After months of controversy that had shows protested and canceled, the post-punk band formerly known as Viet Cong have announced their new name. The Canadian outfit are officially known as Preoccupations.
The band first encountered criticism after the release of their debut tape in 2014, but their name began affecting their shows once their full-length was released early last year. They were accused of insensitivity, racism, and cultural appropriation for their choosing their name from the brutal North Vietnamese army that fought the South and the US during the Vietnam War. The band promised that their name change was coming in September, and now they’ve officially chose on Preoccupations.
“We apologize to those who were adversely affected by our former band name,” Preoccupations said in their statement. “This was never anticipated nor our intent. We are artists and not politicians, we understand that the name reflected pain to some individuals and we are happy to change it and move on and focus on our music.”
In an interview with Pitchfork, frontman Matt Flegel said that the new name is from a list friend and fellow Canadian musician Chad VanGaalen sent the band. “It’s kind of been an issue finding a new band name — it’s hard to find something that hasn’t been taken. Obviously, it’s been a long time coming, but really we started coming up with names after we finished recording this new record. It made sense to have a new body of work to give it some sort of context. A new band name with new music moving forward.”
Read the band’s full statement below.
“After finishing our latest record and taking some time off, we are excited to announce that we will be performing and recording as ‘Preoccupations’ going forward. We will be previewing new material from a forthcoming record in a series of festivals and shows in North America and Europe in the coming months. We apologize to those who were adversely affected by our former band name. This was never anticipated nor our intent. We are artists and not politicians, we understand that the name reflected pain to some individuals and we are happy to change it and move on and focus on our music. Thanks to all our friends and fans. See you all soon.”