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(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #93: Jake Bonta of Bad Veins

By on Monday, 16th March 2015 at 1:00 pm

It’s this week, people! The music portion of SXSW 2015 officially kicks off tomorrow! Just as we did for SXSW 2014 last year, we’ll be running a special version of the TGTF Quickfire Questions, served up SXSW style with an extra couple of questions to get inside bands’ and artists’ heads so they’ll tell us what they really think of the event. We’re up to our fourteenth interviewee for this campaign, and this time round we’ve got drummer Jake Bonta of Cincinnati duo Bad Veins stepping up to the plate. It hadn’t occurred to me how important hockey is to the good people of Ohio (or perhaps the male population there) and Jake tells us of his fond memories of the sport, as well as the importance of a ’70s hard rock powerhouse to his musical background. Read on…

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Definitely the warmth. It’s been so ridiculously cold here in Southern Ohio for the past
few months, and we’re super ready to soak up the beautiful sunshine and eat some killer food.

Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees
on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?

I do actually. I’m really into hip-hop, and being a drummer I really dig the production behind the ‘beats’ and the amount of attention that they put into them. Anyways, here’s my list so far: Kevin Gates, Earl Sweatshirt, Rae Sremmurd, 2 Chainz, BØRNS, The Ting Tings, Best Coast, Royal Teeth, and I’m sure there will be more once we get there.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are
welcome to elaborate.)

I have a medal that my brother received for winning a hockey tournament he was in. I’ve always wanted him to come out on the road with me and see what it’s like to do what I do. He’s a huge inspiration of mine. Hockey has always been a hugh part of our lives, and an even bigger part of his. Then he moved halfway across the country to play Junior A hockey, which I’m super proud of him for. So now I carry this medal in my suitcase around the country as a way of bringing him with me.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of

I’ve been really digging gin and tonics lately.

What advice would you give other bands who have never played at SXSW before?
Don’t put too much stress/focus on one show. Also, try to have a good time and be nice to everyone you come into contact with, even if you think they aren’t ‘important’. I feel like that’s something you should always do, not just at SXSW.

Our usual list of Quickfire Questions:

What song is your earliest musical memory?
My earliest musical memory would have to be the moment I was at my first-ever professional hockey game with my parents, and the home team scored a goal. The entire crowd stood up, yelling as loud as they possibly could, and this song came on. It was ‘Rock and Roll Pt. 2’ by Gary Glitter. That song forever changed my life. I went home that night and found that my dad had the song on vinyl. I stayed up super late trying to emulate that same drum beat that moved so many people at the hockey game. That night was the first time I ever played with intention. I was 9 years old.


What was your favourite song as a child?
Another pretty important song to me as a child was ‘D’yer Mak’er’ by Led Zeppelin. It was the first song that my dad and I played together in the same garage that Bad Veins had our first few practices in.


What song makes you laugh?
‘Lifestyle’ by Rich Gang. There’s a certain line in the first verse that gets me every time I hear it. I do like the song. It just sounds funny to me.

What song makes you cry?
‘Hurt’ by Johnny Cash. Such a bone chilling song.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want
this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)

‘While The Fire Was Out’ by Brighten.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it
when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you
down when you’re upset, etc.)

It’s actually an entire album. It’s called ‘Illuminate’ by the band Lydia. I remember listening to this record non-stop after I was seriously heartbroken by a girl I was talking to at the
time. Oh the memories.


Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d
written yourself?

‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen. That song is so clever and it’s arguably one of the most popular songs of the last century. So many people have covered it, and it’s always been an important song to me.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Stephen King has always been a writer that I’ve enjoyed. I remember his book ‘IT’ was one of the first books I started reading at like 12 years old. It scared the crap out of me.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d
be doing right now?

I’d most likely be a tattoo artist. I love tattoos a lot, and I’ve actually started painting tattoo flash recently. It’s so much fun.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which
would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)

‘Led Zeppelin II’. Such an influential and important album to me. [You and me both, brother – Ed.]

