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With the recurrent emergence of 90’s shoegaze bands, The Veldt is a band that stands apart from the pack. Formed in the late 80’s, The Veldt combined elements of reverb with soul and funk, creating a sonic pathway that was truly their own. They fast gained notoriety working with the likes of Robin Guthrie and playing venues with The Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine. However, the major record labels at the time attempted to mold them into something easily accessible and mainstream, so The Veldt yet again went their own individual route and self-releasing their 2008 album, White Music for Black People. Jump forward to 2016, The Veldt have picked up where they left off, creating more luscious soundscapes and have steadily been gaining momentum. Their upcoming  album, The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur, will be released via UK label Leonard Skully Records on April 8, 2016, which you can pre-order here. Guitarist and vocalist Daniel Chavis took some time to answer our questions about the band’s early influences, the pros and cons of DIY culture, and what other plans they have in store for 2016.

 

ANON Magazine: The Veldt has such a diverse range of sound and genre, from Daniel’s soulful falsetto to combining aspects of shoegaze and R&B. Who would you say were your earliest influences? What did the beginning stages of forming the band look like?

Daniel Chavis: Well, our earliest influences were obviously from The Church and R&B heard around the house as children. I was heavily influenced by early new wave and goth. I was listening to lot of The Cure, especially Pornography. It was me and a partner Robert, who sadly died back in 04′, that started the band together. We were trying to mock the early Cure, and later my brother joined. Our first gig was with Corrosion of Conformity in the bottom of an old Church in Durham, North Carolina. It was them, [The Veldt], Stillborn Christians and Marginal Man.

 

 

ANON: You’ve shared the stage with the likes of The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Pixies, and My Bloody Valentine. Is there a particular show you’ve played that has stood out to you the most?

DC: Yes, it was us opening for The Jesus and Mary Chain at The Masonic Lodge in Toronto in 1988. Someone from the audience called us Living Colour in between songs and I told them to suck my dick. Funny thing is those guys are really good friends of ours. I never understood why that would have been an insult, but they got the point.

 

ANON: What was your experience like working with Robin Guthrie of The Cocteau Twins?

DC: Haha, well, when we made mistakes he really kicks you when you’re down and never lets you forget it. Because we’ve done a lot of stupid shit. He’s the greatest and he’s taught us a lot. he taught us to never bend and don’t change for the bank. Talk about punk rock attitude. Our overall sound is indebted to him to a degree, especially from my brother. I’m into guitar sounds but I’m a bit lazy. Danny’s sound is a bit lush and overdriven. Mine is very simple – reverb, delay and chorus. We have two other guitarists, Frank and Hayato play guitar a lot more than bass so there is that element now.

 

ANON: You were previously signed to major record labels Capitol and Mercury Records, although they deemed your band “difficult” and struggled to confine you to a certain image and sound. You’ve also gone the indie route and self-released your 2008 album, White Music for Black People. What would you consider the pros and cons of signing to a major label vs the DIY culture?

DC: We made more money and were happier before a major label financially. They never understood us and we were evidently way ahead of our time. They wanted to paste our faces all over covers and posters and we said no for good reasons I wont go into. In short they didn’t understand creating art on the level of substance for profit without being corny and having integrity. With White Music for Black People we just made a dent which could have gone further, but because it was a small label we didn’t have the resources and help that could have pushed us. In hindsight, I’m glad it didn’t because I would have rather used the name The Veldt. I like the freedom of DIY, but would like to be involved with people that understand my band. So far it seems good having waited almost twenty years. A bit like Rip Van Winkle waking up in the future being accepted, but for that even now we will see.

 

ANON: How has the media’s and your audience’s response changed over the last twenty years? Do you find there’s a more welcoming space for The Veldt now compared to the early 90’s?

DC: Yes. So far as I mentioned earlier, this generation is more accepting. I think our new EP will find a lot of new listeners who have never heard of us before and, of course, also be welcomed by those who’ve always been with us. Our recent feature in The Guardian also seems to have sent ripples through the blogosphere and now it seems a lot easier to get the press’ attention.

 

 

ANON: Your band and upcoming album names are taken from influential poets and writers (The Veldt a short story written by Ray Bradbury and “The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur” a line from an e.e. cummings’ poem). Do you have a close affinity towards Bradbury and cummings? Which literary figures are your favorites?

DC: Yes,  in Junior High I needed to pass English [class] to graduate, and one day our assignment was to read a story and it was The Veldt. It was severely fucked up so I thought to myself, “this is the name for my band.” The quote from cummings pretty much sums up how we feel speaking to women in the indie world. What band is talking to them? Making them feel beautiful and making them feel loved? And eyes big love-crumbs?

 

ANON: What albums have you been listening to lately?

DC: I really like the new Brian Jonestown Massacre EP, Flying Saucer Attack, and the new Ummagma EP, as well as a lot of Buffalo Springfield and Love.

 

ANON: What plans do you have for the rest of 2016?

DC: We have three dates lined up with the Brian Jonestown Massacre. We’re also going back north of the border (we played Toronto last month) for a central Canadian tour. Hopefully we will also go out west and our full length album on sonaBLAST! Records will drop by the summer.

 

The Veldt - Chavis Brothers - photo credit Ed Marshall

 

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Trish Connelly is the Austin-based guru who does booking and promoting at Cheer Up Charlies under The Nothing Song. She’s always down to collaborate and plan a show or event in town. She’s an expert with mixtapes (for all musicians out there you’ll want to send her your stuff!), and making connections with the cool kids. She may have a tad obsession with comics and Corgies, but she keeps it under control. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.