WORDS: HARRY HIGGINSON

Hardcore has been experiencing something of a rebirth in recent years. Since the late ‘90s, the genre faded a little from collective musical consciousness; bands like Converge, Madball and Terror kept the genre chugging through the 2000s, but it was a relatively quiet period for the genre. The 2010s, however, have been a different story. Early in the decade, artists like Stick to Your Guns and the aforementioned Terror put out truly genre-defining records in Diamond and Keepers of the Faith respectively, whilst a new crop of both forward-looking and past-influenced bands rose to the surface. Amongst this new generation of hardcore artists lie Vein, who with their 2018 release Errorzone, positioned themselves at the forefront of the genre, who we got into contact with, tackling everything from the roots of their uncompromising musical onslaught, to their experiences bringing extreme music to new, unfamiliar audiences.

“We were frustrated with everything and everybody around us at the time…”

The band’s sound is somewhere between the raw bludgeoning delivered by bands like Botch or the Dillinger Escape Plan, and the bizarre and unsettling world of nu-metal, but to pigeonhole them as strictly a metal or punk band is to diminish the scope of their sound. Reflecting on their diverse influences, the band notes, “We listen to a lot of other genres of music and I’m sure they all inspire Vein in one way or another… DJ Shadow, Sneaker Pimps, Andy Stott, Aphex Twin, Portishead… to name a few. I’d say outside of all of this, the biggest ones would be jazz and hip hop as well.” Beyond other musical influences, the band’s sound and imagery is hugely influenced by other media; “Outside of music, it’s influenced by a big mix of everything we’ve found visually appealing and relatable from movies, video games to other media… Video game soundtracks are also a big inspiration, with the biggest one being the Silent Hill 2 soundtrack.” This horror element is front and centre in the band’s image, from their grizzly album art for Errorzone, to their surreal and unsettling music videos. “One example would be Japanese horror and cyberpunk… Movies like Rubbers Lover and Pinocchio 964 were huge visual inspirations for the “Demise Automation” video”

Errorzone built unflinchingly on the band’s equally vicious and strange back-catalogue, their 2016 split EP with Virginia grindcore outfit .Gif from God epitomising the band’s willingness to push into pure, unchained fury, well beyond the boundaries of hardcore or metalcore. Looking back on the writing process for both Errorzone, the band reveals the split was the product of a difficult writing process: “The split was actually written and recorded in the midst of recording Errorzone for the first time. We were frustrated with everything and everybody around us at the time, especially with the record not being done, and the songs just kind of happened in the heat of the moment.” Reflecting further on their roots, they note that despite now being seen as a Boston hardcore band, they found their footing elsewhere. “Although Boston hardcore has tremendous roots, we didn’t grow up going to shows in Boston. At the time, it was all primarily based in the Merrimack Valley at Anchors up. That’s where we all met… went to shows together and started bands together… It was very formative to who we are and we carry that with us to this day.’

“All those bands bring out a raw energy and passion through each of their unique band chemistries.”

In more recent times, the band have gone out on tour with a huge range of other bands, from math-y metalcore titans Every Time I Die, to genre heavyweights Code Orange. Especially with artists such as Every Time I Die, and the band’s travels with code orange on their ‘The New Reality’ tour, Vein note the significance of touring with some slightly more established acts. “Watching those bands inspired us to be the best band we can be for Vein. All those bands bring out a raw energy and passion through each of their unique band chemistries… Watching them go on stage and kill it was a constant inspiration and a reminder to give it your all and do the best you can with your own band.”

Paralleling their musical influences, Vein have also embarked on tours recently with some less typical artists for their sound, from metal-tinged trap artist Ghostemane, to their upcoming tour with metal heavyweights Parkway Drive and Killswitch Engage. They note the challenges of playing to an unfamiliar crowd; “It’s a harder task, but a bigger reward. You just have to perform and give them everything you’ve got… You don’t have a crowd of your own fans to interact with you as directly as a hardcore show. But what’s cool about it is that it teaches you to only rely on yourself and your bandmates and not depend on how the crowd is reacting, or expect anything from them”.

“It’s a harder task, but a bigger reward.”

Vein’s ability to traverse different genres, scenes and musical paradigms is truly remarkable, and is possibly their most standout trait as a band. At heart, however, they are still a hardcore band, and to round out the interview, they left us with a few bands to keep an eye on in 2019 – “Typecaste, Fuming Mouth, Silenus, Narrowhead.”

VEIN ARE ON TOUR THIS WEEK IN THE UK WITH SUPPORT FROM HIGHER POWER. CHECK OUT THE SHOWS BELOW: 

02/14 Birmingham, UK – The Flapper
02/15 Glasgow, UK – The Attic
02/16 Leeds, UK – Temple Of Boom
02/17 Manchester, UK – Star & Garter
02/19 Bristol, UK – The Exchange
02/20 London, UK – New Cross Inn
02/21 Southampton, UK – The Joiners
02/22 Brighton, UK – Green Door Store
02/23 Norwich, UK – Waterfront Upstairs

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