From the ashes of Veil Veil Vanish, and tempered through membership in The Soft Moon, and Wax Idols, we are brought a fantastic new project Vaniish. Their debut record “Memory Work” is far darker and visceral than anything the members of Vaniish had done before; if we are going to go with another clichéd comparison to The Cure, then “Memory Work” is Keven Tecon’s “Pornography” (especially evident on the track “Fragment/Fatigue”). However, despite having Cure-like titles, tracks like “Cold Fascination” go beyond such comparisons. I personally think of the band Iron Curtain as a better comparison.
I recently spoke with Vaniish’s Kevon Tecon to get an inside perspective regarding his new project Vaniish, and the development of “Memory Work”:
One might get the impression that with the name Vaniish, that this band could be Veil Veil Vanish 2.0. However, listening to the music that is clearly not the case. It was not immediately apparent from the track “Kaleidoscoped“ making its initial rounds on social media who this band was. Were you trying to maintain a connection to the past while creating something completely new?
Keven: Besides the name I don’t think there is much similarity between the two bands. They are coming from very different places both musically and lyrically. I think at first we thought it would be nice to hint at the past but once things started to come together we realized it should be a completely different thing. We decided to keep the name Vanish simply because we liked it but ended up adding the extra “i” last minute because the label was worried about the possibly of being sued by another band with the same name. I don’t feel much of a connection to music I’ve done in the past because it’s so ingrained in what was happening in my life at the time.
Has performing with The Soft Moon and Wax Idols caused your music to change or evolve?
Keven: I spent a lot of time touring between the two bands so I had the chance to visit new countries and meet new people, which definitely gave me different life experiences. Wax Idols was the first band I’ve played drums in so it was exciting for me to write songs from the perspective of a drummer. Instead of viewing them as simply a time-keeper I wanted each part to be as expressive as any other instrument. We definitely took this idea when we began working on the Vaniish album and wanted every instrument and every sound to have it’s own life and personality. Of course it’s not something that will be immediately apparent but I think it gives the listener a lot to uncover with repeated listens.
“Memory Work” is an evocative title for an album, what inspired that choice of a name?
Keven: Memory work is the idea that history is always misrepresented by false or conflicting memories. When looking back I began to wonder how many of my own memories were false, distorted or completely made up in my mind.
These memories seem to be framed by the sensations and emotions of the present moment. Were there any in particular that were prominent in the writing process?
Keven: Around the time I started working on demos my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and watching her disintegrate mentally and physically was very difficult. Several of the songs stem from what was happening during this time as well as forgotten memories that were coming to the surface. I’ve never been very comfortable talking about personal things with people so this was my way of working through it.
What can you tell us about the production on “Memory Work”? Did you go in knowing what sound you wanted, or was this discovered organically during the recording process?
Keven: We had a pretty strong sense of what we wanted the album to sound like going in but some things definitely did change in the studio. The demos were all drum machine and sounded more linear and claustrophobic. With certain songs like “Observatory Time” we wanted to keep that feel so we ended up taking the drums from the demo and reprocessed the effects. With “Loss of Sensation” we wanted to give the song more life by adding live drums so Nick gave what was originally a very stiff beat, an almost dub quality. Some of the songs have a mix of electronic drums and live drums so that things sounds slightly off in a good way. We wanted to stay away from any sounds that would be too retro so Monte Vallier who produced the record did an amazing job creating new soundsets. A lot of the drums were heavily processed but not in the typical 80’s fashion. There is a lot of layering and it’s not always easy to know what sounds are what. Working with Monte was great because he created such a calm environment in the studio that we felt comfortable trying any ideas no matter how crazy they may have seemed.
What tracks on the record are your favorite, and which do you think people will be the most receptive to?
Keven: One of my favorite songs on the record is “Fragment/Fatigue” because it doesn’t sound like anything else I’ve heard. It started off from an organ sounding guitar line that Adam was doing and then we cut up taiko drums to form the basic rhythm. To me the song seems to come from a different world. I also really like the song “La foi au fil de l’eau” because I had the chance to sing in French. I think part of the reason I’m drawn to these songs is that we really weren’t thinking about how they would be received and just wanted to make something that was exciting to us. It’s hard to tell which songs people will respond to because it is so subjective and you never know what sounds or words will resonate with someone.
Despite not performing live yet, could there be touring plans in support of “Memory Work”, perhaps for Europe?
Keven: Right now we are planning to tour in the US through the summer and hopefully come to Europe in the fall.
Memory Work was released June 10 via Metropolis Records.
Keven Tecon, Amy Rosenoff, Adam Beck, and Nick Ott