The Veils - Off Beat Arts & Music Festival 2016

Total Depravity is the fifth studio album from THE VEILS and marks the beginning of a new era for the band and frontman Finn Andrews. With its extreme sonic contrasts, mutilated loops, bold lyricism and evangelical fervor, Total Depravity is an unpredictable journey, helmed by the exceptional production work of El-P (Run the Jewels), and Adam "Atom" Greenspan. The sinister beauty of Total Depravity represents THE VEILS' largest stylistic shift to date and exhibits a band at the peak of their creative powers.

Andrews has lived a life of constant musical immersion. His father, Barry Andrews, was one of the founding members of new wave pioneers XTC and longtime collaborator with Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Brian Eno and Robert Fripp. But it wasn't until Finn Andrews moved from his father in the UK to New Zealand with his mother at age 12 that he started writing songs of his own, many of which would form 2004's debut album, The Runaway Found. It was in high school there that Andrews met bass player Sophia Burn, eventually forming THE VEILS and being joined later by drummer Henning Dietz, guitarist Dan Raishbrook and keyboardist Uberto Rapisardi. THE VEILS have now released five records and one EP —The Runaway Found (2004), Nux Vomica (2006), Sun Gangs (2009), The Troubles of the Brain EP (2011) Time Stays, We Go (2014) and now Total Depravity (2016).

Perhaps it is due to Andrews' exceptionally early start in music (he wrote their debut at 14 years old) that THE VEILS have never been a band that enjoyed staying in one place for too long. From the melancholy pop of Runaway Found to the existential howling of Nux Vomica, to the fractured and folk-tinged Sun Gangs and the majestic, grand arrangements of Time Stays, We Go, THE VEILS' sound has never been an easy thing to pin down for long. Having relocated to Los Angeles during the recording of Time Stays, the seeds of the new album were planted when Andrews met El-P, outside a bar in downtown Los Angeles.

"A very crucial part of the album has obviously been the involvement of El-P," says Andrews. "He introduced himself firstly as just a sincere fan of our band, and we got to talking about music and all the good stuff. The very next day we ended up at his friend Wilder Zoby's house in Eagle Rock, and we all wrote and produced the song 'Axolotl' with El-P leading the way.'"

"THE VEILS have been one of my favorite bands since I first heard Nux Vomica," El-P says. "I am delighted to be a part of this record. I think the goal of our collaboration was to honor the spirit of THE VEILS' sound and to bring it somewhere it hasn't been before."

Inspired by their friendship and instant results, the pair used the song "Axolotl" as a jumping-off point for both their collaborating as well as the album. "'Axolotl' came out straight away and I think we were both just really intrigued by it and wanted to make more," Andrews says. "The way El-P treats the low frequencies is so visceral and exciting—I immediately loved the way it paired with my voice. The vocal was sung directly into the keyboard of a laptop and was all completed very quickly. I think the fact he'd been a fan of the band for many years really made the whole experience flow very easily. There is a deep mutual respect of what we both do and it shows on the record I think."

Next, Andrews returned home to London to work with his band, writing and recording songs with collaborator Adam "Atom" Greenspan. Andrews would then take tracks sporadically to El-P during breaks in his hefty Run the Jewels touring schedule, where they would then "mess with them further," as Andrews says. From there, the vision for Total Depravity began to manifest, with recording taking place between Konk Studios in London, Estúdios Sá da Bandeira in Portugal and in El-P's studio in Upstate New York.

"The record began with the band recording live with Atom in London, then I would work on parts of the songs with El-P," Andrews says. "Basically whenever Run the Jewels and The Veils both had a day or two off from touring, El and I would meet up and work on ideas for the record. It was great having these two people with very different backgrounds working on the album in their own ways and then bringing them slowly together until the songs started to fit."

"Over a period of roughly two years an album began to take shape," he continues. "There is a large cast of characters on this record; L. Ron Hubbard, Axolotls, kind-natured crocodiles, a psychotic truck driver, The Pope, and Ingrid Bergman all get a look-in. The songs are all stories of various kinds; some experienced firsthand, others fabricated for my own amusement. It's the first time I've ever written songs using mutilated loops and sounds as a starting point, though some of the songs also began on piano or guitar and were messed with later."

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