Ex People: "Who wouldn’t want to be in league with the devil?"

Ex People promo photo

London sludgemongers Ex People are premiering their new song Over exclusively with Metal Hammer, taken from their upcoming debut album Bird.

Speaking to Hammer, bassist Edward White says, “We’ve all been friends for years, but on one overcast day in Hackney we collectively realised that there was not enough sludge in our lives.”

And so a band was born.

“We holed up in a dingy rehearsal space for several months, until eventually we emerged, stumbling back into the light, with a fresh batch of riffs clutched in our paws. Those early experiments are now lost to history, or possibly available on Bandcamp, but now the riffs are even better and stronger.”

Since the first jam sessions, Ex People have been signed to the riff-loving New Heavy Sounds, and are releasing their first full-length on May 19. We caught up with vocalist Laura Kirsop, guitarist Calum Gunn, bassist Edward White and drummer Vicki Dawson.

What inspires you creatively?

Calum: “Musically: brutalism, urban decay, baritone saxophones, the low hum of a distant power station, severe depression and the glorious glint of golden 5pm light on a guitar. Inspiration can strike at any time, so make sure you keep those guitars neatly in tune.”

What attracted you to the doomier, sludgier end of metal?

Calum: “Who wouldn’t want to be in league with the devil?”

Vicki: “We’ve all been in decidedly ‘lighter’ bands, but our personal tastes have always veered towards the slower side of metal.”

Calum: “There’s a unique, addictive feeling to be wrought from playing low and slow. Weight and the absence of weight.”

What is the meaning behind the song Over?

Laura: “I wrote the lyrics to Over after watching the Lars Von Trier film Melancholia. The atmosphere of the film is one of suspense and the characters are getting to grips with their own mortality. It’s about what you feel like when the planet’s about to be destroyed.”

What can we expect from your debut album?

Vicki: “First and foremost, 45 solid minutes of modernist heavy rock music. It’s almost a cheesy thing to say, but Bird is a combination of the different strands we’ve been pulling at so far – there are slow songs, fast songs, melodic songs…”

Calum: “I think we managed to make a unified whole from these parts of our musical personality. Plus, it’s hecka slammin’ and I’ll see you in the pit, friend!”

Your lyrics tackle real issues, often pointing out the worst in people – why is this?

Laura: “I don’t think they point out the worst in people at all. They’re about powering through the shitty situations that most people have to deal with. Powering through them with your head up. I hope the lyrics encourage people to stand up for themselves and what they think is right. I also take inspiration from books I’m reading and films I’m watching. I love apocalyptic and dystopian fiction so there’s a lot of that stuff in there too.”

How does it feel to be a part of New Heavy Sounds?

Ed: “Really exciting – it’s great to be labelmates with awesome and weird bands like Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Black Moth and Limb.”

Calum: “The NHS crew are hard-working and loving parents to our baby band.”

What is Ex People’s plan for 2017?

Laura: “Get the album out there, play some great shows, perhaps a tour or two at some point… And, of course, keeping up with the usual practice of seances and ouija rituals. World domination – not a joke.”

Bird is released 19 May, via New Heavy Sounds.

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Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.