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The Veils

Beleaguered Luxury

Oct 28, 2016 The Veils Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern (for Under the Radar) Bookmark and Share

Just like the creeping amphibians that the song is named after, “Axolotl” lumbers along at an eerie rhythm all its own. But for Finn Andrews of the London-based band The Veilswho wrote the song as the opening track for their new album, Total Depravitysuch creepiness is oddly wholesome.

“My mother had axolotls as pets when I was a child. So I’ve always had them in my life, and always loved the word,” Andrews says. He adds that he “wrote the lyrics quicker than anything in my life, and sung them all into a shitty little microphone in my laptop, because I was in a rush to capture the strange energy of the song.”

In a way, one could hardly blame Andrews for trying to recapture the simplicity of his earliest days. After all, the writing and recording of Total Depravity had become a drawn out, three-year process that spanned several time zones. At first, that seemed like an attractive prospect. Their previous album, 2013’s Time Stays, We Go, was recorded on a shoestring budget, but for Total Depravity The Veils had a bigger label providing the funds they needed to co-produce the album with El-P of Run the Jewels and Adam “Atom” Greenspan, while also recording in El-P’s upstate New York home studio, as well as at studios in Portugal, London, and Los Angeles.

The Veils could only dream of such luxuries while working on earlier albums. “For the last record we wrote and recorded 10 songs, and that was it. This time we’ve got all this leftover material from years of work, and it felt a bit exciting to never know how it was going to shake out.”

The cushier process of working on Total Depravity had its benefits. Chief among them was working with El-P. Born Jaime Meline, the rapper/producer offered his services to co-produce Total Depravity simply because The Veils are one of his favorite bands.

“It could’ve been a disaster, getting someone from a completely different genre and background and trying to mush it together,” Andrews says. “Jaime introduced all these synthetic sounds that had never been part of our palette. It really charged us up.”

Andrews says that the opportunities afforded by more money and time left him feeling “very frazzled by the end of it, trying to bring it all together…. We were involving so many people, it was more of a production than I’m used to.”

And yet that process was exactly what the album needed. When they were finished, Andrews wrapped things up with the same ritual he’s used to end all his LPs: playing the finalized songs for his father, Barry Andrews, co-founder of legendary British post-punkers XTC. The Veils’ adoption of synths and a grander scale for Total Depravity certainly overlaps the legacy of his old man’s former band. And, because of XTC’s standing in the alt rock world, Finn holds his father’s opinion dearly. Thankfully, the elder Andrews praised The Veils’ bold new direction.

“He’s always been supportive, but I think the dark tone and energy of this new album shocked him,” says Finn Andrews. “This new album also made him feel the same way as mehe wants to hear it live more than anything. We haven’t gotten to play any of these songs live yet, so that’s the real test. I’ve got this slight excited nervousness about getting these songs into that world.”

[Note: This article originally appeared in Under the Radar’s August/September/October 2016 Issue, which is out now. This is its debut online.]


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Scott Mann
October 29th 2016

Hey, really nice blog. One of my favourite things to do is watch interviews with musicians, (even filmakers and stuff) to get an idea of their inspirations.
I’m sure you’ve thought of this but it would be good if you could do some skype videos and start to add content to YouTube.
Anyway, who am I to talk, haha. I’ve just started a blog “Scott Talks”. You should check out my post “5 Albums of the 21st Century” -
I recommend a band you might not have heard of - “The Amazing Snakeheads”. They’ve split up now but the lead singer has started a new project, maybe you could even approach them.
Anyway, nice blog, keep it up.