- An Interview with The Veldt's Danny Chavis Jammerzine Exclusive 32:01
On the eve of what most certainly sounds like a stellar tour to behold with Phantogram, we get a chance to talk to a member of one of the Psych-Soul-Shoegaze pioneers in the form of Danny Chavis of The Veldt. When I say this band is one of the true pioneers, I’m not just saying that to say it. Just look at the roster of artists that they’ve collaborated with: TV On The Radio, Mos Def, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Lady Miss Kier (Deee-Lite), and most recently with A.R.Kane. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of The Pixies, Throwing Muses, Echo & The Bunnymen, Cocteau Twins, Manic Street Preachers, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Oasis and Living Colour. But that is small when compared to how well their music stands on it’s own! Their 1994 album, “Afrodisiac”, is on the list of Pitchfork’s “The 50 Best Shoegaze Albums Of All Time” list last October!
And now we get the pleasure of talking to one of the minds behind the music. Listen and enjoy!
Other Jammerzine articles featuring The Veldt
Phantogram and The Veldt ‘Gaze’ Across America Beginning March 11
First Look: The Veldt – In a Quiet Room
Jammerzine Exclusive: An Interview with The Veldt
First Look: The Veldt – Sanctified
The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Veldt Perform 3 Exclusive Shows
About The Veldt
Daniel and Danny Chavis are natives of Raleigh/ Chapel Hill, North Carolina and East Village residents for the past 28 years. They are also co-founders of the groundbreaking band The Veldt, who lifted their band’s name from a Ray Bradbury science fiction story, together with drummer Marvin Levi and bassist/programmer Hayato Nakao. Musically reared in the church and juke-joints of their native southern state, the twins have been performing since they were children, listening to music that included gospel, Motown and Pink Floyd. The band returns to their roots with the release of ‘The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation’ Mixtape EP.
The first single is the emotionally wrought Sanctified, a ballad that perfectly captures the lush sound of Danny’s screeching guitars and decibel-breaking distortion, along with Daniel’s soulful wail and Hayato Nakao’s deep bass grooves and guitar feedback, the track serves as the perfect re-introduction to this dynamic band. The title The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur was borrowed from an E.E. Cummings poem. Its raging sound was influenced equally by the emotional soul of Marvin Gaye, free jazz warriors Sun Ra and Pharaoh Sanders, various Drake hip-hop tracks, and their own fertile electric imagination.
In their early days, the Chavis brothers making a name for themselves playing throughout the south at a time when fellow southerners REM and Superchunk were securing major label deals. As more black rock bands (Living Colour, 24/7 Spyz) began selling records and gigging throughout the world, The Veldt was courted by various labels, including IRS Records and Capitol.
Initially signed to Capitol Records in 1989, The Veldt embarked on a musical journey that changed their lives. Soon, they were in the studio with dream-gaze guru Robin Guthrie working on their initial recordings, playing American concert halls with Cocteau Twins and The Jesus and Mary Chain, and recording Marigolds with Lincoln Fong (Moose).
The Veldt were a sensation from the start as they became a part of a movement of innovators who came of musical age at a time when rhythmic rebels were reflective, gritty and wild. Their sound inspired future generations of alternative artists, including TV On the Radio.
They switched labels and Mercury Records released Afrodisiac in 1994, produced by Ray Shulman (The Sundays, Bjork, Sugarcubes). Their single Soul in a Jar was an underground hit.
As the brothers moved to expand their musical language, fusing more electronics into their soundscape, they retired the “Veldt” name and, for various reasons, began recording and touring under under the name Apollo Heights. In 1999, the Chavis brothers met bassist Hayato Nakao, who would become their permanent partner. Their music was loud, exploring color, space, sensuality and beat driven melodies with rhythmic and dynamic tension. Daniel’s falsetto vocals cast a contrast upon the wall of sound created by Danny’s heavy rock dreamscape guitar and Hayato’s pounding and licentious beats.
Although The Veldt had signed to two major labels after leaving Mercury Records in 1995, the brothers decided to remain indie and self-released their 2008 album White Music for Black People. “The major labels were always trying to get us to change our sound, our look or both,” Daniel laughs. “But, we had no interest in being the next Lenny Kravitz or Tony! Toni! Toné! Unfortunately, not everyone shared our vision. We weren’t trying to be rock stars, we just want to play our music and pay our rent.”
Apart from Robin Guthrie and A.R. Kane, they have collaborated with TV On The Radio, Mos Def and Lady Miss Kier (Deee-Lite), and have shared the stage with My Bloody Valentine, The Pixies, Echo & The Bunnymen, Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, Manic Street Preachers, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Oasis, Living Colour and TV on the Radio, among others.
They eventually changed their name back to The Veldt. The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur serves to mark the band’s re-emergence and was followed by another full album of material on their Resurrection Hymns LP (via SonaBLAST! Records). Indeed, for these veteran musicians and passionate noise technicians, this newest EP marks a new beginning. The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur was released via UK label Leonard Skully Records on March 18, 2016.
Featured image by Howard T. Palmer.
[table caption=”Tour Dates” width=”100%” colwidth=”100|100|100|25|250″ colalign=”left|left|left|left|left”]
Saturday, March 11,Chicago, IL,Riviera Theatre
Sunday, March 12,St Paul, MN,Palace Theatre
Monday, March 13,Madison, WI,Orpheum Theatre
Tuesday, March 14,Urbana, IL,Canopy Club
Thursday, March 16,Cincinnati, OH,Bogart’s
Friday, March 17,Atlanta,GA,The Tabernacle