On a sunny afternoon in the creative oven of MelloMello, Chris Beesley and Adam Bresnen from new Merseyside band VEYU are lamenting the surprising difficulty in forming a band in Liverpool.
“It might seem easy, but for our band we wanted each member to tick all the boxes: they had to be committed, we needed to get on, and, most importantly, they needed to be on the same page musically,” says Beesley, one-half of this song-writing, guitar-playing partnership. Veyu play FestEvol this month in one of their first gigs with a line-up that they hope will last and see the band solidify their style and burgeoning reputation. Beesley explains: “Adam and I have been writing on and off for two years and in that time the band has gone through a few changes musically, personnel-wise, and with the name.” We’ll come back to the name.
Beesley met Bresnen (both Vocals, Guitar) after he answered the latter’s advert in the window of Keith’s bar on Lark Lane. The pair bonded over a love of 80s pop and post-punk and soon got to work on what would eventually evolve into Veyu. After two years of the pair sending demos to each other, developing live sets only to scrap them for new ones, and practising in Fallout Factory art gallery on Dale Street, they teamed up with Bresnen’s friend Tom McCabe (Drums), Donovan Collins (Synths) and James Tidd (Bass) and recorded three songs for the world to hear on Soundcloud.
The three songs were recorded in March this year in the band members’ homes and put together for as little cost as possible. It is a testament to this DIY approach that the songs led to a rave review and an invitation to the Wirral festival, Astral Coast. It’s clear why people are excited about the band on the back of just three tunes. Lead track Running is a synthy stormer and more in keeping with the path the band is trying to forge, whereas Morning Light has a definite Fleet Foxes feel to it and Shadows is an atmospheric hymn of blessed-out echoey vocals. Despite varying in style and genre, all the songs show an assuredness and focus and this is apparent upon meeting the two frontmen.
With the 80s influences of bands like New Order and a healthy seam of Bowie, Veyu are contrarily – but inevitably – very now. This, it seems, is by pure coincidence. With the exception of Arcade Fire and perhaps indie bands like DIIV and Wild Nothing, whom the band cite as influences, the pair do not tend to keep track of current musical trends. Bresnen admits he prefers to “keep myself to myself and not get too influenced by stuff of the moment.” Beesley adds: “We don’t really keep our finger on the pulse and that’s not a deliberate decision, we just prefer to concentrate on the music that we are making or hear recommendations from friends rather than reading NME or Pitchfork.”
It is this single-mindedness which may see Veyu follow in the footsteps of fellow Wirral dwellers Loved Ones and By The Sea, and receive recognition on a national level. While they still may be finding their feet as a unit, the duo have firm thoughts on what they want the band to be about. “It’s the reverby sound we are into,” says Beesley, returning to his favourite subject. “We want to do something different and that’s why we like the ethos of bands like Radiohead and Bowie; we tend to keep it gritty and shawdowy.”
The band name also feeds into this desire to create something new and unique. “Our only criterion for a name was to have something made up. That way it would mean whatever we wanted it to mean, and there would be no existing connotations to the sort of music we play,” says Beesley, before adding they also took into account the fact that ‘V’ is obviously the coolest letter.
On the hottest weekend of the year, when Andy Murray is winning Wimbledon, it seems strange to be talking about dark and shadowy music. Although Running is, on the face of it, relatively upbeat, there is a definite autumnal feel to Veyu’s sound. Beesley puts this down to the songwriters’ origins: “Adam’s from Wallasey and I’m from Fleetwood, a peninsula seaside town on the wrong side of Blackpool. Both are towns that have had their time. Every time I go back to Fleetwood a bit more of it has closed down. It’s sad really but I think that urban decay feeds into our sound.” It is certainly difficult to imagine celebrations on Henman Hill being soundtracked by introspective lyrics about finding one’s way in the darkness and the wind cutting through winter coats.
With the tracks online and festival slots arranged for the summer, Veyu are hoping they can push forward as a unit despite the logistical difficulties of getting all the band in the same room. “It can be like trying to reform The Smiths every time we want to practice as everyone has their own commitments but it is definitely worth it when we do get together,” says Beesley. The band are also fortunate to have, in Bresnen’s Fallout Factory art gallery, a practice space which they use for rehearsals, and which will eventually play home to gig nights. “That’s the plan,” says Adam excitedly, “Veyu will obviously be the first band to play.”
You may not have heard Veyu before – and if not, you certainly won’t have heard the word before – but it seems that Veyu might be the name on everyone’s lips come the winter time.