Can you imagine a record label giving one of their bands a better compliment than releasing their album without asking them to change a note? Well that’s exactly the tip of the hat that Dangerbird Records gave to Cincinnati, Ohio duo Bad Veins.
I wonder what it was that compelled the Silverlake, CA label to sign the band. The buzz surrounding their live shows? The five-figure grants and product endorsements the group received soon after forming? Their being touted as the “the breakout act of [CMJ]” on the festival’s website? Whatever it was, two years after joining musical forces, Benjamin Davis and Sebastien Schultz are now labelmates with Silversun Pickups and spreading the buzz on a cross-country tour in support of their self-titled debut. They’ll be playing in LA on October 20th, so get out to the Echo and experience the duo for yourself.
Schultz was kind enough to talk to LA Music Blog about life on the road, their fans down under, and the season that 2009 skipped.
How has the tour been so far?
Tour’s been great so far. It’s our second national tour. We had a great tour last month touring around the whole country. We’ve inherently learned some lessons. This tour has been a lot smoother, and it’s been going great. We’ve had some good responses in the larger and smaller markets, winning over fans, and it’s been a good tour.
What would you say that some of the highlights of this tour have been for you?
Highlight of this tour is that it’s running a lot smoother than the last tour. We’re in tour mode now. We seem to have a very refined machine that’s in process. We wake up in the hotel, get going, drive to the club, load in, play the show, and get out of town. We learned a lot in the last couple months about national tours, so it’s been going well. We did have some great shows in Chicago. Denver’s always been a great city to us. A lot of enthusiastic people, the show went great, and the sound is great there. Those cities are definitely highlights so far.
What would you say is your favorite part of touring?
I’m a big fan of traveling, and luckily our profession is to travel. Going into new cities every day and meeting new people and seeing the sites. Ben and I are fairly touristy, I would say. I don’t think that we’re too cool to admit to that. So whenever we get to, we do fun stuff like St. Louis go up in the Arch, Chicago’s Sears tower, Space Needle, which we didn’t get to do this time, so I hope that we get to next time. Just seeing the country. You get to see a lot of things and are exposed to a lot of things that others don’t. I think a lot of people think that America is just one big homogenous country from coast to coast, but you definitely see different aspects of it that you wouldn’t otherwise see.
On the opposite side, what would you say is your least favorite part of touring?
Least favorite part is definitely long drive times. Having to drive 8 hours between shows every day. We wake up in the hotel, jump in the van for 8 hours, load into the venue, play the show, and load up afterwards. It’s a lot of fun to be on the road, but it kind of takes it toll riding in the van 8-9 hours a day. Oh yeah, and snow. We left Cincinnati beginning of October, and Oct. 9th, which would be like a mild fall, wear a sweater type of thing, in Nebraska, we had a night off. We got out of a movie and there was a blizzard outside. It was 19 degrees and snowing. Two days later we actually hit a whiteout on the highway in Wyoming. Total snow covered everywhere, whiteout, blizzard, and stuck in traffic. So we pretty much missed out on fall and went from summer to winter. It was crazy, and something that I’ve never experienced that early in the season before.
You guys only have a few weeks left on the tour, is that correct?
Yeah, we have until the 30th of October. So yes, a couple weeks left. It’s crazy. We’re about half way done. You get in this routine and you just keep doing what you’re doing, and before you know it, you’re half way done with the tour.
What are some plans that you have once the tour wraps up?
Immediate plans that Ben and I have are to rest and recuperate because at that point, it will have been a couple months that we’ve been on tour and been on the road. We’re definitely going to meet up with family and friends, spend some time with them, and recuperate. We have some things in the works for the next couple months and some smaller shows. We’re hopefully going to work on some maybe Christmas songs and maybe some other potential songs that we might work on with some other people. Hopefully we will be a little more creative now that we have some time off. We’ll see how it goes. Hopefully we’ll be in Australia early next year. I guess the album is doing fairly well over there, so hopefully we’ll get over there fairly soon.
When it comes down to it, do you prefer playing live or working in the studio?
I think it’s a little bit of both. Live performance is a big part of what we do and how we exist. There’s always the aspect of being in the studio, creating, and refining a song to a point where you feel excited. The moment where you’re excited and you’re like “Yeah, that’s it” and everything’s clicking. There’s definitely aspects to both. Playing live is very gratifying of course, but coming up with new material that you feel excited and passionate about and that you want to play live is equally gratifying.
Considering that it’s the two of you as the main songwriters, what would you say the songwriting process is like?
Well, it starts off with Ben coming up with whatever melodies he envisions and throwing a rough template down. He brings that to me, and I’ll add percussion arrangements to it. So it starts with Ben, and I get brought into it, then we iron out all the details. Then when we go into the studio, there are different aspects that will be added or taken away. Once we’re in the studio, producing the album or whatever song, you have unlimited instruments, all sorts of ideas hit you that maybe didn’t hit you when you’re at home.
When can your fans see you live in LA?
LA is the 20th of October, and that’s going to be at the Echo. Anyone and everyone is invited.
What are your current favorite albums?
Currently I’ve been listening to a band from San Francisco by the name of Love Like Fire. We just met them on the last tour, and they toured with us on the west coast. We had never heard or met them before, hadn’t checked them out, and then we met up with them, and they are fantastic people and the nicest people in the world. Since then we’ve become very close friends with them. They have an amazing album that just came out in the UK, on HighStar Hit Records, and that should be coming out in the States very soon. Love Like Fire from San Francisco is a great band.
Also been listening to a band called You, You’re Awesome from Cincinnati, and they’re electronic. They’re great guys, and friends of ours. They do a lot of remixes for UK bands and bands in the States, so they’re doing a lot of good things. We Were Promised Jet Packs from Scotland is a band that we’ve played with a couple times, and this guy has really impressed me. Also, Johann Johannsson, who lives in Denmark or Norway now, and is a member of the Apparat Organ Quartet and also a composer.
Is there anything else that you’d like to say to your fans?
A big thank you for coming out to our shows, and thank you for continued support. Hopefully we’ll play a lot more shows in LA.
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