Photo credit: Chris Swanner
“Our fans are the loudest at shows and proud to support us in every way. We are truly thankful to our fans. We wouldn’t be where we are without you.” -Kris Lewis (Veio)
Portland-based alt/progressive rocks Veio have just dropped their album Infinite Light//Desperate Shadows. Recently we caught up with Kris Lewis, the bass player for the band, to ask him some questions about how they got their start as a band, their album, their fans, and their immediate goals.
What and who does your act consist of?
Cam Byrd – Lead Vocals and Guitar
Trae Davis – Lead Guitar
Brett Byrd – Drums
Kris Lewis – Bass
How did you and your band meet?
Kris Lewis: The Byrds are brothers and started playing music together from an early age. Trae and I (Kris) both met the Byrd brothers through craigslist.
Where are you and your band from?
K.L.: The band is from Portland Oregon, and got its start in 2010. This lineup has been playing together since early 2015.
Thinking back to early childhood, what was your first experience with music?
K.L.: We all got our start at an early age. Can’t really remember a time when we weren’t playing music. The real memory I have with wanting to play music came from listening to my grandfather play guitar around a campfire. He was real big into Bob Dylan.
What type of music did you hear the most growing up? Is it different from what you listen to now?
K.L.: Our musical tastes have developed a lot over time. We all definitely listen to a ton of variety of rock and metal growing up but we are all into other genres as well. Hip-hop, Rap, Funk, Jazz you name it. Trae really digs his Tswift.
What was the first song that you ever sang?
K.L.: Puff the magic dragon when I was about 7 or 8. It’s about a boys’ magical dragon.
What made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?
K.L.: Probably the first time I played a live show, and it’s a combination of things. The exhilaration you get from performing and the audience can’t be paralleled with a lot of careers. And connecting with people through music. It’s the reason we all as musicians love to do what we do.
How did you become involved in the type of music you play/sing now?
K.L.: We’ve all been into rock-n-roll in its various forms all of our lives. In more recent years, all of our tastes have changed a bit to more eclectic and unique sounds. Every musician gets some sort of influence and inspiration from somewhere so I think that’s led us as a band more into the alt-metal/prog rock realm.
For those who have never seen or heard your music before, how would you describe your music for the public audience?
K.L.: I would describe it as Journey. Each song tells a story lyrically, sonically and takes the listener through a range of dynamics. We try to keep the music fresh and interesting while still being accessible.
Would you rather play live performances or be in the studio?
K.L.: We’re kind of split. I like both equally, Trae is definitely more about the live performance, and Cam is about the studio. Brett loves to hit things with sticks.
Have you been involved in any benefit performances?
K.L.: We try to do a show at least once a year that goes to a good cause. We have done several benefit shows for Cancer the most recent being last fall. We put on a show for Breast Cancer and donated to Breast Friends of Oregon.
If you had to categorize your music, what genre would it best fit?
K.L.: We say alternative metal, there may be a touch of prog in there.
What are your songs about and what general themes do they talk about?
K.L.: The songs on the new record are all somewhat in the same ballpark theme-wise. Stylistically the lyrics range from more poetic to storytelling. A lot of the record centers around the theme of how at times we can be self-destructing, condescending, violent, evil, or polarizing.
Why do you choose to focus on these themes?
K.L.: The lyrics were being written in a very polarizing time leading up to and during the election. There events happening every week that are a result of the times that we live in and the beliefs people hold. As Cam was writing lyrics each song started with these observations over these things. He kind of just stuck to that and ran with it.
Are there any stories surrounding your songs that you’d care to share?
K.L.: The undertones of the song are political and spiritual in nature. Some are centered around stories. However, like most art, we’d like to leave it open to the listener for interpretation. We hope it resonates with people
What has been your strongest influence to continue performing?
K.L.: We are just getting started truthfully. Veio has been around for a while, but we feel as if things are just starting for us. We are eager to get back out on the road and to get our music out there.
What has been the biggest challenge for you or the group?
K.L.: The biggest question for us right now is how to we get our music in front of more people. We put all of resources and then some into the band and the music and into promoting Veio in every unique way possible. The internet is wonderful because it makes it so everyone has access to your music but at the same time every independent artist has the same power you do. So the challenge is to standout in way that separates us from every other rock band and to get people to take 5 minutes to listen to a song.
What type of fan base do you have?
K.L.: Active and dedicated. Our fans are the loudest at shows and proud to support us in every way. We are truly thankful to our fans. We wouldn’t be where we are without you.
Music tends to appeal to everyone, young and old. Do you have any advice for the youth of today?
K.L.: My advice would be to don’t let anyone tell you what to listen to. If the music speaks to you then listen. Keep an open mind, listen to new stuff and search hard to find good music.
What do you do with your time away from music?
K.L.: All of us are very family oriented. When we’re not playing music we enjoy spending time with friends and family.
As an artist, is there anything special you hope to be able to accomplish?
K.L.: For now we just were focusing on getting our music out to as many people as possible and make connections with our fans. Our goal is to be able to have the means to stay on road and do this full-time. Performing and connecting with people at shows is why do this and to be able to do that full time would be special.
Please feel free to add any other information you want to share with fans and readers.
Infinite Light//Desperate Shadows is out now! Take some time to give it a listen and let us know what you think. We hope to see everyone soon at a venue near you.