One foot in the past and one eye on the future, VEYU combine the best of both worlds. Getintothis’ Jamie Bowman profiles a group looking to start something big.
The Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol. The Smiths‘ beautiful duotone record sleeves. The Who’s Sell Out album. When fine art and finer music collide it can be a wonderful thing.
It’s a relationship you could imagine Adam Bresnan, lead guitarist of Liverpool’s next big things VEYU, would appreciate. Just over a year ago, Adam helped create Dale Street’s Fallout Factory, which, despite sounding like a dodgy nu-metal band, has quickly becoming one of the city’s most creative hubs, encouraging collaboration between artists and musicians and creating a gallery space where all manner of bohemian happenings have taken place this past month as part of the band’s first self-curated show.
While some bands content themselves with the garage, VEYU can rehearse in somewhere a little more palatial where the inspiration is more than a knackered old lawnmower.
“It’s an artist led gallery and non for profit,” explains Adam. “It’s a creative space that gives the opportunity for up and coming and amateur artists to use it as a platform to show their work when the more obvious galleries such as the Tate and the Bluecoat may not give them that chance.”
All very noble but surely this is a two way thing for Adam and bandmates Chris Beesley (lead vocals/guitar), Tom McCabe (drums), Donovan Collins (keyboard) and James Tidd (bass).
“The way things are going the gallery is becoming part of the band,” agrees Adam. “It’s where we create our music so the space around us inputs into that in some kind of sub conscious way.
“We’ve worked closely with Deerstalker (3D artist) who is a close friend of mine from school – it’s worked really well with the visuals his been creating for us and has added a visual element to our performances.
“It’s a collaboration that’s only just started and is still in the development stage so it will be great to see where it goes.”
While happy to provide a treat for the eyes, on songs like Running from their double A-side single Running/The Everlasting, VEYU confirm they are making the kind of music that forces your ears to fall deeply and blindly in love.
VEYU at the GIT Award 2014 launch at Leaf, Bold Street
Running is a stunning piece of blissful gossamer pop, that mixes folk harmonies with a synth driven chorus to put you on your knees. Recalling the sort of neo-gothic guitar rock that ’80s Mersey heroes like the Lotus Eaters, Wild Swans and Echo and the Bunnymen took into the charts 30 years ago, Adam isn’t ashamed to admit where the inspiration for the Morrissey-esque vocals and lugubrious longing of lyrics like: “‘I ran away, to find the bright lights calling my name/But the call didn’t reach my ear, and so I fell to the ground in fear” come from.
“We obviously like the whole ’80s thing that’s coming back but we’ve gone through a lot of different styles since we started trying to find our feet and what we want to get out of our sound. It’s become a natural flow into what we did know.
“We’ve got a lot of influences and we’re proud of where we come from but half of the band are not even from the Liverpool area.”
Equally as fine is Everlasting which opens with a loop of layered recordings from industrial spaces, metal pipes chiming on floors and the breaking of wood, before this early menace gives way to a warm embrace of melody.
Hardly surprising then that The Guardian were moved to invent a word (“shimmervescent“) to describe the band’s beauty which brings us neatly to VEYU’s status as the buzziest of buzz bands.
But while the clamour surrounding the five piece gets louder and the talk turns to the inevitable record label interest, Adam is keen to sit back and take a long term view of his band’s future, free of any perceived cynicism that has been levelled at the band in some quarters.
“At this stage it’s not all about trying to get that first deal,” he says. “We want to be more involved in the writing process. We’re not really totally set about getting a major record deal but we wouldn’t so no but we’re certainly not disheartened with the whole thing.”
For music so delicately icy and self-assured, there’s a beating heart here which comes across when Adam’s fellow vocalist Chris waxes lyrical about the GIT Award.
“The GIT Award shortlist serves to shine a light on the very best of what the Liverpool music scene has to offer,” says Chris.
“The standard and diversity between the nominees shows cities in both the North and South of the UK that music from this part of the country is a formidable force to be reckoned with, brimming with talent from creatives who take their craft seriously. It’s an absolute honour to be considered a part of that.”
VEYU at the GIT Award 2014 launch at Leaf, Bold Street
So what can we expect from the band in say a years time, beyond of course their debut album – the result of self-produced sessions in Liverpool’s Parr Street – which is expected later this year?
“It’s hard to say really“, adds Adam. “Personally I like gaining the respect of my fellow musicians and being able to play my own music but bigger crowds around the country would be nice to and we’re looking to extend that circuit with more support slots and shows outside Liverpool. That’s got to be the next step.”
Further reading on Getintothis:
VEYU: Running, Morning Light, Shadows
Southern, VEYU, Glossom, Magic Arm, Harlequin Dynamite Marching Band, Broken Men: Williamson Tunnels, Liverpool
VEYU, Tear Talk: Fallout Factory, Liverpool
Money, VEYU: Blade Factory, Liverpool
Wave Pictures, VEYU, Hillary & The Democrats: The Kazimier, Liverpool
GIT Award 2014 launches One To Watch prize.
GIT Award 2014 judging panel announced.
Review and pictures from GIT Award 2014 launch at Leaf.
GIT Award 2014 returns with Leaf launch ahead of Kazimier spectacular in April.
GIT Award 2013: Baltic Fleet: To be involved and win will always stay with me
The GIT Award 2013 report, reaction and review from Leaf Tea Shop, Liverpool.
GIT Award 2013 winner announced as Justice Collective win Inspiration Award
GIT Award 2013: picture gallery featuring Baltic Fleet, Nadine Carina, Conan, John Heckle, Tyler Mensah and more.