When Splice Magazine was offered a chance to speak with Trae Davis, the lead guitarist of the hot new band out of Portland, OR, Veio, before their set on the Seether Poison The Parish tour, we jumped at the chance. Veio is made up of Cameron Byrd vocals and guitar, Brett Byrd on drums, Trae Davis lead guitarist, and Kris Lewis on drums
How has 2018 been for you?
“Awesome! I feel like there has been a lot of growth, with all the touring and bringing on new management”
“we picked up new management and we signed with Silent Majority Group. Usually how we used to do things is we each were assigned a specific job. We were used to managing ourselves. Now we have a team of people taking care of it for us. So now it’s a matter of getting used to having as much on our plate as we used to have.”
Does that help you as artists having that support now?
“Oh, it helps us to focus on our music and our future plans”
Growing up did you always want to get into music?
“Oh, absolutely! I started playing music with my grandfather when I was two years old. We would travel from fair to fair. I started to learn to play guitar when I was seven. I joined my first band at 14 or 15. I’ve been touring off and on since I was 17. I’ve essentially put all my eggs into this basket.”
So, there was no plan B?
“Nope, I’ve been all in. I already knew it.”
You were recruited off of Craigslist by Cameron and Brett Byrd. Do you have any good stories about the process?
“As far as me meeting them, I was new to the Portland area and I was looking to get back into playing live music. I ran into Veio. It was something that I’ve never played before. It was a different style of music. I come from a metal and metalcore background. I’m always looking for a new challenge; something that will make me better. I felt that joining a progressive rock band would make me better. We have an ongoing joke that we make all our friends through Craigslist.”
You’re new to the Portland, OR area. Where are you originally from?
“I’m originally from Burbank, Washington. The music scene was dying there, and I needed something fresh. I needed to go somewhere where I’d have better opportunities. That triggered the move to Portland.”
Portland isn’t a major scene for progressive rock. How do you think the music scene shaped and molded your band?
“As you said, it isn’t a progressive rock scene. It forced us to go out and find an audience that was receptive to us. That people were more honed into what we were doing. That’s how we became an original group. We have a decent following in the Portland area, but with losing the local rock station, it’s really hard to get people to come out to shows. So, we had to go to Seattle, Boise, Spokane, and Salt Lake City.”
So, all that initial touring you did, do you think that helped to make you a better band?
“Absolutely! There is so much that goes into it, and when we first started getting into it there is this learning curve. How things are done, an order to things. You may not know it, but you are bound by schedules. You HAVE to make sure you’re on schedule. It gave us really good practice. On the west coast everything is spread apart. Every drive is easily 7 to 10 hours. It gave us great time management skills.”
With your album, Infinite Light//Desperate Shadows, were you aiming for something specific with that?
“You can look at it as ying and yang if you want to. With Infinite Light//Desperate Shadows, there is always darkness around, but you need to focus on the daylight. It’s trying to stay focused on the good. We wrote the album around that. We have songs that are brighter, and we have dark songs. It’s not necessarily a concept album.”
Do you look forward to having a label help you out, or do you want to stay self-funded and have the complete control that goes along with it?
“We definitely want to maintain control that being self-funded allows. In this day and age, I feel you can go that route if you have a plan. This is a business, so you have to look at it that way. You have to focus on what your goals are and map out how you’re going to reach them.”
So, you take time out to focus on the business?
“Everyday we are working on it. It’s kind of become part of our lives. Even during the writing process there are talks about the direction we are going. Like what do we need to do to get there. When we first got together, we spent the first month getting together a couple times a week, not even practicing, but mapping out what we want to do and how we are going to get there. So now we all have a really good in our minds and are all on the same page where we are going. A lot of that was done in the beginning, so now that we are in it, its just a matter of our checkboxes. Things do change, that’s inevitable; so now it’s just a discussion on is this the right direction.”
What is your next step?
“This is our first big national tour. I feel that 2019 is where we reach our next big step. This is our foot in the door to get into national touring.”
What have you found to be the difference in national and regional touring?
“With a national tour you reach markets that you never would regionally. Also, with regional’s you can only play the same places so many times, with a national tour the goal is to hit every market. You can only experience an artist so much through digital or vinyl media. We want people to experience our live performances.”
So how has this tour been for you?
“This tour has been awesome! I’m super happy with the people we’ve been working with on this tour. Seether, Tremonti, Big Story, they are all just great people. It’s been an overall great experience. We’ve had a really good response to our music and that is really a great feeling.”
“Keep grinding. If something isn’t working, then re-work it.”
When do you see your next release coming out?
“We will be dropping an EP in 2019. We don’t have a release date yet because it’s still in the works.”
Do you think there is a difference between an album and an EP?
“For us there is. For other bands there may not be. We are a progressive band. The way we write, we want the story to unfold no matter how long that takes. For us we are an album band. The best way to put it is Jeff Hanson from Silent Majority Group said, we are an epic band. We write big epic songs.”
Do you think the EP will get you more radio play?
“I think an EP will get us pointed in the right direction. It’s a good representation of us, but in a smaller package.”
How are the writing chores handled?
“We all assemble pieces and showcase them to each other. We will work with anything that anyone brings to the table. Whether it works or not, that’s a group decision. We want to make sure that we get everything we can out of a song. We won’t just settle. We won’t write filler songs, either.”
Earlier you said you sat down and took time to map out the direction of the band before you did anything. Do you apply that same organized approach to your songwriting and recording?
“This was our first time recording together. It was more of a learning experience. To make it a little easier to understand we wrote two groups of songs for Infinite Light//Desperate Shadows. We wrote the first handful of songs, then sat on them and wrote the second group of songs. With the first group of songs, we were beating our heads against the wall trying to figure out how do we get this to go in the direction we want them to. Cameron and Brett, they were used to Cameron writing the stuff, then bringing it and jamming it out; where as we are developing the song. So, once we got through that first group, we went back to the drawing board. We had some really good stuff that we came up with and it made us really think about the process. That’s when we actually started organizing how we going to start writing. It’s still going to be organic; we are still going to jam, but, we are going to map it out with a white board. It helped us out a lot because we could visualize what we were putting down. We will put down a name that will speak to that part of the song. So, it helps us go from part to part. That way we can focus on the direction of the song. I feel it helped us all understand each other.”
If you could collaborate with anyone from a different genre who would that be and why?
When you’re not recording or touring what do you listen to?
“We listen to a variety of stuff. Cameron and I listen to 90’s hip hop like NWA or Ice Cube. Then we also listen to a lot of progressive bands. Karnivool is a really huge influence on us. Then there is Tesseract. We listen to a lot them. I could go on and on about our catalog. I was thinking about making a touring playlist of all the things we listen to. It would be a mixture of hip hop, progressive rock, and (laughing) crappy pop music. You might even find a John Mayer song in there. To go back to your other question, I would love to collaborate with John Mayer; he is an amazing blues player. I think that would be an interesting collaboration. He is such a phenomenal guitar player.”
Hey, Trae, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us, this has been great!
If you get the chance to see Veio on the Poison The Parish tour or their new tour with RED make sure you get there to check them out; they are the future of rock! This way you can say “I saw them opening up for another band” to your friends someday.