The Veils

By Maegan Johnsen

Time Stays, We Go is the latest album by London based band "The Veils".

In anticipation of it's imminent New Zealand release in April 2013, Libel Music caught up with ex-pat Kiwiand lead singer Finn Andrews to chat about the new record, his creative process and the mystery behind it all.

So you are about ready to set out on an epic tour of the United States and Canada to promote Time Stays We Go. Tell us a bit about the record and what we can expect to hear:

Well, there's a lot going on. It's a record about time and death, decay and pills and tornadoes and I think it's a good use of time.  I grew up loving music that was deemed kind of depressing by a lot of people. Artists like Leonard Cohen and The Bad Seeds and Johnny Cash. Although I wouldn't compare us to the level of those people, it's a tradition that we are trying to follow.  When you write music that is rooted in emotional reaction it's quite a complex thing. I love narrative storytelling and narrative song writing and these things have influenced this record a lot.

This album has been written over the past two years. Before that we were on tour fairly relentlessly so this was an opportunity to take some time off to just focus on writing.  I write in a way that is a form of digestion. I think that all the records have been a fundamental end result of the year I was writing them in.

Tell us about your creative process and what keeps you writing music and making albums:

It changes all the time. There are constants and I suppose the largest one is the question of why you need to do it in the first place.  I have theories on it. I've really learnt that it is something I need to do that helps me. The longer I do it, the more I can't do without it. I am so grateful that I can make music and spend my time on nothing but that.

The mysteries that attracted me to it in the beginning are not necessarily the same things that I find in it now.  There are many mysteries not only in writing but also in performing. These are all the things that make me want to keep making more records and playing more shows.

The Veils are now based in London. As an artist, what enticed you from New Zealand to the U.K and what keeps you there now? 

Initially we just came here because some people said they would put out our record so it was a very easy choice back then.  I've lived here for 12 years but for eight of those years I've been touring. It's really only in the last couple of years that I have really felt like I live in London. It's a really strange and complicated place and I have a very love hate relationship with it. I think because I've always been split between London and Auckland, two very different places, I've always longed for the other wherever I am.  I've grown up that way I suppose, not just with the locations but having my mother in one and my father in the other.

The reason I'm still here is that it's a great place to be located for the band. We play a lot in Europe and we play a lot in America so it's nice to be sandwiched between those two countries. The world feels very accessible from here I suppose.  I find London itself equally hellish and inspiring. It's a place I still feel like I'm learning a lot about. It's so vast and so complicated and weird and old and I still find a lot to love about it.

You grew up in Auckland. What are your thoughts on the current state of New Zealand music compared to what it was like back then?

I am quite out of touch with a lot of the newer bands that have come out over the last couple of years. I would say that when I was growing up, certainly when I first started playing music in my teens, there was really nothing that I felt that I could latch onto.  This was specifically Auckland in the late 90's. I never felt I could connect very well with the music that was going on at the time. I remember all the Flying Nun bands like The Bats and the Tall Dwarfs and in the 80's they seemed like the true musical height of New Zealand.

It always felt like a very laboured thing, you were told that you had to like a few New Zealand bands. It was the 90's and none of my friends wanted to listen to anything that was going on then. There were a few exceptions that I obviously hadn't discovered at that time.  However, with the amount of bands that are now making fantastically eccentric and interesting music I would say that this has totally transformed.  It's a very different place today. There are so many people from New Zealand coming out and doing so well overseas, it's great!

 You had a strong musical foundation in your family growing up. Your dad was a professional musician, how much did this influence your interest in music and your career as you got older?

When I was a kid musicians seemed like a terrifying, sickly bunch of people and I guess they were really, that's just the way it was. I think they are particularly terrifying when you are a child. I just didn't know all these strange people that kept hanging around. They all looked like they needed to look after themselves better. They said weird things and were all strangely dressed.

I lived in New Zealand for the lengthiest period from about 11 to 17 years old.. It was my mum who taught me a few simple chords on guitar. I started playing music and raiding her record collection. I think my dad has been more influential as I've gotten older but it was certainly mum who got me hooked on music in the first place.

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