Many thanks to Jake for answering our questions and Courtney for arranging this for us. Catch Bad Veins at their official SXSW 2015 showcase Saturday the 21st of March at 10 PM at Bar 96.


(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #1755 (and more!): Bad Veins

By on Tuesday, 3rd March 2015 at 6:00 pm

Bad Veins came out of Cincinnati native Benjamin Davis’ solo bedroom project, then becoming an engaging live act with fellow founding member Sebastien Schultz on drums. After high-profile support slots for big names like TGTF favourites Two Door Cinema Club and We Were Promised Jetpacks, in 2013 Schultz called it quits, with Jake Bonta replacing him on the skins.

‘The Mess We Made’ was Bad Veins’ 2013 album that includes Schultz’s drumming, and now in 2 weeks (just in time for SXSW 2015!), Bad Veins 2.0 will be releasing ‘The Mess Remade’, a rerecorded, remastered, redone rehash if you will of the album from 2 years ago. An addition to the new LP not previously available on the earlier album is a cover of the Muppets’ ‘Rainbow Connection’, which appropriately has a Davis-like muppet playing the guitar and singing to a dejected, bespectacled Bonta. Even Irene, Bad Veins’ stalwart reel-to-reel tape deck companion, is also lovingly brought to puppet life for this promo. Watch it below. Also included below is the redone cut of fan favourite ‘Kindness’.


Live Review: Two Door Cinema Club at Rams Head Live, Baltimore, MD – 12th June 2012

By on Monday, 18th June 2012 at 2:00 pm

On the second to last date of their spring 2012 North American tour, Bangor’s Two Door Cinema Club decided to make a visit to a place they’d never been: Baltimore, Maryland. I myself don’t like the idea of trekking up a hour (usually more or in our case this night, nearly 2 hours) in traffic up the I-95 motorway, though if you ask Cheryl, she is there is all the time for gigs. Unless it’s a band that I’m dying to see that I know won’t be coming to Washington, I don’t bother. However, since seeing Two Door Cinema Club opening for Phoenix 2 years ago and watching their popularity skyrocket, I thought I better see them again before they become Coldplay untouchable and play at massive sport arenas. Because of the distance from DC, I didn’t expect the show to be sold out, until I had a look at the tour dates and noticed not just DC but Philadelphia as well had been left out of this tour.

I have always been claustrophobic. So you’re probably wondering how in god’s name I manage to survive music festivals or even sold out gigs in small, dark, confined spaces. Let’s just say I do them very carefully and with a lot of stress. Whenever possible, I arrive early to shows to get in the queue early in order to secure a desired and prime viewing and photography spot. I am of the mind that the time you arrive dictates your viewing location; you arrive late, that’s your decision, you stand wherever there is room in the back. However, as you can probably expect with a young band like Two Door, there were hordes of impolite teenage girls who don’t understand the meaning of ‘queue’, insisting instead on pushing their way to the front. Usually, I pay little mind to people like this, as long as my view is not obstructed and they’re not trying to push me out of the way. The injuries and bruising are just not worth it. But with Two Door Cinema Club, it’s different. I saw this band play to a nearly empty Constitution Hall in May 2010 and have been with them and writing about them from the beginning. If it wasn’t for some excited yet pretty nice kids around us, it would have made for a pretty bad evening.

The first opener was Bad Veins and it appeared I was the only person in the place who not only knew who they were but actually liked them. The Cincinnati duo released their first album in 2009 on American label Dangerbird (who have since signed Delphic and Beady Eye), yet I’m guessing something must have happened because then this label relationship dissolved and they released a new album in April on Austin label Modern Outsider. I was fine with their ‘former’ sound that was definitely on the alt side of rock, but I’ve noticed with new tracks like ‘Dancing on TV’ (video below), they’ve adopted a more poppy sound, a poppier sound that appeared to be going over well with the rabid Two Door crowd.


