest and vocal heroes!

Progressive Deathcore merchants Vexed are a band we’ve been waxing lyrical about since pretty much forever and when they announced officially that they’d signed for a major label in Napalm Records and were dropping a full album in “Culling Culture“, we couldn’t have been more happy for them. In the absence of shows the album is now out in the wild and we got to reminiscing with frontwoman Megan Targett about Tech-Fest 2019, our thoughts on the album and so much more in this exclusive interview. So poor a coffee, crack a beer, throw the record on and have a read of this…

When we saw you last it was in London with Glaswegian Death Metallers Godeater and a lot has happened since then! How does it feel to have signed with a major label in Napalm Records and see your bands name beside the likes of Jinjer, DevilDriver and Infected Rain? “We were actually signed to Napalm when we were on that tour! We just hadn’t announced it yet and then because of the soon to be pandemic, we had to delay the announcement by even more! It feels so strange to have finally announced it when we were sat with it as a secret for so long. Especially because we are yet to experience it for real too. Nobody knew we were signed on that tour and now that people do know, we’re just sitting at home not playing shows, so really it hasn’t properly sunk in. We can’t wait to actually live out all the moments we should have done years ago when the world allows us. There’s some awesome bands on Napalm, but honestly the one I’m most excited about being alongside is WASP. I was brought up listening to that band and so it’s a real full circle moment for me”

Having heard some of the album cuts already in the live arena and given how quickly the album has dropped after the announcement of the signing, was the record already finished at the point you inked the deal? Were you simply waiting for the best offer to come along? “We’ve had the album recorded for 2 years now. We knew we wanted to release it with a label as we believed in it so much it’s just the path we personally wanted to go down. We were fortunate to find the most wonderful management team (Tone Artists) and they sent the album out to anyone who would listen. For a very long time there was no interest and it was quite disheartening. But then suddenly there was a lot of interest and we were dumbfounded. Napalm however was the clear winner for us. They are so kind and normal and just allow us to be totally ourselves via their incredible platform”

Elite” and “Dominate” as a single pairing introduced the Metal World to your sound, so we have to ask – why were neither of those singles were included on the record? “We wanted those singles to stay in the past, as a representation of us as an independent band. That’s what we achieved by ourselves and we were so incredibly proud of that. We absolutely love those songs, but we agreed it would feel wrong to put them on an album that had, in our eyes, matured past those tracks. Letting them remain independent represents for us the proof of hard work and determination”

One of the things that is great about the album is that there is a real variety on there. It’s not just straight Deathcore, there are Progressive and Tech-Metal inspired moments as well. Did you feel like those moments were taking a risk? “We honestly felt like the whole album was a risk! But it was one we were willing to take because it was authentic to us and we had nothing to lose. After spending so many years in bands writing music that we felt like other people would like, we just wanted to write music we like. If it wasn’t accepted by people we would be okay with it because we were being genuinely ourselves”

The vocal range on show is simply incredible with Death growls, majestic cleans vocals and rap-screams all in one boneshaker of a record. How do you go about protecting your voice between recording sessions and shows to get the best from your performance? Who are your vocal heroes? “Thank you very very much! I’m a sucker for warming up and warming down before and after shows. As well as before and after rehearsals or recording. Some might say that’s overkill, but because of all the different styles I do, I have to think about the long term health of my vocal chords so I take my time with warming them up and protecting them. I’m really conscious about what I eat and drink when I know I’m going to be performing in some way. I drink SO much water and dairy, alcohol and hot foods are completely off limits. It sounds like it’s really regimental but it’s actually incredibly easy as it’s basically my normal diet, just a little more thoughtful. My vocal hero’s range so dramatically but off the top of my head I’d say Frankie Palmeri, CJ McMahon, Gwen Stefani and Cardi B!”

When we met at Tech-Fest in 2019, your performance ensured that blood, sweat and beers got spilled in front of the Fireball Whiskey stage and when we spoke after the set, you were really happy about how well you had been received. You must be itching to get back to live shows? Will the support of Napalm Records open doors for you as well as having an incredibly strong record? “Agh it’s all I think about! Like most people at the moment I just get up each morning, go to my shitty day job and come home. It feels like I’m living a lie or something haha. So yeah as soon as we’re allowed to perform I’ll be chomping at the bit to get on stage. To be honest I’ll probably cry too! I think having Napalm will definitely open lots of doors for us, but we’ve worked incredibly hard and still do work incredibly hard to make sure that does happen. The hard work doesn’t stop when you get signed, if anything, it actually gets a billion times harder. Thank you so much for saying it’s a strong record. That makes me very happy”

There maybe some who aren’t aware but you had a line up change with Al Harper joining on bass. How has his previous experience with Perception helped you, aside from him being a fantastic bassist and a beast of a dude? “Haha. Al is an incredible person, musician, businessman, friend… the list goes on. Having him join the band was a missing piece we didn’t even know we needed. He brings an element to Vexed that is so genuine and raw that I don’t think we’d be half the band we are without him. We used to love going to Perception shows and watching them tear up stages and so having those fond memories and experiences is wonderful to share. I think all of us having past bands that we learnt crucial lessons from has been really beneficial to making good decisions in Vexed”

Getting out your magic eight ball, what does the future hold for Vexed? “Shows, shows and more shows!! That’s all we would wish for. After that, I’m not sure, we just want to travel the world, play shows and meet our wonderful fans. Maybe a number 1 album at some point? Maybe? Haha who knows.”

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