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Bad Veins is a Band of Two and a Half ‘Men’

Published: Friday, May 25, 2012

Updated: Friday, May 25, 2012 19:05

Bad Veins

Roman Titus

When you see a megaphone, an actual telephone, and a reel-to-reel player on stage, you know the band is going to be interesting. Bad Veins is an indie-electo-pop band quite excellent at setting themselves apart. While it might all look like props on stage, they each play a part in a Bad Veins live show.

Guitarist/keyboardist/singer Benjamin Davis and drummer Sebastien Schultz command the stage with their “unofficial” third member Irene, a 1973 reel-to-reel player that holds all the instrumentation and choir the two human band members could not otherwise deliver alone.

Davis sings into a telephone and megaphone along with a regular microphone to achieve various vocal effects while Irene allows them to have an “unlimited palate of sounds.” Thanks to her efforts, the band doesn’t have to worry about expanding their band.

Their sophomore album, The Mess We’ve Made, was released earlier this year and it is both intricate and layered. The band said they worked on it obsessively and are excited to share it with their fans. Earlier this year, they toured with We Were Promised Jet Packs and, after their current headlining stint, will join Two Door Cinema Club and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

Talk about a good year.

College Times: Tell me about the new album.
Sebastien Schultz: We weren’t sure how we were going to record the second album and then we stumbled upon a really great studio that was super close to home. It was just over the river in Newport, Kentucky. That was an awesome experience because we got to stay at home and work on The Mess We’ve Made for a few months. After a couple months we got everything done and had the opportunity to let it sit for a month and come back to it, mix and sculpt, cut little pieces here, add little pieces there. That’s effectively the album that you hear now. We put a lot into it over a long period of time. Every day it was in the studio, a little later than bankers’ hours. That was just our life for a couple months. After spending so much time on it, it’s nice that we finally got the result that we wanted. We got the album that we had heard in our heads.

How did the new songs translate live?
We sort of work in reverse of other bands. We make the album first and then figure out how to translate it into a live setting. Most other bands will play live and figure out songs and debut them live to see what needs to be done to them, so that when they go to the studio they’ve got it figured out. We kind of take the studio time to figure everything out and make the album, and then after we say to ourselves, “Oh shit, how are we going to do this live? We better figure something out.” It’s actually been pretty seamless and a lot of fun, in fact. Any time you’re about to play a new song or debut any new material it can be a little bit nerve-racking. You have to give yourself some time to figure everything out and feel comfortable playing it. So far we’ve been super comfortable because we just had a tour where we got to try everything out and put together a really good set with the best songs off the first album and the best songs off of this album. It wasn’t as stressful as trying to put the first album into a live setting. [The Mess We’ve Made] translated really well and the songs have gotten a great response. Thankfully it’s gone much more smoothly than I anticipated.

Your live shows are pretty unique and fun. What’s it like to bring that energy every night?
It’s just as fun. I don’t think it would work if we faked it. It’s not really a question of having to flip a switch every night as much as that’s just inherently how we perform. It just goes to show that we really are passionate about the songs and our album. It’s always great playing for people that are fans already and it’s just as rewarding playing for people who have never heard it and seeing them light up and get really into some of the songs. The last tour with Jetpacks was great, having a mix of fans that knew us and people who hadn’t seen us before and winning them over. Touring is a lot of work but certainly rewarding at the same time.

Bad Veins, w/Boga Via, Sail Inn, May 29. 8 p.m., $8-$10

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