VEX on Heavy Alternative Art Rock and Villain Recording

Vex is one of those bands that commands attention whenever they hit the stage. Fitting, since their name is the very definition of evoking mystery and discussion. It's also defined as changing or "shaking up" the arrangement or position of something, and that's something Vex is all about.

The four members that make up the Phoenix band pull from a variety of artistic influences, including literature, film, and visual art, with the goal being to think outside the box, inspire, and be inspired.

See also: 15 Best Guitarists in the Phoenix Metal Scene Right Now

Vex bridges the gap between indie art rock and heavy metal, with elements like atmospheric instrumentals, catchy guitar riffs, an electric cello, and soaring vocals. Over the past few years the band has been involved in an array of things, from hosting a cancer benefit in conjunction with a Claymation music video release for their song "Road to Success," to a new clothing line ( that the singer started with a member of local metalheads Pelvic Meatloaf.

The band's debut, a concept album, Vitriolum, released in 2013, and it was a solid addition to the local scene. Currently they are raising money to record their next album, and will be playing three songs from it at their March 7 show at the Blooze Bar.

Up on the Sun talked to vocalist D.L. Christy IV about creating their album at Villain Recording, and what he hopes listeners gather from their sound.

How do you personally describe the sound of Vex to people?

We always have a difficult time describing our own sound. We typically respond with 'heavy alternative art rock,' which is some crap we invented to quickly end the misery of the awkward situation. However, we rarely hear comparisons with the same bands. People tend to hear what they want in order to create neat little compartments. We hear all kinds of interesting comparisons that we would never expect, which is fine. We hope that Vex sounds like Vex, and one should really experience the recordings as well as the live show to truly form an opinion.

Tell me about the three new songs you've recorded, and the concept of this new album.

At the risk of sounding pretentious, we respectfully decline to offer much about the new recordings. We CAN say that we will be playing the three songs we have recorded at our next show. We can also say that the new songs were recorded and produced by Byron Filson at Villain Recording. This is boner-inducing for us, because we only had the pleasure of doing a couple songs from the ground up with Mr. Filson on our first album. We brought the rest of the tracks in with all the performances complete. He breathed magick (not a typo) into each track and we went from there. This time around, we are only working at Villain and the new material sounds huge. We cannot wait to share the songs.

As for the concept of the new album, there is a plan in place. This is a slight and shadowy plan at the moment, but we will let the songs dictate the feel and direction we roll once we have a better idea of the whole. Our last album Vitriolum was modeled upon the seven steps of alchemical transformation. This probably meant more to us than any listener, and we never aim to beat anyone over the head with our esoteric meanderings. That being said, we will certainly have an interesting, yet subtle, theme for those inclined to peel layers.

What fundraising efforts have you guys done so far for the album?

We tend to take an old-school approach to our work. We have tossed around a few ideas concerning Kickstarter and avenues of that ilk; as a result, we seem to be inclined to earn our recording money through gigging and whoring merch. It may take a minute, but we have the tenacity of a stubborn turtle!

How are you feeling about those efforts?

We feel like shitty brats. We want what we want--and we want it now. We just need to be patient because we want our music to sound a certain way when we capture it for an album. Good recordings aren't cheap, and cheap recordings aren't good. We learned that the hard way. So, we stay the course unless someone wins the lottery or robs a bank.

Tell me a bit about the lineup for the Blooze Bar show.

Ebineezer and Christopher Shayne will be joining us at Blooze Bar on Saturday, March 7. We will also have THE BEST CLOTHING COMPANY on hand peddling their wares.

How do you hope all the artistic elements of Vex inspire the audience?

This is a tough question for us to answer. On one hand, as artists, we feel detached from that equation. We have to be selfish when we put together our songs, our videos, our live shows, etc. If we like it and it moves us in a profound way, then we feel comfortable performing or sharing with an audience. We put a lot of thought into what we do. We spend time cultivating ideas and ways to express them through visions and sound.

On the other hand, we are human. We want everyone to have a fucking religious experience and leave the venue wanting to make love, weave a basket, robot dance or write a novel. We receive feedback, and much like the description of our sound, the answers vastly vary. We hear words like "weird" and "unique" quite a bit I reckon ... As long as they tell a friend, buy a shirt or a CD, I suppose we can't complain.

Vex is scheduled to play Saturday, March 7, at Blooze Bar.

Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.

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Lauren Wise has worked as a rock/heavy metal journalist for 15 years. She contributes to Noisey and LA Weekly, edits books, and drinks whiskey.
Contact: Lauren Wise