INTERVIEW: Newcastle’s Veiins talk new single, eye injuries and live shows

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Local electro-pop duo, Veiins dropped sophomore single, This Mess. We caught up with Liv and Jamé to chat about the song, how the video came together and what’s coming next for this exciting songwriting partnership.

ON THE SONG

NL: What’s This Mess about? 

Liv: If you’d asked me what it was about over a year ago when I first wrote the song, I would have said it’s about the pain of letting go of someone you love because they haven’t been operating in the relationship in a healthy way. I don’t think its really a break up song for me any more. In retrospect, is more of a reminder about how naive I was going into my first relationship. If someone says at the very start, “I have issues A, B, and C, due to past relationships, and therefore can’t deal with X, Y, Z”, rather than taking on those issues and twisting myself to fit what they need, I hope that wiser Liv takes a step back and waits to see if they are capable of working through those issues themselves. Everybody gets “messed up” by previous experiences to an extent, but we all have a responsibility to make sure that mess doesn’t become destructive and infect the people we care about.

NL: What did Huw bring to the final product we’re now hearing? 

Liv: Initially we started with the song, the chord patterns and a rough palette of sounds that were close to what we were aiming for. Jamé took the production as far as we could with the tools we had at our disposal. So we had the raw bulk of it, but Huw was integral in taking the production that step further and layering in sounds we wouldn’t have thought to use, techniques we weren’t familiar with etc.

Jamé: He has such a depth of knowledge of how to engineer electronic music, so he really focused on the sound we had and developed it at a much more masterful level than we could have. That arpeggiated bit at the end – that’s Huw’s little magical brain child. Stuff like that. Particularly in conjunction with Allon (who did the mix and mastering) there was a fair bit of fat cut from the track, which made it a lot punchier

NL: The music you make is very different from a lot of what we hear coming from local acts. You’ve both worked in “conventional bands” in the past… What’s the inspiration behind this direction? 

Jamé: To be honest, we are still questioning the wisdom of our decision to completely deviate from everything we know and throw ourselves head first into alien territory.

Liv: The songs we had for this project were written over the last four years and had a range of influences, and the electronic element is something that can hopefully tie them all together. Also, coming from a background of being in rock and metal bands, it had been really interesting (read: challenging and nay impossible) to try our hand at integrating genres that traditionally stay away from each other in the playground (see our next release, ft electronic country pop rock) (shhh!)). Our style really is an amalgamation of all the random things we listen to and enjoy. The hard part has been letting go of things that are too eclectic to work.

ON THE VIDEO

NL: This is the second video you’ve done with Holliday music. How did this shoot differ from last time? Tell us about the direction you asked Josh to take with this video. 

Liv: We had a much more developed vision for how we wanted this video to look. We wanted strong black and blue colour elements. We made the powder ourselves and Josh made some smoke bombs. So it was very experimental.

Jamé: Poor Josh nearly died of blue smoke and powder/asphyxia, and of us, really. He has been extremely patient in dealing with us (a true measure of the man). From making him scout multiple locations that were apparently impossible to shoot, to letting us defile his own warehouse with the ubiquitous blue dust (it’s pretty much stained into his equipment) and the cleanup – oh god, don’t even get us started. Then there was the editing….

Liv: and re-editing. You know the real question is how he survived us really… In comparison, last time we pretty much just rocked up to the location that he found and did the shoot. He sent us the edit 24 hours later and we gave it the thumbs up. I think he agreed to shoot us for This Mess because of easy we were last time. You could say that we’re growing him as a filmmaker through trial and tribulation.

NL: Where was it shot and why did you choose that particular location?

Jamé: It was shot in Josh’s warehouse. Well, actually Josh’s dad’s warehouse, but we’re not entirely sure if Josh told him, so maybe keep that on the down low. We shot there because we found out, after doing our homework, that the original loacations we wanted had restrictions (ie. were either on Aboriginal land, were inaccessible due to recent weather, were too far away). So we changed our concept to finding just a dark room. Josh knew loads of warehouses where he had shot before, but literally none of them were available anymore, so we waited for Josh’s dad’s warehouse to be cleared for the shoot.

Liv: It was at this point that we first suspected that the gods of video production did not smile down upon us.It was later when Josh’s software began playing up – an issue that has never before or since happened in the history of his video making – that we knew we were cursed.

NL: Is it chalk? What’s it like to wear a face full of it? 

Liv: You know, I can still taste the blue powder in my mouth and nose every time I watch that video.

Jamé: It’s blue holi powder, like the stuff they use for the colour run. We made a batch of it ourselves (we’ll post the video later) but we didn’t have enough of it so we ended up just buying some more. Waaaaay less effort.

Liv: Our “powder technicians” (Jimmy and Nathaniel) had very good aim, so more often than not they got me square in the face. At one point we were experimenting with black glitter. Nathaniel was up on a ladder sprinking it down on me and we decided to see if it would explode if he threw it harder. Unfortunately just as he threw it, I looked up and it got me right in the eye. I went to the bathroom and my eye was just full of coarse, black glitter. I asked them to go to my bag fetch me a makeup wipe to get it out. Jimmy came back holding a pad. Poor lad. I think it was an educational experience for everyone.

ON VEIINS

NL: Tell us about the evolution of VEIINS since we last spoke… 

Jamé: The first track we released was such an experiment. Getting Huw involved with the production and mixing worked so well, that for This Mess, we really were open to it being much more of a collaborative process. Allon Silove (90 Degree Studio) did the mix and master this time and did such a fantastic job.

Liv: The next track that we are currently working on will be the first that we haven’t started in Jamé’s home studio. We’ve been recording with Huw and plan to do the vocals at 90 Degree Studio with Allon. We are definitely upping the quality with each release and growing more and more confident in entrusting our music to our “specialist” collaborators. Jamé and I are learning from them all the time and we are so lucky to have them as collaborators and mentors.

NL: Any plans for some live shows?

Liv: I actually performed the first live showcase of VEIINS a fortnight ago. It was a stripped back set with Carter Smyth on keys. Carter arranged the songs beautifully for piano, and I think the rawness of having just the vocals and keys was appropriate for their debut. It was really nerve wracking – usually in a band you introduce new songs to a set slowly to gauge crowd reaction. This was a whole set of new material that no one had heard, so I was nervous as hell. Jamé has been snowed under with uni work so he sat that round out, but there will definitely be others. Until we get enough songs properly arranged for a full electronic set we’ll probably keep going with stripped back performances.


You can find out more about Veiins by visiting their Facebook page.

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