So it was most unfortunate that near the end of their set, singer Ben Davis went into his mike stand and fell off the stage. It happened so fast and people rushed to his side, I honestly thought that it was part of the act. But evidently it wasn’t: there was some dicey moments as it was revealed that he was bleeding from the back of his head from the spot where he hit his head on the concrete. What an ill-timed and dramatic ending to their set, just as they’d started to get the audience behind them. He finally got up and walked off, saying “sorry guys!” with a smile before leaving amid crowd cheers.

From what I can tell as a UK music blog editor, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is a hell lot bigger abroad than they are at home. We’ve even given away tickets to their shows before. Their first song in Baltimore. was ‘Satan Said Dance’, which features the word “Satan” being repeated. A lot. The band went on hiatus in 2007: a 4-year album drought that broke fans’ hearts around the world but now they’re back, though I’m not really sure a Two Door Cinema Club tour is the way to win their fans’ hearts and minds back. Before heading up to Baltimore I read a review of this tour in Florida, where the blogger mused that the show sold only because CYHSY fans were in attendance (a bit of a backhanded compliment to Two Door regarding the sold out show). I can only say for those on the floor, everyone was there for Two Door, with some of the antsy younger fans yelling, “get off the stage!” and” we want Two Door!” in the hopes that CYHSY would truncate their set. All in all, they persevered in difficult conditions, even if their energetic music wasn’t to the taste of most people there.

And then came time for the long-awaited appearance of Two Door Cinema Club. I am probably showing my age – and years of gigging experience – when I say that I’m not impressed with over the top strobe lighting and if there is too much of it, I look away. Nevertheless, this was the first time in the DC/MD/VA area, not counting Virgin Free Fest last summer, where they brought their own lighting rig, and the difference it made in the overall atmosphere was astounding. This was obvious by the palpable increased excitement you could feel down on the floor. For many of these kids, this was probably their first big show with lighting to befit an arena, let alone a place like Rams Head. Thank goodness for earplugs: I’m pretty sure my ears would have popped with all the girls screaming.

The majority of punters would have been fine if the band had just stuck to tracks off ‘Tourist History’, but as any Two Door fan worth his or her salt knows, they’re finishing up album #2 and have been previewing new songs on this trip around our country. One of them, called ‘Sleep Alone’, made the festival rounds last year and has been popping up in the encore on this tour; I filmed a couple other videos, which will appear on TGTF later this week.


So how did I feel after this show? This was my fourth time seeing Two Door and having been a supporter of them ever since ‘Something Good Can Work’ was being played on BBC Radio in late 2009, I am so proud of where they are and them being so successful, because it’s proof hard work and real talent pays off. But I’m getting vibes of those girls who first watched the Beatles at the Cavern when they were unknown outside of Liverpool; Two Door don’t ‘belong’ to me anymore, they belong to everyone, far and wide on this great planet of ours.

Which is fine and it’s just the universe running its course, because I knew in my heart when I first queued up a sampler of theirs from Kitsune at Christmas 2009, it was obvious to me immediately that they were destined to bigger, better things. But there is still a part of me that yearns for days when we first met, when they were traveling all over America with Phoenix, wide-eyed and eager to learn the touring musician lifestyle from a band they so looked up to. Gone are the days when I could easily have gone up to them after a gig, to congratulate them on a great show and give them a hug of encouragement. What’s next for Two Door Cinema Club? If this show is any indication, their star will only burn brighter.


Live Review: We Were Promised Jetpacks with Typefighter and Bad Veins at Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel, Washington DC – 13 February 2010

By on Tuesday, 16th February 2010 at 2:00 pm

After the La Roux show scheduled for last Wednesday (10 February) was postponed to 25 July due to the latest round of snow here, I was so worried about the We Were Promised Jetpacks boys making it safely to the States that I sent them a Tweet to check on them. Wednesday night they Tweeted me back from New York with the following exultant message: “don’t worry, we made it in yesterday!” Single gals like me wince just thinking about Valentine’s Day. This year however I was really, really chuffed because I knew I’d forget all about this when captivated by the Scottish rockers the night before V-Day, rocking out to their tunes at a sold-out show at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel in Northeast. They’d played an opening slot here last October with comparatively older veterans of the music scene, Fat Cat labelmates Brakes and the Twilight Sad. But Saturday night, the Jetpacks were headlining.

