INTERVIEW: Noah Veil And The Dogs of Heaven

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Very relieved, excited and anxious to get out this album we worked on for what feels like an eternity, thank you. How are you?

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Voices Carry”?

Noah- I laid some scratch tracks at home with guitar (tuned down to B standard, which is where I tune all of my guitars), drum machine and vocal,  uploaded them to the file sharesite and sent Sylvain the link. I told him “I hear such-and-such as the intro, what do you think?”, and it actually came together quite quickly.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Noah – As I’m sure you already know, we didn’t write it, it’s a cover of a song by Till Tuesday that was a hit back in 1985. Sylvain sent me a link to the original version early on in our creative relationship; he’s a big fan of 80s New Wave. I loved it. There’s an urgency, a bit of a despair to it. It smoulders, it’s dark.  The lyrics in the verses are from a woman’s point of view in an abusive relationship where she is the “other woman”, but the chorus is from the other person’s point of view and it’s major-keyed, so we get the insidious and manipulative side as well. When I listened to it, I could hear in my head how I would do it, it came to me very quickly. I changed the orientation of the verses from third-person to second-person, so rather than  having the perspective of me telling the listener about the relationship, it’s as if I am singing to the person with whom I’m involved. So, to me, it acquires the aspect of confronting the abuser, rather than complaining, confessing or seeking sympathy from the listener.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Noah- Yes, we already have a lyric vid for it ( which Sylvain produced using stock footage and graphics he created (he’s brilliant at these sorts of things). I flew to California and we shot a performance vid for it November 14th at the studio of photographer Dave Lepori, who did our album and promo shots. Sylvain and I directed it, with both Dave and Sylvain shooting. Sylvain is, of course, editing it and doing all of the post-work. I don’t want to give it all away, but it has an S&M theme, putting me in the role of the abused and a female in the role of the abuser. I felt it was only fair, considering the original version of the song was written and sung by a woman, Amy Mann. Turnabout is fair play, right? Anyway, I can take it.

The single comes off your new album Forever Immortal – what’s the story behind the title?

Noah- It was inspired by the lyrics of one of the tracks from the album, Dancing With The Damned, which has to do with vampirism, reincarnation and immortality.  The title evokes vampires or something connected to the gods, and those are both things for which Sylvain and I share an affinity. Plus, I like the symmetry between the number of syllables in both words.

How was the recording and writing process?

Noah- Aside from the covers, I had already written the songs when I found Sylvain through an ad I placed on SF Bay Area Craigslist. I had placed the same ad in a number of cities’ Craigslists all over North America, in both Canada and the US. He was the only one who took me seriously and didn’t ”offer” to help me by asking for money. The track After Hours began with some tracks Sylvain had recorded before we met. He sent them to me and asked if I thought I could write a song around them. I immediately began hearing melodies and had pretty-much all of the melody and lyrics completed within 24 hours of receiving it. I added the music for the bridge, came up with the guitar parts, and that was that. Our process, once we established it, is pretty simple: I record scratch tracks in ProTools at home in Nova Scotia (click track, guitar, vocals and drum machine), render them to  stereo files and upload them to a fie sharing site. I give Sylvain a few notes on what I hear for synths and loops. He lays his ideas to the stereo scratches, uploads them and I listen to them. We go back and forth, exchange opinions on all the parts (synths, loops, guitars, vocals and drum machine), get the parts exactly where we want them and then I record all my final master tracks and upload. Meanwhile, Sylvain brings stereo files of the final scratches to the drummer, along with click tracks, who duplicates the drum machine tracks  and replaces them with his own live drum tracks, which he records at his home studio. For the album, Sylvain located a female vocalist, a brilliant operatic soprano named Rachel DuMouchel, drove to her home and recorded her performing the parts we’d written for her. Once Sylvain had all the final master tracks and we had chosen the guy we wanted to mix it, he gave the mixe engineer the link to the masters. After the mix engineer and Sylvain had things about 80% there, I flew out to California and sat in for the final 20% of the mixing. Once we signed off on it, the engineer mastered it, and there you have it. We’ve also recorded a few more cover songs, mixed entirely by Sylvain, that we’re thinking about releasing. Using this process, we’re able to spontaneously record songs, start-to-finish, very quickly.

What role does Canada plays in your music?

Noah- Aside from being my home, not much. I am a fish out of water when it comes to my musical tastes, considering where I live. I suppose if I lived in Montreal or Toronto, even Vancouver, I might have more of a chance at finding musicians who like what I like, but metal isn’t huge in Canada, especially not in the Maritimes, where the preferred styles definitely lean more towards Indy Rock and singer-songwriter oriented artists. The internet is my “scene”; my influences come to me from all over the world and from multiple genres and decades, not from my local music scene and community.

What aspect of immortality did you get to explore on this record?

Dancing With The Damned tells the story of an ancient priest-king whose queen was murdered by his rival; he barely escapes assassination. He learns from a seer that she will be born again, but centuries in the future. The priest king then makes a deal with his gods to become immortal, a vampire, so he can wait for her to return and make her a vampire as well so they can live out eternity, together. So I guess we explore both the aspects of immortality granted by vampirism as well as the immortality granted by reincarnation as well as  the terrible loneliness of bein immortal and alone and the potential for eternal joy in sharing immortality with another.

Any plans to hit the road?

It seems wisest to us to wait and see if our album sells enough to create a demand for us to play live shows. We don’t see live performance as an effective promotional tool. We can spend the same amount of money on internet-based promotion and reach thousand of times more people, potentially, than by paying to put together players and playing shows where, at best we will be paid nothing or, at worst, actually have to pay to play them. In any event, at this stage we couldn’t expect to do any better than merely break-even if we’re very, very lucky. If we gain enough of an audience, we’ll be offered actual money to play shows. Sylvain and I and anyone else we have to hire in order to tour have to eat, pay rent and meet all of the other financial obligations everyone has to meet in life, so we think it would be foolish to quit jobs and go into debt merely to play live shows without anyone knowing who we are yet.

What else is happening next in Noah Veil and The Dogs of Heaven’s world?

We see our greatest potential opportunities resulting from relocating to Europe; that’s where the largest markets for our type of music are. Since our label, 7hard, is based in Germany, we’ve both concluded that, if things start taking off, it would make more sense for us to relocate and put together a band there, where we might have support and an audience, than to try that in North America, where we have none. If, as we hope, we take off in the US and/or Canada as well and we receive paid touring offers, we’ll play there. But to us, Europe is the “Promised Land”.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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