We caught up with French 3 piece Krautrock meets Avant Garde outfit Veik ahead of their debut album “Surrounding Structures” coming out on Fuzz Club Records on April 30th.
It seems the latest singles have shifted sound wise a lot from your previous EPs, what can we expect from your upcoming album?
We actually see this debut album as a continuation of our previous releases in the sense that it concludes the first phase of our development as a group, in the progression of our music and how we make it. However, we gravitated towards warmer and ironic writing on this album which we wanted more accomplished than our previous EPs. We did a lot of work on the production side. We recorded it with Nicolas Varin (Gomina) who did an amazing job capturing the essence of our music. Half of the tracks are songs we played a lot while touring in 2017-2018. We needed to revitalize them, and Nico pushed us to reshape those tracks and our sound in general. It was a long recording process and the journey was laden with difficulties but we are super proud of it. We also broadened our spectrum of influences we’ve drawn from.
Has the pandemic affected you making this record or was this recorded before Coronavirus hit the world?
It was recorded before the pandemic. We started to record it in late 2018 and finished it in 2020, it took us a long time (a year and a half) to record and mix it because of professional reasons (Boris was completing his PhD). But the coronavirus forced us to deeply think about how and when we wanted to release the album. It made it difficult to get in touch with labels, there were a few failed attempts, cancellations, and no live perspectives. It was kind of exhausting but it was the same for everyone. We’re so thankful to Fuzz Club for their support.
We absolutely love your use of analogue synthesisers, drone noises and drum machines, when you’re ready to start writing, what’s the first thing you pick up?
Anything we have at hand be, whether its analogue synths, a cheap bass, or a smartphone. In general, it starts with long sessions of improvisations, then we will focus on one sound, pattern or one musical accident that holds our attention and we try to build from this founding element using collage of electronic sounds and rock in the manner of krautrock bands. For example, for ‘Château Guitar’ a techno-inspired track, we started from a repetitive and obsessive guitar over a growling bass synth and then we’ve completely transformed the groove toward a four-on-the-floor drum beat.
“Surrounding Structures” is due to be released on London based record label “Fuzz Club”, ever considered a move from Caen to London?
Not at all. I lived in Paris for a while, but we’re all from Caen. London is sweet but too expensive and it seems that a lot of artists and musicians are thinking about leaving the city or even the UK because of the Brexit. Anyway, Vincent needs to be close to the sea to sail.
What’s the music scene like in Caen, any good artists for us to check out?
There was a real momentum in the 2010s, the local scene was very active and nationally recognized. Today it’s more difficult, the coolest alternative venues have closed one after the other, but there is still an exciting artistic and musical scene. We can mention the young lads from Beach Youth who released their first album on April 16th. They are our great friends and prolific producers from Glass who are making experimental electronic and deconstructed-club music. By the way, Hugo Lamy took part in the recording of our album.
We have to talk about Gomina of course, who have released their third album in 2019 on WeWant2Wecord. Nicolas Varin the drummer and lead singer produced and mixed ‘Surrounding Structures’. He’s a great and trustworthy friend who had a big influence on the sound of the record. We can’t thank him enough. Pierre Hamel, our live sound engineer who also works under the name of Outrenoir.
To drop some more names we advise you to check Makeshift, Grand Parc, Adrien Legrand, or Samba de la Muerte who had to return to France in the middle of a North American tour and a planned appearance at SXSW when the coronavirus appeared a year ago. Finally, I advise you to check out WeWant2Wecord and Onto Records, two labels whom we have already collaborated.
On the single “Political Apathy” you seem to be talking about your own political apathy, did any single event prompt you to write this, or is it just just a general feeling?
Both. It’s a general feeling of being puzzled and disconcerted by what surrounds us that crystallized into something more concrete during the Mouvement des Gilets Jaunes in France. It came out on a day of protest. I was watching the march from my bedroom window feeling so useless. In truth, I am rather politically engaged, but I wanted to work on that feeling that we all have had to deal with at some point, whatever our convictions: being lazy to stand for what we believe in. This state of cognitive dissonance between ideas, discourses and the comfort of apathy.
We can hear a wide range of influences in your work, from Alan Vega to Can, what do you think is the most accurate description of Veik?
This is always a difficult question to answer. Generally, artists don’t like to be put in boxes but we understand that a certain level of categorization is necessary to navigate in the sea of information and new music. However, I don’t know if it’s our role to do it, but I think it’s important to know how to situate ourselves in the history of cultural and artistic movements, so I’ll try to answer you 🙂
Veik was founded upon the guiding principle to cross aesthetics and genres but mainly to have fun together and to take pleasure playing together. But of course, we have our influences, what we prefer to call our “common frame of references’ ‘ (it sounds better in French). It’s everything we share that nourishes us when composing music. So, at the time we started the band, we were referring to artists such as Faust, Can, Silver Apples and contemporaries like Suuns, Exploded View or Beak>; while recording the album I was listening to a lot of no-wave bands like Suicide, Implog or Indoor Life that inspired us in the way they juxtaposed happy and dark, dance and experimentations. Right now we are excited by experimental music, from Oneohtrix Point Never to English alternative band Housewives or post-club artists like Arca.
But in the end, we’re still three white guys making experimental post-punk who are trying to keep themselves interested in what’s going on in electronic, pop & other areas of contemporary musical genres.
English Cider or Normandy Cidre?
The English have the good idea of serving cider in draught, which we unfortunately do not do. In the end, nothing beats the rustic aftertaste of Norman hard cider as my grandfather used to make it.
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