Brooklyn’s Veda Rays premiere their new video for “Dissonance” off the forthcoming LP, which is scheduled to be released later this year. Veda Rays began as a modern extension of traditional dream pop, indie & post punk. They’ve since developed a unique voice through several years of sonic explorations, making their own records, and filing through the ranks of the Brooklyn DIY scene. The bands 2018 LP, For The Rest To Rest, received critical praise from notable outlets such as CVLT Nation, DIY Mag, Post-Punk.com, The Deli NYC & many others.
“We are excited to release our new video for “Dissonance”. The track blends the urgency of post-punk, the atmosphere of dream rock, and the song craft of indie. The lyrics explore the process of attempting to reconcile so many seemingly contradictory elements in these strange times. The imagery expands on this concept in many interesting ways. There is A LOT going on in the video, so repeat viewings are a must.” ~ via Veda Rays press release
Not only are Veda Rays premiering their new video for ‘Dissonance’ with us today but also graciously took the time to answer a few questions for Torched. They go into their inspiration for the new video, thoughts on riding the wave of the Post-Punk resurgence, what fans can expect from the impending new full length album, share upcoming live show dates.. and more!
Did you grow up in a musical environment? When and where did it all start for you?
James: I did, in terms of having a lot of exposure to music. No one in my family really played any instruments or anything, but there were a few acoustic guitars laying around. I think every person in my family had their own record collections.
I believe I inherited that value very early on: that music, and the culture of popular music, was very important and was a big part of life. My family was very supportive when I started taking a serious interest. My dad got me my first electric guitar while I was still in elementary school. Later, my grandfather got me a Marshall stack. I was using two tape recorders to make primitive multi-track recordings for years before I got my first proper 4-track. My grandmother paid for vocal lessons. I had other support through my community. My middle school chorus teacher helped me along and introduced me to my first musical guru, who was the son of another teacher at the school. He was an older kid and had already graduated high school early at the time. There was a magnet program for performing arts in high school, which I was able to attend. Half the school day was music classes. Thanks for this question. I am working on cultivating more gratitude in my heart these days, and answering this question is connecting me to a lot of it right now!
Maria: My grandmother on my father’s side had a really cool, old Wurlitzer organ called a “Funmaker.” As a little kid, I used to love fooling around on it because it had a bunch of colorful switches and built-in tempos, although I never learned anything on it beyond some Christmas carols. Otherwise, I didn’t really grow up in a musical environment, and kind of half-heartedly learned the flute and guitar before discarding both for many years. I didn’t really get serious about playing music until I met James.
What was your inspiration behind the new single ‘Dissonance’?
James: There is a long-running theme through all the Veda Rays material of ideas shaping reality, for better or ill. Particularly in the form of information being broadcast, images being projected, and symbols being wrought and sent forth into the ether. There is a quote by William S. Burroughs which goes something like, “He who controls the media, controls reality.” The jumping off point for this song was very much in line with that. Considering everything that has been going on over the last many years, it was the feeling of having a front row seat to watch the spectacle unfold. And the awareness of a quickening taking place.
Are your lyrics generic or based on real experiences?
James: I mean, they’re based on my actual experiences in terms of how they come to be. Sometimes they are expressed directly but most of the time they are at least partially veiled in abstraction. I don’t do that for the sake of it, I do it because it suits my sensibilities and tastes. I suppose part of it has to do with the feeling that the words will always fall short. There is something transcendent and ultimately inexpressible I am always reaching for, and I intuitively feel that a certain amount of elegance and open endedness leaves room for the listener’s own numinous awareness to fill in the gaps.
Maria: The lyrics explore the haphazard process of attempting to reconcile a plethora of seemingly contradictory elements in these strange times. Through visual imagery the video expands upon the theme in many interesting ways. Graffitied borderlands between urban decay and the natural world become metaphors for the changing, ever-mutating landscapes of perception. The constant and quickening flow of information is mirrored in the perpetual motion: over roadways and bridges, behind floating screens of varying hues, through dark woods at night, and up twisting stairways of towers leading to nowhere but open sky overlooking city and sea.
Veda Rays are riding on a wave of a post-punk/alt music revival. What are your thoughts on this resurgence?
James: There is always an ebb and flow to things but I stopped trying to figure it out a long while ago. These are strange times. So many of the genre tags are semi-meaningless now. But if we’re on a third or fourth wave of post-punk/alt music revival, it suits me fine. I feel like things are maybe a little better than they were a couple years ago.
Maria: Post-punk is my favorite genre of music and it’s reassuring that its well hasn’t emptied yet. Part of me is kind of chronically cynical, particularly in regards to music, but I feel there is still a lot of post-punk or post-punk derived music out there that is still experimenting with and transfiguring the genre in exciting ways. Case in point – I spent much of last year listening almost exclusively to Protomartyr, Preoccupations, Ought, and Fontaines DC, just a few of my favorites from this latest wave.
What can fans expect from your upcoming full album release?
James: They can expect the best, most realized Veda Rays material to date. I think it’s a fine document of the culmination of a certain era for us. I’m still trying to come up with an album title. I listened to it for the first time in a while the other night. Despite having Rose Likes Leather, Dissonance, and a few other lighter tracks, I find it to be a pretty emotionally heavy record, vibe-wise. That might just be me, though. I know it’s a tall order for the present times but I hope a lot of people get to listen to the whole thing undistracted, on headphones or good speakers. I think it stirs up psychic sediment, rouses sleeping shadows. We all need to stare into the abyss sometimes, right?!
Who or what are some of your creative influences?
James: I like the way you phrased that question. I just started reading The Esoteric Secrets of Surrealism by Patrick Lepetit which contains, “…excerpts from noted surrealists commenting directly on the subject at hand, whether it be divination, astrology, dark romanticism, the Celtic world, or alchemy, magic, Voudoun, Gnosticism, and mythopoesis.” This is a good example of the sort of things that influence me. I like intersections of art, the occult, politics, pop culture, religion, quantum science, alternative history, fringe theory…anything wonderful and strange.
Maria: I guess due to the social isolation aspect of the pandemic, I’ve kind of loosened my grip on the role models and icons I used to cling to. My interests and influences have shifted more to liminal spaces, landscapes, and bygone architectural movements. That probably sounds incredibly pretentious, but I guess it’s a good way to disassociate from current trends and also works in inspiring us to interpret that kind of displacement musically. All that said, it would be remiss to not mention David Lynch as my #1 influence in basically all aspects of life!
Do you have any plans for live shows in the near future? Is so, when and where?
James: We are finally starting to reformulate that aspect of Veda Rays. The first scheduled show for 2021 so far is in September here in Philly at PhilaMOCA, which we are really looking forward to.
Maria: PhilaMOCA is short for the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art. It’s a former mausoleum showroom that was converted into a show space and hosts events like the annual David Lynch celebration, Eraserhood. Needless to say, it sounds like our ideal spot!
Is there anything that you would like to share that I may have missed?
James: The only thing I would add for anyone reading this and perhaps discovering the band, is to please follow Veda Rays on Spotify, Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, and/ or our official site. Times are tough for artists post-pandemic and every little bit of support helps us continue doing what we do. Thank You!!
Keep up with Veda Rays