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Interview: Bad Veins

Bad Veins has been a favorite in the local music scene for years. From the release of their first album, Bad Veins, they’ve taken Cincy by storm and gained national popularity. Fans everywhere fell in love with Bad Veins’ unique sound and stage set up, with just a drummer, Ben, and the beloved Irene (a reel to reel player that gives the band a vintage feel). Touring with bands like Walk the Moon and Two Door Cinema Club, Bad Veins is no stranger to success.

After a re-release of their second album in 2015, titled The Mess Remade, Bad Veins seemed to have disappeared.

Although the past couple of years for Bad Veins has been rocky, the genius behind it all, Ben Davis, has stuck by Bad Veins’ side. After a hiatus that left fans wondering what was next for BV, Davis is ready to make his return. Check Bad Veins out at the Woodward Theater on Saturday, February 17th!

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CincyMusic was lucky enough to chat with Davis about what fans should be expecting from the new and improved Bad Veins.

It’s been a couple of years since we’ve heard from Bad Veins. What have you been up to since the release of The Mess Remade?
I’ve spent a lot of time doing what normal people do, a lot of things I had not really been able to do for years. I put my pictures in frames. I bought a lawnmower. I started running. I learned how to cook. I focused inward. I got far enough away from the performing and touring life that I think I’m finally ready to do it again, but now I can brag about being a runner. Did I mention I’ve been running?

How has your songwriting evolved in the meantime?
I don’t know if it has. I think my approach has always been the same. I sit down with either a guitar or piano, and start playing something. My current stylistic direction will arc this or that way, whatever I find tickles my brain in some new way. Ultimately my ethos is what it is, for better or worse.

You’ve been dropping hints on social media about a possible new album, “Bad Veins 3.0,” as fans are familiar with. Do you have a set date for its release?
Ha! First off I’m sorry that fans are familiar with the idea of this unreleased album, I realize I’ve teased it every now and again over the last year or so. The 3rd Bad Veins record is indeed finished! There were some major scheduling setbacks, including my personal need for a hiatus, some restructuring at the label, and a few other issues. The label has been extremely patient and understanding with me as I’ve reacclimated myself to performing again. We are talking again about locking in a date for release but it should be in the spring or summer.

Where has the inspiration for so-called “Bad Veins 3.0” come from?
My inspiration for songs has always been something I’ve been uneasy trying to explain. I’m sure some people sit down thinking they are going to write a song about a specific topic on their mind, but that is not really the way my process works. I think that all the experiences in my life, all the people I’ve known, places I’ve been, songs I’ve heard, they all just mix together to make me who I am, and when I write something, whatever that is just pours out. I don’t force it in one direction or the other. I could try to retroactively suss through it and present it like I had some great idea, and maybe I even did, but I don’t know if that's my job to determine.

I know we will be expecting a lineup change for the return of Bad Veins. What will a live Bad Veins show look like in 2018?
A great drummer from here in Cincinnati, Dan Crowe, who was introduced to me by my pal Jane Decker, has been rehearsing with me for the past several months. He’s doing a great job and will be onstage with me for the foreseeable future. In fact, he can be credited for getting Bad Veins up and running so quickly. We had a lot of work to do and he kept me hustling.

Cincinnati doesn’t want to share you… but if we MUST, do you plan on touring in the near future?
Yes, we’re talking with the team now, trying to size up exactly what we want to do, but some touring will definitely happen this year!