Blue Veil behind bars...

Veil Upon Veil

"Lo-fi sparse dissonant guitar-driven girl anti-folk two-piece band" Blue Veil

Interview by Alphonse Leong
Photography by Rodney Gitzel

What a pleasure to have quirky Vancouver duo Blue Veil in my kitchen! As quietly engaging in conversation as they are in performance, guitarist Earl Einarson and singer Jan Halvarson offer a refreshingly serene view on making music.

Jan and Earl But first, the obligatory details on how the pair met: "We were working together at one point and I gave him a demo tape," says Jan. "He was in a band called Colour Wheel and I would go check him out once in awhile. I just wanted to get his impression of my capabilities." Earl adds, "It was just her singing in an apartment kind of thing with acoustic guitar. It was really raw and I liked her voice right away."

"We just jammed," continues Jan, "and it evolved into where he would play these cool chords and I would sing melodies and they started forming songs. We didn't plan it Jan at all, and all of a sudden these little monsters were being created!" "It came out so well we thought we might as well document some of them," says Earl. "I had this old, old tape recorder and we just recorded on that."

They also used another piece of equipment with a colourful past, he adds: "I used to work in this electronics store and this guy I worked with said, 'Earl, I'm selling this four-track.' His brother was the keyboardist for Loverboy and Loverboy were just broken up or something and getting rid of all their gear, so I bought it... Loverboy wrote on this thing! On the CD, actually, two or three of the songs are recorded on that."

cover of self-titled CD That explains why their self-titled disc contains a lot of hiss and other extraneous noises, but Earl is unbothered. "So many albums, when you listen to them, you feel removed from the actual music. It's like they're playing and producing the album to almost impress you versus communicating, whereas we're naturally more interested in communicating with somebody."

"I like the idea of the vibe being more important than the production values," he continues. "So, don't wait 'til you have four million dollars to make a record -- if you can scrape together a hundred dollars, then do it." Jan Earl agrees: "That feeling that we're actually in your living room, it feels very personal and there don't seem to be any barriers... that's the sort of sound we like."

A relaxed attitude permeates their entire creative process. "I think what makes it work so well is that we don't try to write songs," says Earl. "We've never actually sat down and said 'Let's write', we've never said that to each other." Remarks Jan, "It usually happens when, like maybe we have other plans to do that day... ("It's usually at a very inconvenient time," Earl jokes.) 'Darn! We've got a song here, we have to finish it!"

Blue Veil under glass Even making a CD was "just to do it," Earl laughs: "We weren't even sure we were going to release it, we just wanted to record it. I guess, as you progress, you think of different things. Where we are now, sure, we'd be interested in working with a label as long as we're able to remain pure. We don't want the business side to infringe on the artistic side, because that's the whole point of it -- it's an artistic outlet for us."

So they'd be willing to sign with, say, Sony? Earl responds quickly, "Sure -- but we'd still use a four-track!"

First published in Drop-D Magazine on November 22, 1997

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