First up on the night were Typefighter, a local Washington folk/pop quintet that looked and sounded oddly like Fanfarlo. This description is not intended to be a dig at either band; I just thought it was eerie for two bands to be playing such similar music, with four guys and a girl multi-instrumentalist / backing vocalist, having been put together separately but divided by an ocean. Speaking of oceans, Typefighter enjoys singing about them, as evidenced by the song ‘Ocean Floor’. Another great song is ‘Worth the Wait’, featuring the banjo and lead singer Ryan McLaughlin‘s twangy, countrified, folky voice. Given the popularity of Fanfarlo, Mumford and Sons and Noah and the Whale, I imagine they would do extremely well in Britain. They’re currently unsigned but I imagine with their promising talent, they’ll be scooped up soon.

Bad Veins, a duo from Cincinnati, Ohio, played second. I’ve seen some duos at the RnR come up with some ingenious solutions to only having two members. In Bad Veins’s case, they employ a third “member”, an antiquated reel-to-reel tape player they’ve christened ‘Irene’, and Irene comes through with orchestration that would of course be impossible with just two humans. And as if having Irene wasn’t enough, singer Benjamin Davis also employs a telephone setup, so he can sing into the receiver and the resulting sound is just like you’d imagine someone singing to you down a telephone line. The backbeats are courtesy of drummer Sebastian Schulz, whose driving rhythms along with Davis’s vocals and guitar combine to make some great sounding rock. I thought hard about how to describe what they sound like – the drumming is as manic as Keith Moon’s in the Who, but Davis’s vocals on top can be angsty as Glasvegas’s James Allan but can sometimes be shouty.

Half past 11, so that meant it was finally time for We Were Promised Jetpacks, the band I had come all this way to see. I was bouncing off the walls the day in December when their first North American tour was announced. The band is so powerful instrumentally live and lead singer/guitarist Adam Thompson‘s vocals are so cutting that this is not a band you can watch and simply sit and stare. There is something so incredibly liberating to singing along to ‘Quiet Little Voices’ playing in your bedroom. But it’s incomparable to the effect of the “oh oh ohs!“, multiplying the feeling a couple thousand times when you’re stood in front of Thompson, singing along with him and the other similar-minded fans squeezed into a tiny club like the RnR. Fantastic.

While stage banter is not the band’s forte, Thompson thanked the appreciative crowd for their applause between songs, and he must not have forgotten being mocked in October for being from Scotland (an audience member then equating Scotland as if being out in the wilderness with no running water) because when asked to tell a Scottish joke, he responded good-naturely with a wry smile, “a Scottish joke? Fuck off!” This of course caused everyone in the club to laugh.

But we weren’t there to laugh, we were there to be rocked by the Jetpacks. The band powered through 10 songs, with ‘It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning’ and ‘Roll Up Your Sleeves’ being major highlights for me. The set also included two new ones that might be on a new EP, but I can’t tell you for sure because it’s not on Fat Cat Records’s Web site yet, and the merch table was gone by the time the show was over and I couldn’t find any of the band to ask them about the new release. (The disappearing merch table is one of the few complaints I have about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel, as I couldn’t get Miike Snow merch last September there either.) In short: it may have been Valentine’s Day, but thanks to this amazing show, I walked out into the cold Washington night with a spring in my step.

After the cut: photos and set list.

Continue reading Live Review: We Were Promised Jetpacks with Typefighter and Bad Veins at Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel, Washington DC – 13 February 2010


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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

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