Somehow, Somewhere They Had Read This Before, part I: Maenad Veyl
A split interview in two parts, with and about Maenad Veyl and Years Of Denial
Maenad Veyl (A.K.A Avatism) and Years Of Denial have released a split EP on Death and Leisure, so Profet´s Chief Ideologue Filip Lindström made a split interview with the two acts. In the first part of two, Maenad Veyl explains his roots and his productivity.
A1. »Maenad Veyl on Avatism« (or »Avatism on Maenad Veyl«)
Some know him as Avatism, a name that I think is less compelling than his new moniker, Maenad Veyl. For outside eyes looking in, the beginning of 2018 is his time in the spotlight. Only during the first few months he will release his debut as Maenad Veyl, the chilling »Somehow, Somewhere They Have Heard This Before«, on Pinkman Records, an EP as Avatism on Parachute and also a split EP with London group Years Of Denial on Oliver Ho’s label Death and Leisure. I speak to Maenad Veyl over the phone, and ask him about his apparent productivity.
- It seems like you have a lot going on at the moment? I understate.
- Yes, says Maenad. There are quite a few things coming up. It’s more of a coincidence that they’re all coming out at the same period of time, some of them have been in the loop for a long time. It just so happened at the end of last year that there was a problem with MPO, which is a pressing plant in France where one of their machines broke down. Basically, a lot of records got shifted.
MPO is one of the biggest pressing plants in Europe and its malfunction has, according to a Resident Advisor article, caused damage to more dance music releases than Maenad’s, since the already slow process of pressing vinyl has been delayed further. During the time where the vinyl record was pronounced dead and the Compact Disc ruled the world until streaming of music took over, many pressing plants must have shut down or at least down sized their production to an extreme low. Now, when the vinyl has come back in style, the plants are overwhelmed by new business. With countless minor, and major, labels currently depending on reliable pressings, the European record industry surely went through a short-term crisis last year. The end result for Maenad Veyl is that all of his work will arrive to the public approximately at the same time. In a situation where others would be angered by release plans being so severely changed, Maenad sees things from the bright side.
- It’s kind of cool for me in a way, that I all of a sudden have all of this stuff coming out. It was a bit of a weird year, because nothing was coming out due to this problem. But now, things got sorted.
»With Maenad Veyl I have an idea behind it, more of a concept«
- Maenad Veyl
Although released relatively simultaneously, Maenad’s different efforts were recorded at various times and under diverse circumstances. The Avatism EP for Parachute was made first, even before Maenad Veyl really existed.
- More or less around the time I was finishing the Parachute release as Avatism I started working on a new project, which initially was sort of like a hobby. I sent it to a few people, like Oliver [Ho] from Broken English Club and Peder Mannerfelt from Sweden, and so I thought maybe I should release it.
With both Avatism and Maenad Veyl being dance music projects coming from the same person, I want to know what the personal difference between the two is to the man who has created the music.
- Some people say that the music is very similar, which I can kind of relate to, Maenad says. For me, they’re very different but of course there is always me, and the equipment I use is relatively similar, so it’s not like I make the music in a completely different way. But, I’ve been working on Avatism since 2010 or 2011, so I just wanted to try something new. It was interesting to try something without having to think about it too much. When I sit down and make an Avatism record, there is this whole history of what Avatism is and the people who like that sound. It’s limiting, because I’ve changed a lot, even with being Avatism. It was cool to start fresh with the Maenad Veyl thing. I don’t want to say that it started as a joke, because I took it seriously from the beginning, but more of a thing for myself. I just wanted to do music that I liked, with influences that I liked as a kid, growing up and learning about music. I didn’t even think about releasing it initially, so I didn’t think about the market or of how I was going to play the tracks live. Nothing of the sort.
Working with music, or anything creative, can be double sided. I’ve found that while the quality of your work often is affected by its closeness to your heart, its commercial success may be caused by other factors. I think of an interview I did with American producer and artist Louisahhh, where she told me her priority was to be happy with her work and to not care about its reception. Since my talk with Louisahhh, I’ve tried to focus mostly on producing qualitative work that I am satisfied with, more than I think about how it’s perceived. Therefore, I’m pleased to hear that Maenad Veyl made music for his own good, that he eventually decided to release.
- Do you think that people who enjoy Avatism will automatically follow you and listen to Maenad Veyl, since it’s not really a secret that it’s the same person? I ask him, because I find it interesting to know if the Avatism fans are stuck on the name, or in support of the person behind it.
- I was a bit torn about whether I wanted to keep it a secret or not. The sound was very different in the beginning and some people said they preferred the old stuff. But, you don’t necessarily need to like both, and it’s not like I’m quitting the Avatism stuff.
Having Avatism and Maenad Veyl as his outlets, catering to two sides of his musicality, this productive artist can reach further by catching different listeners with each project. Although, in the end the biggest change seems to be more personal than public.
- I was younger and less focused when I started Avatism. I think, with Maenad Veyl I have an idea behind it, more of a concept.
Maenad Veyl in front of a sunset
A2. »Maenad Veyl on Years Of Denial«
Apart from the EP:s being released as Avatism and Maenad Veyl, the split EP with London based duo Years Of Denial is also coming up (already released when this article is published), on Oliver Ho’s Death and Leisure label. Years Of Denial’s music is more dark and gritty than Maenad Veyl’s, and therefore also way darker and grittier than Avatism’s. I wonder if it was an obvious choice for the artist with two names, under which one of them he would do the split.
- I think it was definitely for Maenad Veyl, he says without doubt. I root a lot of the influences in punk and grindcore. I used to listen to a lot of hardcore punk when I was a kid. Punk labels back then didn’t have that much money so they would always do splits to half the costs of production. When Oliver asked me about the split, I thought it was a cool thing to introduce Maenad Veyl with a tape and a split EP. It reminded me of a punk band from the late 80’s, early 90’s.
Maenad Veyl associates the punk vibe he enjoyed in his youth with a certain lo-fi feeling, and he mentions the word »underground« when he tries to describe his old-time favorites, even though he says he hates the term. Punk rock and »underground« dance music has some things in common, for example that the soul of the music is more important than the delivery. The scenes are more about delivering a powerful feeling than equilibrist performances. So, the leap from Maenad’s influences to his own work is not that far, from one DIY movement to another.
Before the split EP collaboration with Years Of Denial, Maenad only knew the duo a bit in person. Still, he knew that the two acts would be a good match.
- We had a lot of friends in common, and I think I’ve met them at parties in London but we hadn’t spoken very much until the EP was already on its way. I don’t know them that well, but I’ve always liked their music. I had their album from Death and Leisure, before I started talking to them. When Oliver asked me if it was cool to do the split with them, I was very happy about it. I’ve heard very good things about their live shows even though I’ve never seen them live unfortunately, but a lot of my friends have.
- Would you like to take the concept one step further and do a split live show with Years Of Denial?
- Yeah, that could be cool. I think what Oliver wanted to do was to get two things that don’t necessarily fit, and make them fit. We hadn’t heard each other’s tracks before Oliver put them together, so we weren’t influenced in any way by each other. But, I really like their sound and we’ll keep in touch, so who knows, something might happen in the future.