Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Interview: The Veils for Tom Magazine

From http://www.tommagazine.com.au/ and http://www.ourbrisbane.com/whats-on/gig-guide/the-veils

The Veils.

It’s quarter to nine in the morning in London, and Finn Andrews is already on his second interview for the day, so you can forgive him if he sounds a little tired. Andrews, lead singer/songwriter, and the man behind London-based alt-indie outfit The Veils may not yet be entirely awake, but as he talks about their new release, it’s clear Sun Gangs is his little bundle of joy.

"It is very personal, and there was a lot of thought put into it," Andrews says quietly, "I’m really looking forward to getting out and showing it to people."

Andrews believes Sun Gangs, their third record, which he spent two years writing, is their strongest record to date, showing much progression from their critically acclaimed 2005 release, Nux Vomica.

"It’s hard to say what the main changes are, but this is the most confident record we’ve made," he explains. "It has the broadest scope, with extreme differences in mood throughout."

Sun Gangs, essentially a break-up album, maps the two years of Andrews’ life during which he was writing the record; beginning at the end of one relationship, and ending at the start of another.

"I write every day, it’s quite a routine manner. It’s hard for me to see, but my music progresses as my life does, you know? You try not to think about sounding like something, and just write what’s important to you."

"It’s the same as the music I fell in love with; it’s the storytelling, the words that I enjoyed."

When asked what music it was that first inspired him to tell his own story, he laughs, "I really need to think up some more obscure references. I had a really populist taste, I still do really. I was listening to Tom Waits, Johnny Cash, and Bob Dylan growing up. I always find myself going back to those records; I was listening to Rain Dogs by Tom Waits recently, actually."

Andrews grew up in New Zealand with his mother and sister, while his father, Barry Andrews, of ‘70’s rock group, XTC, lived in London. He originally planned to pursue a career in art, or film, but when he was 16, he found himself unwittingly following in his father’s footsteps, as he moved back to London to try to sign to a label.

"I don’t know if there’s some weird genetic predisposition to it, but it’s been nice having someone you can trust and confide in about your music, though".

The Veils, whilst essentially an indie/alternative group, follow a largely different path to the majority of indie groups of today, who favouring a retro-inspired, beat-heavy sound. The Veils have a theatrical and stirring style, almost epically melodramatic, with Andrews throwing chameleon-like vocals into the mix.

"We’re always pretty outside of what’s going on. I don’t understand how you end up with so many groups all doing the same kind of thing at the same time," he says. "I think growing up in NZ really helps with that, you’re quite secluded, you’re off in your own bubble. I don’t really pay attention to what else is out there, or what will get on the radio."

Andrews, who possesses wildly unique vocals that would be difficult to describe or compare, is constantly amused by the downright bizarre comparisons his music inspires.

"It’s great when journalists run off on a spiel, and you’re thinking "Oh, God" - you get some really fantastic things. Like, one journalist said I sounded like Van Morrison and Eartha Kitt, put through a vacuum cleaner," he laughs.

The Veils’ have finally settled on a band line-up, after the original group disbanded in 2004, and their keyboard player left the group following the release of Nux Vomica. Andrews enlisted Sophie Burn on bass, Dan Raishbrook on guitar, and drummer Henning Dietz to complete Sun Gangs.

"I always write the album and then get a band to put it all together, and it’s the first record with a band in existence while it was being written, so it was very freeing to not have to worry about that. It still begins very personally, I still write for myself, but I feel very close to them."

The Veils will be spending most of this year taking Sun Gangs on the road, leaving first for Europe, then heading to the US, Australia and Japan. Andrews is enthused to begin touring again, admitting that while his music comes from his love of writing, "performing for people really gives you a sense of purpose".

"It’s always amazing, the people that show up. We did a show in Barcelona a few months ago where we were expecting to play to a couple of hundred people, and there was over a thousand people lined up down the street," he laughs, still sounding astonished, "it was like being in a film - being in a film about a rock band."

Sun Gangs is out now through Rough Trade Records.

By Anna Angel


  1. Anna
    You write so well. I am sooo jelous haha

  2. haha

    don't be, i've been studying journalism for a year and a half and this is the only semi skill i've maybe-sort-of-half got! lol