Following the release of a bold new track last September—the popular radio hit “Flare of Defiance”—Portland, Oregon’s alt metal-prog hard rockers Veio are set to release their new album Vitruvian on June 19 through Silent Majority Group.
“The themes and emotions distinctly expressed on this record are defiance, self-ownership, spirituality, anxiety and depression, deceit, bloodlust, grief and awe and wonder,” says bassist/vocalist Kris Lewis who joins brothers Cameron Byrd (vocals/guitar) and Brett Byrd (drums) in the project, which is named for an Etruscan city-state during the time of the Roman Empire.
Ignite was lucky enough to get an interview with the band to learn more about what is going on with them and what is new!!…the questions were answered by singer/guitarist Cameron Byrd .
Tell us a little bit about the band and how long you have been together for some of our readers that may not know about the band?
Our weird band name is pronounced Vay-Oh and we are happy that you’re reading about us! We hail from the city of Portland, Oregon and have been together for about four years now. We’re just some normal dudes who like sports, the outdoors, and enjoy writing and performing music. Music is something we’ve all done since childhood and we’re just continuing on with our love and passion for it.
What is new with the band?..New Album out? New Videos?
Given the current state of national and world affairs, we’re sitting at home just like everyone else, BUT our new record, Vitruvian, is due out June 19th. Late last year we released a video for the lead track “Flare of Defiance” and will soon release a second video for our latest single called “Crux.” Our team at Totally Serious Productions does a great job with a lot of our visual media and we couldn’t be happier with the new video. Hopefully some new show dates can be posted soon after all this subsides.
With all this madness going on with the virus…What do you think the music scene will be like in the future…and how are you prepared to make your music heard if there will not be any concerts or festivals for the year of 2020?
It’s really hard to tell right now, but the world of live entertainment will go back to normal at some point. What we are dealing with is a temporary headache but it has also been affecting artists in a tremendous way. A lot of people in the music industry make their living from playing gigs and that obviously came to a grinding halt quickly. It is really disappointing to be dropping an album and then not being able to immediately tour and play the new material for our fans. We are prepared to do what we can to get this new music out there so stay tuned for possibilities like even more music videos, streamed performances, and other creative endeavors we come up with for the people.
What got you into music and what is your earliest memory of when you told yourself…”THIS IS WHAT I WANT”?
As the vocalist and a guitar player in Veio, I knew music was something I wanted to pursue in some capacity from an early age. My family (including our drummer) moved into a home when we were very young that had a piano left behind in it. I started banging around on that at five years old and soon started taking lessons. At 11 years old I picked up the guitar (along with my nine-year-old little brother on drums) and we started jamming in the basement. After that it was teen bands and playing underage shows at of-age venues for a while while dreaming of James or Kirk going down for the count and me taking their place in Metallica.
Who was your first concert and what is your best memory?
My first show was AC/DC at the arena here in Portland. I grew up on classic rock so that was killer for me! I remember the incredible stage props that they used and Angus running down a steel spiral staircase, grinding his fret board with sparks flying the entire way down. It was an insane start to concerts for me! Luckily my dad, brother, and I are into mostly the same stuff so a lot of shows have been a family experience. We JUST caught the last Tool show before the whole world shut down.
If you didn’t become a musician, what would you be doing right now?
That is somewhat hard to say for me. I’ve been pursuing music for a long time now and it has always been a main dream and focus of mine. I was an athlete growing up and through college, and I coached at the varsity level for a couple years thereafter so coaching and mentoring kids and young athletes is something that I hope to possibly continue doing in the future as well.
On a scale of 1 to 2593, How good is your newest single compared to your last single? (my attempt at humor, but please still answer)
2593! No…we’re really happy with the way this whole album has turned out! “Crux” is a song that we consider one of the more “rock n roll” type tracks on the new record. Power chords, high energy grooves, and a (hopefully) ear-catching chorus are all features of the song. Go check out both the “Crux” and “Flare of Defiance” videos and YOU tell us.
What do you feel is the best song you have released to date and why?
For me, it’s hard to say. I definitely have my favorites, especially to play live. A lot of our music changes dramatically in feel and emotion from song to song or even all in the same song so I also have different favorites from different angles. “Structures” is the first “single” and video we did with this band and that holds a nostalgic place in my heart. On this new record, we round out the whole thing with a nine-minute bout of epicness called “Centauri.” We have yet to play it live but I’m counting that as my new favorite for now.
Do you think you can get any better as a musician/singer? And if so, how would you achieve that?
Oh yes! There is always room to grow. I’ve noticed that for a while there, I hadn’t bettered myself as a guitar player at all because I was a “vocalist who plays guitar.” Over the past year or two I have been putting more effort into guitar however (especially during this quarantine) and more practice and stretching yourself into hard and uncomfortable new methods and techniques is always rewarding. I think the challenge for me as a vocalist is staying creative with my approach to melodies and rhythms and deviating from approaches that I could easily continue to write in.
