Los Angeles can be the city of dreams if you’re blessed with good fortune. For Finn Andrews, The Veils lead singer and songwriter, recording in Hollywood meant just that as he bagged a part in David Lynch’s revived TV blockbuster Twin Peaks and created a collaboration with Run the Jewels visionary El-P (Jaime Meline).
“We just had this really golden week,” Andrews tells me. “We’d run into him [El-P] outside of a bar somewhere. That and all the Twin Peaks stuff came about within in a few days of each other. I think everything in this band has come out of friendship. It’s never gone well when we’ve just paired up with someone just for the sake of doing something.” El-P took a distinct step away from his hip-hop roots, and added a layer of sheen to The Veils’ fifth album Total Depravity.
The unique sounding release has been acknowledged as a career-best. This is rock music at its most dark, primal and compelling. It’s a work created effortlessly for live environment, while also exploiting a new sonic palette.
“There was this sort of joy when we first saw Run The Jewels, and the things you can do with sub-bass seems like an underutilised aspect on guitar music. It’s been a lot of fun doing all kinds of things with bass.” The animalistic nature of the music only evolves and expands onstage. Andrews admits the more the songs get played the greater they mutate.
Audience reactions also play a big part in his perception of his work. “There is quite a few which have taken on a whole new life on the stage. It’s been a good few years – we’ve done some of the best shows ever recently.” The over-riding feeling is that he’s got this release just as he wanted. It presents a very physical and raw selection of songs, many of which counter intense-howling guitar work with a violent low end sound.
One lesson learned from previous records is the need to take time with recording. Unfortunately, contemporary budgets essentially prohibit lavish amounts of studio time, while many record labels are eager to expedite their artist’s product.
“We knew we didn’t want to do that. We wanted to sit with things and let it build itself over time, rather than going in with a fully-realised idea at the beginning. It was sort of terrifying, because we were working right up to the finish, it was very different from other records we’ve made.”
Working with El-P certainly made a big impact on the band’s direction, although they didn’t think of him as a ‘hip-hop guy’. “He’s a sincere fan of ours and has such an music-encyclopaedic knowledgeable mind, it just felt like working with someone we really got on with, who had similar musical tastes. There is a lot of similarities in the things we’re into, even though we both went onto different directions [as musicians]. Different schedules and commitments meant their songs were individually made very quickly, spread out over a long period of time. This might have lent to the record’s sense of urgency. It bristles with movement and emotion on a cinematic scale.
The Veils are no strangers to TV and film soundtracks. Tim Burton and Paolo Sorrentino are among the directors deploying this band’s ruggedly beautiful music in productions. A recording session with Dean Hurley would lead to another appearance of the band on the small screen. “He gave me one of those long American addresses…” Turning up, Andrews immediately recognised the house as belonging to David Lynch, having been used in one of his early movies. A meeting with the wondrously surreal director revealed a mutual appreciation and saw Andrews and his band pop up on in 2017’s resurgence of Twin Peaks.
As well as David Lynch, visionary directors Tim Burton and Paolo Sorrentino have professed their love of the band and have used THE VEILS’ music on their soundtracks. It is testament to THE VEILS’ beauty and versatility that these 3 directors have all chosen them to accompany their utterly unique visions.
The son of XTC founder Barry Andrews, meant he was surrounded by music from an early age. With his parents living on opposite sides of the globe, his childhood was filled with travelling which seems to have instilled him with a sense of wanderlust – something very obvious in The Veils’ music. “It’s definitely something that would come up in therapy if I was to go and I was never at a school for more than a year. I spent my whole young life moving around.” He’s never spent long anywhere, but admits his favourite places are always where the locals are eager to show off a city they’re proud of. As a band, The Veils don’t seem to fit in anywhere. Or maybe they exist in a small way in a multitude of places. “We are a strange mix. We’ve got two New Zealanders, a German, an Italian and an Englishman in the band, so everyone from everywhere. It’s always confusing on the bio. It means you get loads of homecoming shows.”
The Veils perform at Brighton’s The Haunt on Sat 16 Sept 2017