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A Dirty Dozen with KRIS LEWIS from VEIO – June 2020

| 30 June 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Portland, Oregon’s alt metal/prog rockers Veio today release the explosive music video for the brand-new single “Crux.” It’s the second track to be released from their upcoming album Vitruvian, out on June 19 through Silent Majority Group and follows the band’s benchmark achievement of amassing more than 1 million streams on Spotify this spring. Vitruvian is inspired by the name of a famous sketch from Leonardo da Vinci in 1490, and the band has conceptualized and translated the artist’s legendary “proportions of man” into a sonic interpretation on the album by giving each song a theme, emotion and proportion of its own.” We get bassist Kris to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

We are very excited about releasing Vitruvian. We’ve been working on it for over a year, and wanted this album to be a more focused version of our previous release while pushing ourselves to do something we’ve never done before on each track. Whether it be a style of a riff, or sound or vocal idea. I think there are definitely new sounds and background things that people might miss the first time through. There are a lot of different time signature changes that might not be apparent on a first pass as well. One that gets missed all the time is “Flare of Defiance.” The main riff is in 5/4 while the snare drum is keeping an even meter.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I got into playing music from my grandfather. He taught me how to play when I was 10 and the first song I learned was “Puff The Magic Dragon.” He really got me into a lot of great classic rock, jazz and blues guitarists. I realized I wanted to try and make this more than a hobby really after joining Veio. The reaction we got after a couple shows really made me feel like we had something special with our group. There’s nothing that I’ve experienced that’s quite like the feeling of being on stage and rocking out with the fans in the audience.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

We definitely pull influence and ideas from a lot of artists we like. Classic rock bands all the way through today. Both musically and otherwise. In the current rock/metal space we tend to be drawn to artists who are pushing the boundaries and keeping things fresh and unique. Guitar led music has been around a while and we still have people pushing the limits on how to play the instrument and what kind of sounds can be created with it.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Personally I’m a huge fan of Thrice. The way they’ve been able to change their sound album to album and still maintain their fan base is remarkable. They’re amazing songwriters and musicians. We’re all pretty big fans of Karnivool, we wouldn’t be a band if it wasn’t for them. I answered a Craigslist ad to join Veio because one of the bands they listed as an influence was Karnivool. If you don’t know who they are check out the album Sound Awake, it definitely changed the way I heard and understood music. Meshuggah is another band we all really like, they’ve inspired a whole generation of music. Amazing heavy music and an insane live show, and they have been doing it a long time. Along those same lines we’re all big fans of Tool. Like Meshuggah, they also inspired a lot of rock musicians today and it goes without saying they’re definitely one of the most notable acts around and have been doing it for almost 30 years. Finally, another band that really inspires us is Tesseract. Probably the least known band of the five I listed. They are a must listen if you haven’t heard of them.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I’d love to do a song with Mark Tremonti. We got to know him a bit on tour and he’s just an all around great musician and person. Very laid back and down to earth for being one of the biggest rock musicians around. Him, his band and crew were all really great to work with and very nice to us.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

The genre description I tell people is progressive hard rock. Being more descriptive I would say that each song we write tries to tell a story and have its own theme. We believe that music should be emotive. If you’re listening to something and not feeling it, then what’s the point? We definitely get our fair share of haters that like to comment on things we do. We tend to brush those kinds of things off, everybody has their own opinion and we don’t think our music is for everyone. We’ve gotten some pretty strange comparisons and some bad reviews for sure. We tend to just laugh it off and not take it too seriously. Our fans enjoy what we do and that’s who we make music for.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I’m definitely the cook of the group and probably guilty of breaking out the drinks half the time. I like doing crock pot stuff on the road, it’s great to put something in right before soundcheck then by the time you’re off stage it’s done. Our vocalist Cam is the only one that can actually sing in the band so if there’s someone singing it’s him.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

When we toured with Mark Tremonti. The first time I actually saw him was after the first show. Growing up he was definitely someone I looked up to as a musician and I was really looking forward to meeting him. We were walking off-stage right after we played and he said, “Hey man that was really good, you guys rock” and I was caught so off-guard that I don’t even think I mumbled back anything that sounded like language.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Because of COVID I’ve started up work again until we can get back on tour. When I’m not doing music I work as a chemical engineer. I’m really interested in creating new things and problem solving, and engineering work allows to me to do those things.

10. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

We’ve certainly made our fair share of mistakes that’d we’d like to do over again. Most of them have to do with the proper way to get your music marketed and out to folks. In this day and age it’s easier than ever to get your music distributed which is great but can be hard to stand out above the noise. A lot of great music will never get the attention it deserves solely because there’s not a good marketing plan for it.

11. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I’d love to be in the room with Tool while they made Lateralus. That album to me the first time I heard it was mind-blowing. Miles away from anything I had heard previously. Everything about it was so inspiring. To be able to construct multiple complex ideas, sound, rhythms etc. and to be able to make it sound effortless. I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall for that.

12. Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

Hands down it’s touring. We are dying to get back out on the road and play music for folks. The industry is in real trouble right now. If you’re reading this, if you have it in your power to help out your local venues and musicians please do it. These are great people who work hard and were already struggling before the pandemic. And venues are in real jeopardy of shutting down and this will have a profound impact for years on the live music scene.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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