Bad Veins excited for new album, Boston show

, Contributing Writer

After touring with the likes of Frightened Rabbit, We Were Promised Jetpacks and Maps & Atlases in the past, Bad Veins will make their first headlining appearance in Boston on Sunday with a show at Great Scott.

Bad Veins are currently on the road to promote their highly anticipated sophomore album The Mess We’ve Made, which is scheduled to hit stores on April 24. After forming in 2006, the Cincinnati-based rockers gathered a sizable following thanks to their energetic live performances even before releasing their self-titled debut album three years later. The band is comprised of vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Benjamin Davis and drummer Sebastien Schultz, but they’re hesitant to call themselves a duo. Their third unofficial member is a reel-to-reel tape player named Irene, which accompanies them at all performances and allows the pair to deliver the sound of a full band.

With all that in mind, we caught up with Davis earlier this week to get his thoughts on the album, tour and Bad Veins’ future.

Boston Music Spotlight (BMS): Your sophomore album, The Mess We’ve Made, will be released later this month. How do you feel the band has evolved since your debut?

Benjamin Davis (BD): Most of the first record was written before Sebastien joined the band, so the first record was really a result of adding Sebastien and his specific way of playing to a collection of songs that were written without him in mind. This time around, Seb was around obviously, so when I wrote this time, I kind of knew what he’d be adding to it. That kind of goes for performing as well now that I think about it. We knew what our live performance was going to be like, and I wrote an album for it, instead of figuring out how to perform material that I’d already written. Maybe I’m looking at it backwards…

BMS: A lot of people say your second album is the toughest to record. How did you find the recording process this time around?

BD: We spent three months in the studio, which is kind of unheard of for a lot of bands our size. I don’t know if the record required that kind of attention, or I just move slowly. If you mean ‘you’ generically, as in ‘bands have a tough time with their 2nd record’, I’d say, no. I think this was a more enjoyable process than our first album.

BMS: Where they any obstacles you faced with the debut album that better prepared you for this one?

BD: We made this record in our home town, Cincinnati (well Newport, KY, across the river) whereas we did our first album in Richmond, Virginia and LA. When you record at home, everything seems so much more relaxed. I’d go home and sleep in my own bed and play with my cats. I guess the answer is no. This album was easier, but not because I’d actually learned anything! I will not stand behind my answer. I might change my mind.

BMS: what were you looking to achieve with this with the album? (in terms of the music and lyrics)

BD: I think that lyrically, I can’t help but write about how I feel about my life at the moment. The first record was a lot about trying to figure out what I wanted to do with myself. This record seems to be more about the fact that no one else knows what they’re doing either. We can all be aimless together.

BMS: Are there any tracks you are particularly proud of?

BD: That is like trying to ask if I have a favorite child, so of course there are, but I could never say. I’m happier with different songs on different days.

BMS: As you continue to grow as a band, what has been the biggest challenge to building your name on the national stage?

BD: We’ve always been fairly successful at winning over fans if we can get in front of them, but that is the hardest part: getting in front of people. We’ve been very fortunate with making friends with bands with larger audiences. As I do this interview, I’m in the green room of a club in Connecticut, hanging out with We Were Promised Jetpacks (they’re debating passenger plane sizes) but we’ve been very fortunate to be invited to tour with bands like theirs, as well as Two Door Cinema Club, Frightened Rabbit, and others.

BMS:  You have something pretty unique going with your use of the reel-to-reel tape player. Explain how essential this is to the band and how “Irene”‘s role has changed at all over the years?

BD: I don’t think Irene’s roll has changed at all really. It is, however, pretty essential to our show. It’s a bit of a deus ex machina in that we have no rules as to what we can’t do live. Flutes, strings, choirs, brass, bass, synths? Whatever we want to do live, we’ll throw it on Irene.

BMS: Looking ahead, do you see the band expanding with more members or will your remain a duo?

BD: I think it could be fun to add other members down the road, but there is no plan to that right now whatsoever.

BMS: How is the tour going thus far and What can fans expect from your upcoming show in Boston?

BD: Well this is the first time we’ve headlined in Boston, and I don’t know what to expect really. We’ve played some well attended shows in Boston, but I really have no clue how many people are interested in seeing us. We will be playing about half of our new record, and half of the first record. Maybe an encore? maybe?

BMS: Anything else you’d like our readers to know?

BD: We’re here to make friends.

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