13 Dec 2016

THE VELDT: A Chat With The Resurgent US Shoegazers

2016's been an odd one for the Veldt. The shoegaze band, most prevalent in the nineties announced their return with an EP The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur. Combining powerful alt-soul with whirring guitars, it was an extravagant statement that put them back on the map. It was produced by Rudy from AR Kane (he might've mentioned it, here), and is totally magnificent.

Fresh from a tour with our favourite band, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, we sat down with Daniel Chavis of the band to have a natter.
You've just been on tour with The Brian Jonestown Massacre - those guys seem to be loaded with energy and surprises. What was that like?
They were very cool and easy to work with. The whole band was really cool.

You played three cities on your mini-tour together. What were some of the highlights?
To be honest every show was amazing I feel Boston was the best though.

Any chance that you guys might all hook up again?
Well, Anton talked about doing some recording

I heard you headlined The Committee to Keep Music Evil’s pre-Levitation Festival party this year. What’s your connection to The Committee?
The Keyboardist Robert Bartholomew invited us and then I was on Dead TV with Anton earlier a couple of months before so it kinda worked out.

You put out a (fucking brilliant) EP earlier this year – your first since the nineties. Are your live sets more routed around your newer material?
Thank you! Yeah oddly more so from the full length. Symmetry from the next LP turned out to be a show stopper.

How did you come up with the EP title 'The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur...'?
My brother came up with it. I think he liked the essence of the poem and built the songs around it.

Are there any modern bands you've been influenced by or collaborated with?
I really like Ringo Deathstarr, The Asteroid #4, Mystic Braves, Ummagma and, of course, the BJM. Oh! I really enjoyed Joel Gion’s 1st LP. We collaborated with A.R.Kane on our latest EP. Rudy is a great producer actually. They’ll probably drop some new material soon, after the tour season winds up. Andrew Prinz from Mahogany plays some guitar on this EP and Marie Cochrane contributes vocals on two tracks. Joe Foster from Creation Records and The Television Personalities worked with us on our next album, as did Robin Guthrie, as I think you already know. We’ve collaborated with him a lot. Actually, he produced our first album, which the record company then shelved. Hoping to bring that out on vinyl and other formats eventually.

What have you been listening to recently?
UFO documentaries

I understand you were originally named The Veldt, and then you followed ‘expert’ advice by renaming yourselves Apollo Heights and now you’ve switched back to The Veldt? What inspired this decision? Are the 2 bands, in fact, different?
The bands are one in the same. Apollo Heights was merely Veldt demos and the direction we were heading into anyway. We were offered a publishing deal but they would not do it under the name The Veldt. We had no management at the time and I thought it was a stupid idea.

Since deciding to perform under the name The Veldt again, do you feel you've been received more or less warmly than in the 1990s? 
Yes, I find that very odd, but at least it’s happening now.

Could you tell us how The Veldt originally formed, and what the first few years of your band’s existence was like?
I originally formed the Veldt out of High School with a old friend Robert Jackson. (Robert Died about 9 years ago unfortunately). We were called The Psycho Daises. Danny joined awhile after and there were three of us and a drum machine. We played parties for the exchange students in local high schools. Until we became the Veldt and switched our focus to playing clubs.

Which of your albums (LPs or EPs) are you most proud of? 
Universe Boat.

What's in store for The Veldt over the summer, and what is there to look forward to in the fall?
We are trying to go to the west coast then for the fall Europe.

Off the top of your head, can you name ten or so records you really love?
My Bloody Underground by BJM
Sadomasochism is a Must by AR Kane
Emperor Tomato Ketchup by Stereolab
Flowers by The Rolling Stones
Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys
Around the World in a Day by Prince
Controversy by Prince
Dirty Mind by Prince
ElectricLady land by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Turn Turn Turn by The Byrds

What, in your music career, are you most proud of? Perhaps you can recall some moments where you felt “This is it. This is what it’s all about?”
When we opened for Cocteau Twins!

Thanks very much for your time!
My pleasure.

(Words: Cal Cashin)