If you could give your fans one random fact about you that you think they should (or should “not” know) about you what would that be?
Oh man… I don’t think there is one thing that’s too crazy. But as I mentioned above, I’ve always been an athlete. I grew up playing baseball and basketball with several years of martial arts mixed in there. I played basketball in college (with two seasons of baseball managed to be sprinkled in) and am currently a fairly avid outdoorsman. I love to fish and have even done Veio Facebook Live streams while doing so!
You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
Black…cuz that’s rock n roll, right? Black is basically the only color that I wear and the color of my newest guitar (shoutout Ormsby). So yeah, hopefully this answer isn’t too boring.
Who are you inspired by?
I’m inspired by a lot of different people and things. With music my first major inspiration was Hendrix. The man embodied rock n roll and was basically the coolest dude ever. Some other musical influences over the years span a large range with the likes of Alice in Chains and Tool to Parliament-Funkadelic to Mobb Deep and Biggie and back around again to Animals as Leaders and Meshuggah. I’m also a competitive person by nature so guys like Michael Jordan, Nolan Ryan, and Ken Griffey Jr are up there on the list. A fun “secret” I guess I can indulge with is that I’m also very inspired by nature, animals, and the outdoors. Again, listen to my favorite new track “Centauri” and see for yourself.
What’s an average day like one tour? And what about these days?
We love touring but it’s also a lot of hurry-up-and-wait. Especially because we don’t currently hire a professional driver, there is a lot of time behind the wheel ourselves. It’s drive, drive, drive, get gas, drive some more, get to the venue and load-in and soundcheck and then wait some more to play our set. Then, 25-45 minutes of performance later, we’re loading back up and start the whole thing over again. It’s a ton of fun and a lot of work, but we love doing it and love the fan interaction.
These days we’re just like everyone else. I’m mostly sitting at home playing guitar, wasting time on the internet, or trying to get at-home workouts in (mostly failing at that however). I have managed to get out into the woods a bit, however, so that part is keeping me sane.
Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans?
We’re the type of band that has a decent amount of fan interaction while on stage. We don’t have much of a choreographed show and we enjoy feeling the energy of the music right there alongside the audience. It’s great to be in a room where the people are somewhat as much of the performance as we are. It definitely adds to the energy of the show rather than being up there and hiding in the shadows or sticking to a script. We also appreciate the interaction at merch, outside the venue, back at the bus bay, or anywhere for that matter! To know that people enjoy our music makes a lot of what we do worthwhile and vice versa knowing that we can help enrich their life as well.
We also try our best to interact from our social media accounts as well. It’s great that in this day and age so many artists can speak directly with their fans!
Have you ever dealt with performance anxiety?
I don’t think any of us really struggle with being up in front of people. I think the bigger the crowd, the more energy we actually get as individuals and as a group. We seem to lock in more when the lights get brighter so that part is definitely a plus. As a vocalist, really the only anxieties I get while on tour is if my voice is going to hold up. Being “the human instrument,” it can sometimes be difficult singing night after night, not getting normal sleep, sometimes not getting proper exercise or nutrition. Sometimes you get sick too. I remember a couple tours back, a certain individual (I won’t name names…Mark Tremonti) gave a significant portion of the tour a bad cold. I was pretty sick and my throat was on fire and we had to go play The Tabernacle in Atlanta. My voice was absolutely shot and it just sounded like I was screeching the entire set. Nearing one of our last songs, our bass player Kris took the opportunity to announce to the 2,500 people there that night that I was battling a bad cold. The crowd erupted in thunderous applause and they were super energetic and supportive for our last couple songs. Those are the kinds of things that subdue said anxieties.
Tell me about your favorite performance venues?
The Tabernacle has to be up there. That crowd was amazing and the house engineer told us some real creepy haunted stories about the venue! Stage AE in Pittsburgh is always fantastic and sits in a really cool spot in the city. Any House of Blues is always pretty cool as are the Knitting Factories. The Roseland Theater here in Portland has to be up there for us as well because it’s our home turf.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
I don’t have a ton of profound advice, but younger musicians should know that this stuff takes time. There aren’t a whole lot of bands out there that “blow up” right away. Can good things happen quickly? Of course! But a lot of artists have an expectation that because they have a quality product to put out there that they’ll climb to the top right away and that just isn’t really the case. Patience and continually crafting your art, sound, image, performance, or whatever else is key. Like the guys at my first concert ever said, “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock n roll.”
Vitruvian was recorded over a year-and-a-half with Stephan Hawkes (Chelsea Grin, Attila, I Declare War) at Interlace Audio in Portland, with additional production by Sylvia Massy (Tool, System of a Down) who has called Veio “the loudest band” she ever recorded. To her point, the cops were called as the band tracked drum parts.
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