SXSW Interview: Bad Veins


Still promoting their newest record, The Mess We’ve Made, Bad Veins was ready to take SXSW by storm and show Austin music festival goers what they have to offer. 

Is this your first time at SXSW?

It’s our first year playing but it’s not our first time attending. The best part about SXSW is leaving the cold and coming into the warmer weather. You probably don’t know what I’m talking about but it’s a big deal to us! There was one year that we left during a snow emergency in Cincinnati and there was a foot of snow, literally illegal to drive! But we got in the van and drove south to Austin and it was 100 degrees outside.


On the album The Mess We’ve Made that was released in 2012, what kind of feedback did you get?

Amazing, amazing! It was incredible, the first album we put out was a self-titled and it was kind of a dirty, crunchy wall sound [laughs] and a lot of hipster indie rock people liked it. But then I got obsessed with some pop stuff and we tied it into our sound. We kind of changed career trajectories, it was a little turn.


Is there anything in the works with you two?

Yes! We are currently working on new music, so far so good! It sounds like a blend of the two albums, best of both worlds!


Who does most of the lyric writing?

Me (Benjamin). I write the skeleton of the song and bring it in then we flush it. I’ve been told that the common threads seem to be “You’re a mess, I’m a mess, we are all screw ups!” We are going to have quite a few different sounds for different settings.


You two sport vintage military clothing while performing, how did that start?

It started with my father giving me a Vietnam service jacket when I was a kid and I wore it all through high school. I started wearing it as my uniform when we started playing; it’s just a jacket. I wear jeans and any tee under it though. Bad Veins started as a solo project and whenever I added a drummer, I told Jake that he should wear military themed attire too! He went to an army thrift store and found something. It became a thing with us immediately.


When performing, you sing with a telephone. What made you decide to use that while playing live?

Well, I started off with a megaphone. I would pull it out and scream for some dirty wall sound. So then I wanted to get that sound while playing guitar so I figured a telephone would do the same thing. I got a telephone and spliced the wires until it started working! After I fixed it up I started singing through the phone during some songs.


You utilize an old reel-to-reel named Irene for backing tracks, who brought that into the group and named it?

It was mine (Benjamin) and I named it, I can’t tell you how I got that name though it’s a secret. She’s real cute! My dad gave it to me because he didn’t want it anymore so he figured I would want it. Since BV started as a solo project I had this idea to make complicated arrangements. I didn’t expect to use it live until a friend told me to open for him and I got the idea to put all of my tracks on the reel-to-reel and add a drummer, which created Bad Veins.


You like the show Lost, what did you think about the ending? Jake isn’t a fan of it unfortunately but you kept up with it?

I was so pissed, how could you do this to my beloved Lost?! I have friends who were equally obsessed who were happy with the ending. I saw the premier of season 2 on TV, so I went out and bought season 1 and watched it until I saw episode 2 the following week then watched it normally week by week.


What piece of advice do you take think about before each show?
Someone came up to me before we were about to play an awful show and said, “Bad Veins is bigger than any one show.”


When do you think you played your best show?

The question is when did it not happen? I always play my best shows! [Laughs] I don’t know, I feel like I mess it up every time!

Big Picture Media Press Day 2014


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