Inside the Setlist chats with VEER about their history and the future!
Veer recently took some time from their busy schedule to give Inside The Setlist an interview. Veer is a hard rock band based out of Annapolis, Maryland. Veer has been working hard since their debut album release in December of 2018. They have shared stages with acts such as Puddle Of Mudd, Fuel, Sponge and more won Best Rock Band at the Maryland Music Awards in 2018. Please, take a moment to learn more about them and be sure to listen to their music and catch them live when you can.
Inside The Setlist: Who came up with the name Veer and is there any meaning behind it?
Ronald: We started writing some songs, realizing we needed a name, so Jon and I just started texting potential names back and forth to each other. The first few were pretty good but then we just went off the rails—every stupid word, or combo of words, and we’d send a text. We did this like 40 times a day. Finally, one of us came up with Veer, and we thought it was pretty cool. We’d all veered off and worked on various other projects for years, and now we’re back together again. So it fit.
How long have you all known each other and how did you all meet?
I’ve known Jon since he was born. We’re brothers, about eight years apart, and not twins like some people think. I guess either I look younger than I am or he looks older. Fowler was the guitarist in my band Nellie Blide, back in the early 2000s, and we’ve just become tight friends over the years. I met Christian through Fowler, years ago, and he was who we contacted when we put this band together and needed a bass player. I don’t think I even realized he played until Fowler suggested him. The whole thing just worked out like magic, man. It’s been great.
Who started the band and when?
My brother Jon (the drummer) and I started the band in 2016 or so, after backing up a friend’s band at a festival. We’d both been out of the scene for years and never thought we’d get back involved in an active band, but it just kind of came together after we played that festival and made the decision to move forward and start working on original material. Ryan Fowler, who’s a close friend and the former guitarist in my old group, Nellie Blide, was recruited, and he brought along bassist Christian Mathis. We all just clicked.
Who do you feel you sound like? Who are some of your influences?
Our influences are legion—from 1950s blues and early rock, jazz, alternative/grunge rock, metal, pop music. You name it. We’ve also been fortunate enough to have shared the stage with some of my personal favorites, like Fuel, Sponge, Puddle of Mudd and Trapt to name a few, and most recently the guys in Coal, who are a band from our area. Some really great stuff.
Do you have a label?
We’ve released our album on our own label, Magthoy Music. Fifteen or so years ago, it seemed the goal was to land that elusive record deal. Now, it doesn’t seem to matter all that much. A lot of the music I listen to now isn’t on a major label.
Do you have sponsors or brands you would like mention?
RONALD: Jon’s got us like a billion sponsors... JON: lol yes, we are very fortunate to have some really amazing sponsors and promotional companies that have helped us out tremendously. Shout out to Freestate Custom Guitars, Ryan Fowler's Guitar Experience, Pick Guy Guitar Picks, 1710 Percussion, PRS Guitars, Monster Grips, Killer-q Guitar Straps, Dirtbag Clothing, Scorpion Percussion and The Groupie Chord Solution. We have also had a lot of support from David Snowden Promotions and PM Star Promotions with our merchandising. All around we are very lucky.
What are some of your favorite venues you have played?
RONALD: Fish Head Cantina just outside Baltimore has become like a second home to us. The venue and promoters take exceptional care of us, we’re really very spoiled when we play there. JON: Also, The Metropolitan in our hometown of Annapolis, Maryland.
What venue do you hope to play soon?
RONALD: I think we’re all looking to stretch out and play a large arena show. That would be fun. Fowler does it regularly with his other band, so we’re trying to land the best combo of venue and lineup of acts to facilitate this.
Who writes your songs?
In general, I come up with the basic skeleton of the songs—the chord progressions, the melodies, the lyrics—and we work them over as a band. Some change drastically, some change very little. It usually depends on how complete the song is when I bring it to the band. The other guys have brought riffs to the table that we’ve worked on, too, and there have been some attempts at jamming to different licks in a more spontaneous way, which has resulted in some material we’re working on now that sounds really tight.
We have such a wide spread sound that certain people will hear different influences in our music.
What song do you feel our readers should listen to first for them to get a feel for Veer?
RONALD: “Come Clean” was our first single and I think it’s a good representation of our sound—it’s catchy, with a driving rhythm, and a blistering guitar solo. JON: I think it is kind of hard to say, we have such a wide spread sound that certain people will hear different influences in our music. I think the best part of our sound is that we can play with heavy bands as well as more radio friendly mainstream bands. They would have to check out the full album to really get a sense of VEER.
What are some of the topics your songs have been about?
RONALD: The stories behind the songs—the lyrics—tend to be darker than the music actually is. This isn’t necessarily on purpose, just a way it all shakes out in the end. When I write, I usually come up with a melody at first, structure some chords around it, build the song sonically from the ground up. The lyrics are generally the last piece of that puzzle. Until then, I’m basically just intonating certain vowel sounds in the melody, sometimes even mumbling nonsense until I hook onto something I like that speaks to me. Lyrically, the songs tend to be a reflection of things that are going on at the time they’re written—loved ones battling addictions, the success the band has had in such a quick amount of time, the faces we wear in public verses in private when in the scene and performing, things like that.
What has been the band's biggest challenge so far and have you overcome it?
In a way, it’s having to come to grips that we’re going to turn down some big events simply because we’re unable to travel as much as a touring band. That was the consensus from the start with VEER. We all have other jobs—I write books, Fowler plays in another band, we’ve all got families. We’ve been offered some great shows that we’ve sadly had to turn down.
What do you think is the band's next big challenge?
JON: Working on new material for the next album, getting ideas together for a music video while maintaining our show presence. There are always a lot of challenges that come up when you are in a band or working on a project. However, we are always trying to do something different than everybody else and we do have some cool things in the works right now that I think will surprise a lot of people.
What advice do you have for new musicians?
RONALD: Write killer fucking songs.
Any final words or thoughts?
JON: Check us out and let us know what you think, and to all our fans, we really appreciate the support! Also, thank you to Brian and Inside The Setlist for taking the time to interview us, see you all at a show.
*VEER IS: RONALD MALFI – vocals, guitar RYAN FOWLER – lead guitar, backing vocals JON MALFI – drums CHRISTIAN MATHIS – bass
*FIND VEER NOW: ONLINE: http://veerband.net/ INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/veerband/ FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/veerband TWITTER: https://twitter.com/VeerBand?lang=en YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrghUCsCW3xCBKjOvz_KbKw SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6ic1yPFZ22kzzUSUIrzO3s
Music is available on all major streaming and download sites worldwide as well as www.veerband.net for physical copies and merchandise.