It was nearly three years ago that we booked Cincinnati band Bad Veins for one of our Movable Hype shows, after hearing just a few rough demos—and now, at long last, their much-anticipated debut full length is here! The duo, Benjamin Davis and Sebastien Schultz, just ended their first tour in support of the album, but they'll be heading back on the road shortly (you can catch them next month at the Bell House). Last week, prior to their Mercury Lounge show, they stopped by our offices to play a few songs (and drink some beer, of course)—enjoy the videos from that below, where Ben also tells us all about Gossip Girl, Irene and what it's like to finally have the album out there.
Can you give us a brief history of Bad Veins? Bad Veins started as a solo project, I played a show with just me, Irene, the megaphone, telephone, flower box etc... I think it was fairly well received by what was albeit a pretty small crowd. A mutual friend suggested I try to bring Sebastien in, and I'd seen his previous band around town and thought he was a really fun drummer to watch, so I gave him a call. He came over and played along with my stuff. I thought the juxtaposition of his crazy drumming with my orchestral arrangements was really interesting, so we ran with it.
How does it feel to have the album out there? It's a pretty big relief, at the same time its a big ball of anxiety. To a much smaller scale, to a point where it almost feels stupid using this analogy, it must be what it's like when one win's a presidential election. The election is over, but shit, now you've got to be president. We're lucky to get what we have so far, but now we have a lot of work ahead of us.
You know I have to ask about Irene... when did she become an official member, and how did that happen? Irene was an official member of Bad Veins since day #1. Actually, our bio is incorrect in that Sebastien is technically the 3rd member. My father gave me Irene a few years ago claiming that since i was musician, I might have some need for it at some point. I reluctantly took it off his hands, then realized that it was a lot more fun to use than an iPod, and by more fun I mean heavier.
Will the giant Bad Veins painting be on tour with you? I think that it might be a bit too large to travel with at this point, but we're going to try to bring it to outdoor festivals maybe? It is pretty fun to watch people taking photos with it!
Is it strange to hear yourself on shows like Gossip Girl and The City? No, not really. For whatever reason, it's not quite a surreal as you might think, maybe because our songs have been the soundtrack of MY life for the past couple years, it seems pretty normal to hear them coming out of my TV speakers instead of my stereo. I mean, if I watched those shows that is....
How do you feel about WOXY leaving your hometown? I'm sad to see them go, but I totally understand why they're leaving. They've been an extremely valuable resource to us starting out in Cincinnati, and I'm so grateful that we had the chance to become friends. As long as they don't lock their doors when they hear we're headed through Austin, we're cool!
What bands are you currently listening to? I think I have a high tolerance for listening to the same stuff over and over again. I've been listening to Lykke Li, David Byrne/Brian Eno, the new Phoenix record, the new Sparklehorse/Dangermouse record, and a young new band from Ypsilanti, Michigan called Lightning Love.
Ben, can you share your story about the photograph you found in a guitar you purchased? That was a good one! Haha! I bought an electric guitar, and I was taking it apart to adjust springs etc... When I took the back plate off, I noticed that the previous owner taped a few rather indecent photos of a couple ladies on the inside. I REALLY hope it was some goofy teenager, and not some total creep that hid them from his wife or something!
Have you ever been enticed to move to New York? I really love visiting New York, but I enjoy space, and solitude far too much.
Please share your strangest "only in New York" story. One time I rolled into town around 3:00am. A cab pulled in front of me and the passenger in the back opened his door and puked in the street, about 10 feet in front of me. Only in New York! Oh yeah, I think I saw someone else puking about 10 seconds after that.
Do you have a favorite New York celebrity sighting or encounter? Dave from Chromeo crossed the street in front of me once in the Lower East Side. That was probably my biggest celebrity thrill.
Best venue to play/hear music in NYC. We played at Webster Hall last year, that might be my favorite venue so far... great sound guys and a huge stage!