Like a high fidelity phoenix, Velah rose from the ashes of Static of the Gods and The Acre, two Boston bands that called it quits in 2011. Jen Johnson, Mike Latullipe, Danny McNair, and Nick Murphy—Johnson and Latulippe from Static; McNair and Murphy from The Acre, respectively—have been writing together more or less since then, and they’re finally ready to present Velah (rhymes with “Stella”) to the world with their first live set this Saturday.
How’s writing for Velah different than writing for Static of the Gods or The Acre?
Jen: I feel like this is a kind of music that I’ve never played before, and that I don’t think the four of us have ever played before, but that’s kind of what’s exciting about it.
I’m getting to play guitar a lot more in a different way and I really like it. It feels good.
And the sounds you’re making? What’s changed?
Jen: For me, I always like to have these songs with a really strong and simple melody, with a lot of noise around it. And I think Nick’s lyric writing and my lyric writing are very complementary.
Nick: I totally disagree. Just kidding.
Jen: [laughs] I think that your mentality and my mentality are the same in that we’re looking for lyrics that are more evocative and not so literal.
And that we’re trying to create a story without literally telling a story—trying to create a mood instead of scene.
You all went through band break-ups in the past year. Do you think this is something that makes Velah stronger?
Jen: Something like that happening is never pleasant, and obviously [Static] spent a lot of time together. I think there were a lot of personal things that were going on in my life this past year that created a lot of tension and a lot of stress and pressure for everybody in the band. And that situation brought everything to a head and I think that it was the right time to end. If you don’t’ feel creative anymore—I think that was the mutual thing on all three of our parts. Where can you go from there, you know?
But in terms of then and now …
Jen: I learned a lot from that, and [Velah] is a different band.
But I think those skills made us able to make songs quicker.
Nick: I think it’s just something you learn from every relationship. You take something out of it, good bad or indifferent, and then you learn why that relationship didn’t work and you take that to your next relationship and if that relationship works out, it works out.
So in terms of a new relationship, are you still in the honeymoon stage with Velah?
Nick: I don’t think we really had the honeymoon stage because we’ve always been really honest about saying things like ‘That doesn’t work’ when we’re writing and practicing. We’re being honest with ourselves and honest with each other.
We hit the ground running, I think is the way to say it.
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