atj interview :: bad veins

ATJ presents BAD VEINS, Wednesday, October 22, 2008, for After the Jump’s CMJ Showcase at the Knitting Factory NYC, performing at 9:30PM on the Main Stage, with Starfucker, Unicycle Loves You, Crystal Antlers, Heloise & the Savoir Faire, and Juvelen.

Listen :: Gold and Warm

MIA: Musically, how did the band form, what past experiences do you carry with you?

Ben and I both had bands in Cincinnati a few years back – we got to know each other casually as a result. After those bands buckled, Ben started writing and eventually played a show by himself. Some mutual friends recommended he recruit me to play drums. So, he called me up and I came over one day and listened to some of the music. I sat there and thought “yes, this is what I want to do.” I hadn’t touched a drum kit since my band had broken up 6 months earlier—not because I didn’t want to play—I was just waiting for the right time…and band, I suppose. How’s that for romance?

MIA: Describe the feeling of living and making music in your city, feel free to share a memory or a certain place that makes you feel like home.

Well, Cincinnati is pretty small compared to NYC or LA, but we have a lot of good music that has come out of this area. I suppose some of my best memories have to do with going “into the city” for shows as a kid growing up. It was always such an event! My whole week would revolve around the show I was going to see—everyone from Sebadoh and Built to Spill to Motorhead and Slayer. There used to be cool record shop across from one of the venues we would go to—along with a music shop. My friends and I would always head down to shows early to go to the music shop and grab rare records that we couldn’t get otherwise. I suppose that’s what lead me to go to school in Cincinnati and eventually play music in Cincinnati…probably why I’m here now.

MIA: Do you enjoy to perform live? How does the band like to get ready and is there a favorite song that you like to play for your audience?

We usually don’t have much time to ourselves before shows. We spend most of our time setting up and making sure all of our gear works. People always assume that since we’re a two-piece it makes thing easier, but it’s quite the opposite. I can assure you that the amount of gear—and opportunities for something to go wrong—we have weighs as much, if not more, than having two or three more people in the band. So, in an effort to make this more relatable, imagine the lead singer and drummer of your favorite 4-piece having to carry the other two members around everywhere—along with their gear. Yeah…not so glamorous anymore, is it? I don’t think that answered your question at all.

MIA: What has been the most impacting compliment, or criticism, your band has ever received?

Well, there was a girl who once told us after a show that our music got her through her time in the hospital. I can’t quite remember why she was there, but it was apparently pretty serious. To have that affect on someone… to be able to help in that way… it’s amazing and humbling.

MIA: Within your songwriting, is there some type of element that has brought about a certain mood in yr writing, making you feel more/less different than when you started? How long has the recording process taken to complete your album and to finally believe that it’s ready?

Well, this album is comprised of some songs that go back two or more years ago—to when Ben first started by himself. So, yes, I would believe that many things have changed/evolved since then. The actual recording process for the album is coming up on five or so months—we’re ready for the album to get done! It’ll be a chapter in our lives that we’re happy to have lived through, but we’ll be even more excited to move forward.

MIA: What qualities do you hope listeners may take from listening to your music?

I hope that when people listen to our album it makes them feel something—anything—just that it elicits and evokes some sort of emotion. That’s really all we can ask for. Not to hate or disparage, but I feel like there is a lot of music around these days that is so transparent—I don’t hear an earnest voice behind it. I certainly don’t want that for us. I feel confident that when people hear the album they’ll understand that it has truth behind it…and a sense of experience. Who knows? Maybe it might inspire. At the end of the day, though, I just want people to be able to take away something.

MIA: Any recommended records so far of ‘08?

I think that the new M83 record “Saturdays=Youth” is pretty great. Also, the new Radiohead album is amazing. Sounds trite, right? But hell, those guys are simply amazing—always steps ahead. I remember seeing a Pixies documentary where Thom Yorke talked about seeing them in London around ’87. He said he walked out of the show and said to himself, “what’s the point?” That sort of depression is what I sometimes—and I’m quite certain, Ben—feel when listening to Radiohead’s albums.

MIA: Name a visual artist or piece of work that inspires you.

A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to spend the afternoon at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The whole place is incredible, but I had my mind set on seeing just one of his paintings—Wheat Field with Crows. I darted around the museum until I found it—and stared at it for a very long time. I can’t even begin to describe the vividness of the colors and the brushstrokes—you just sort of have to be there, I suppose.

MIA: Please share a mixtape with a theme of your choice.

A song from each of the bands I mentioned in this interview:
Not a Friend by Sebadoh
Broken Chairs by Built to Spill
Ace of Spades by Motorhead
Raining Blood by Slayer
Lower Your Eyelids to Die With the Sun by M83
Distance Equals Rate Times Time by Pixies
Videotape by Radiohead