Published Jun 21, 2018"Maybe just write 'fuck them.'"
Speaking to Exclaim! from his home in the Merrimack Valley, Vein vocalist Anthony Didio explains that, although Vein are on the brink of revealing their first full-length, Errorzone, their 2017 split release with Richmond, VA hardcore band .Gif From God was much less congenial.
"I've been waiting for someone to ask me about this on record," Didio says. "Those kids are weird. I don't know where to begin."
He provides us with a timeline — Didio and drummer Matt Wood were introduced by their sisters at a show in Haverhill, MA in 2010. The two later linked with guitarists Jeremy Martin, Josh Butts and bassist Jon Lhaubouet, who were all playing in other bands, and formed Vein in 2013. The group's success was initially a slow burn; local shows had healthy turnouts and exciting reactions, but touring was "fucking shitty, basically nothing."
They travelled to Virginia in the summer of 2016 for a festival outside of Vein's hardcore realm, with a lineup chock full of screamo groups. Vein bonded particularly well with one of the festival's acts, .Gif From God. The two agreed to release a split seven-inch together, but their visions conflicted in the months that followed.
"Everything was difficult from the jump," Didio admits.
"In hindsight, it was never really a split. It was a cool idea with so much difficulty on their end. They didn't seem to want to have anything to do with us once it was released, and had an unsupportive view on where we were at as a band, and the hardcore community overall. I know this, because some of them can't keep their mouth shut online. We were way more accepting of them than they were of us. They're just whiny fucking kids. Musically, we thought it was the perfect pairing for what we wanted to achieve. We really didn't want it to be this way, but that's their problem."
The release elevated Vein to the helm of the "Long Boston" movement; a term coined by the band Typecaste, it represents "the whole North-East sound and friend group," including Sanction, Jukai and Buried Dreams. Excluding the aforementioned seven-inch, Didio says that Vein never quite gelled with their recorded efforts, pre-Errorzone.
"I think we hit our stride when we put out those four songs last January. The other recordings didn't do justice [to] how we wanted to sound. They were like a whole other animal live," Didio says. "I can't even listen to those records anymore. They're sterile and don't hold that power. That seven-inch hit hard, was gross, raw and what we always wanted."
The group had initially crafted an nascent version of Errorzone a year before recording at Graphic Nature Audio with Will Putney.
"Will helped make the version of the record that we heard in our heads for years," Didio says. "We wrote it almost a little too early. I listen to those old recordings now, and hear it differently. If you don't take a step back, it's not really going to hit somebody the way you intended."
Errorzone's first single "Virus://Vibrance" showcases jarring drum & bass grooves, which Didio credits to Vein's love of trip-hop. The industrial elements pull from '90s alt-electronica, while the visuals for the track recall Britpop videos.
"At that time everything was oversaturated and blown-out, colour-wise. The video separates that futuristic, clean aesthetic from something really primal and disgusting," he says. "The tunnel footage and colour scheme was also influenced by this movie I love called Fallen Angels. That set the vibe going into it."
Didio explains that Errorzone grew from "natural, subconscious ideas," and is not the nostalgic tribute to Slipknot or Converge that their YouTube comment sections seem to believe.
"Nostalgia is great, and I think there are bits of it in Errorzone, but you have to take that nostalgia and move it forward. If it's all based on nostalgia, then it's a tribute to a vibe rather than creating something that has yet to exist. I wouldn't proudly wear any comparison. You can't hear one song on the album and understand the whole thing," Didio says.
"I enjoy seeing people compare our music, because I can't wait for them to hear the next song. They'll have to reconsider their opinions once they have a better understanding of what the album is. We love most of the bands that people compare us to, but it's pigeonholing. It's a way of easily understanding something that isn't easily understood.
"If someone thinks it's really harsh to listen to, I think that's awesome. If it's having that effect on someone, I guess the music holds a lot of power to cause such a conflicted reaction."
Errorzone comes out June 22 via Closed Casket Activities.