“We’re a metal band.” Veil Of Maya’s Brandon Butler is no djentleman...

Metal As Fuck grabs some words with the voice behind the Veil.

While plates and cutlery clank together, being collected after hungry musicians have chomped down the free food, I sit across a table from Veil Of Maya’s clearly exhausted lead vocalist Brandon Butler in the back room of a Reading, England club. Veil Of Maya landed in the UK after brief stop-overs in Australia & Japan and latterly Germany & the Czech Republic for the first leg of their European Eclipse tour.

Not travelling light, Butler and co. brought along a few extra bands making for quite a snug arrangement. “We have a bus on this tour. There’s actually four of us in it: there’s us, Betraying The Martyrs, Volumes and Structures. It’s pretty packed in there but it gets the job done. There’s like twenty-four of us in there!” This is a long tour to be on a bus with twenty-four other people, let alone possibly loud, sweaty metalheads, I wager. It doesn’t bother him though: “At least you have a bunk and stuff and you can go lay down and relax, do whatever, if you want to kind of get away from the noise,” Butler says with his now characteristic nonchalance.

All the bands on the Eclipse tour bill including Swedish upstarts Vildhjarta were chosen by Veil Of Maya. Sort of. “[We had] a little say. We have obviously already toured with Betraying..., Structures and Volumes. They brought it up to us [the tour] and we were kind of down with it. Vildhjarta we’d never met until this tour, I think this is actually their first tour, but it’s going really well. We’d always heard a lot about them, good things.”

The tour was named after Veil Of Maya’s latest album, Eclipse; a crushing example of new metal and a dazzling display of VoM’s less-complex complexity, making for a more straight forward effort from the Chicago, Il crew. The band’s fans bought it in much greater numbers than before which impressed Butler: “We’re stoked! I mean, it did a lot better than we thought it was going to do; it exceeded our expectations. We just tried to put out the best album we could and took time in writing it...everything went smooth this recording time and, I don’t know, [we] just got lucky I guess!” Eclipse is also the first Veil Of Maya album to feature Dan Hauser. The seven-string bass man creates a mean sound with his instrument. “Awesome...the bass I think is a lot more solid than any of our other albums before. I mean you can hear it whereas some of the other albums [the listener] kind of struggles to hear it sometimes. Especially Common Man’s Collapse or our first one [All Things Set Aside] like the bass is not really there too prevalently. He did a good job I mean he has got that seven-string bass that kind of helps him utilise following Marc [Okubo, guitarist] a little bit. I think having Danny opened it up a little bit for Sam [Applebaum, drummer] and Marc, let them free-range a little bit more on Eclipse whereas some of our old bassists, our old bass lines, didn’t really hold the rhythm as solid as on Eclipse. I think he did a really good job with it. We’re definitely happy having Danny in the band.”

That’s all very well but be honest: did you hire him just because he has an awesome bass guitar? “No!” Butler laughs. “We actually met him because he grew up playing in a band with Jason Richardson who was in Born Of Osiris and Chelsea Grin now...when our old bass player quit he’s like, ‘Hey, this guy Danny we know in Virginia, he’s awesome, he’s really good at bass. He’s young but he’s good .’ We were like, man, we don’t want someone under twenty-one. He was like twenty at the time but we needed a bass player right before [The Summer] Slaughter [Tour] and he was ready to go and tried him out and he killed it. We couldn’t be happier. Danny’s definitely a key part of this band now so we’re all stoked.”

Since 2006 debut album All Things Set Aside, Veil Of Maya has been releasing albums at a rate of one every two years. Butler admits there is some pressure to keep this creative ball rolling, but this in turn breeds creativity. “Marc actually wants to get one out quicker this time, like maybe within the next year or so,” Butler says. “It’s really a balance of how much touring we’re doing and how much writing we can get done. Marc does do the majority of the music writing...I know it’s hard for him to write everything by himself so he doesn’t like being on tour when he’s writing...Eclipse actually came out a little later than we planned on it coming out, we were going to try and have it out before 2012 but I couldn’t get into the studio to get vocals done and before then we were doing a bunch of tours in the States. Just never really got finished until February.”

The one thing that seems to bother some of those who bought Eclipse was the length of the album. Clocking in at just over twenty-eight minutes it is a far more streamlined effort but some fans don’t seem to care. This still confuses Butler as he felt confident that Eclipse contained solid material only; no fat to trim. “I don’t know, people are upset about it a little bit. But at the same time we don’t really try to put filler in our albums or anything. I mean we have in the past with some of like the breakdown songs which was kind of our thing but we just tried to make an album that doesn’t really bore people and that goes straight through. Like we don’t want a forty-minute album that people lose interest in half way through; we wanted an album that you listen to front to back like on the way driving to work or something and you can enjoy it and it’s like a full experience, you know? That’s why we wanted to get an album out quicker [this time], not wait two years, just try and get one out quicker, keep our fans happy hopefully.”

One thing that is assured with any new release by Veil Of Maya is the band will not call it a ‘djent’ album. “I think it’s pretty stupid; I don’t think djent is a genre, it’s not, it’s just a word that was blown up into a genre, Butler asserts. “It’s the same thing as deathcore, like name one band that really calls themselves deathcore nowadays. It doesn’t really exist but two years ago it was a massive genre. It’s the same as djent. It’ll be gone in probably a year or two, it’s not going to be commonly used to describe bands. It’s not really a genre to me, we just try to say metal. We’re a metal band. I think djent takes it a little overboard with the genre type.”

 

Veil Of Maya’s Eclipse is available now on Sumerian Records.