Veio’s Cam Byrd Discusses Bold New Album ‘Vitruvian’ And More

Veio; Photo by Morgan Larsen

Oregon progressive, alt-metal rockers, Veio released their critically acclaimed album, Vitruvian, via Silent Majority Group in late June.

The album’s name is inspired by a famous sketch from Leonardo da Vinci in 1490, and the band has conceptualized and translated the artist’s legendary “proportions of man” into a sonic interpretation on the album by giving each song a theme, emotion, and proportion of its own.

Vitruvian was recorded at Interlace Audio in Portland with Stephen Hawkes (Chelsea Grin, Attila) and additional production from Sylvia Massy (Tool, System of a Down), who labeled the band as the “loudest” that’s she has ever recorded. The cops were actually called as the band was tracking the drum portions of the record.

Vitruvian follows Veio’s 2017 debut album Infinite Light/Desperate Shadows and tours with the likes of Seether, Tremonti, Starset, The Veer Union, Skyharbor and RED.

As they continue to soak up the success of the project’s first two singles “Crux” and “Flare Of Defiance,” we had a chance to virtually catch up with Veio’s guitarist, Cam Byrd, who also happens to be the band’s vocalist, to discuss the recording process, working with Sylvia Massy and what the band has planned for the rest of this year.

How happy are you with all of the positive feedback that Vitruvian has been receiving? How does it feel to finally have the album released and in the hands of fans?

It’s been great because we worked on this album for a long time. It was a year and a half of actual recording and writing work along with mixing and mastering so it was a long process for us, especially it was a lot longer than we did in the past with our first record and other projects as well. To be able to get it out to people is just a breath of fresh air for us and even though it’s the same project, it’s a new stance as we’ve been working on it behind the scenes and now people get to see it and we’ve had great reviews of it so far so we’re really pleased with how it turned out and we’re proud of the work we did on it as well.

It has got to be a very different release process for you as a band to drop an album during the current COVID pandemic that we find ourselves in, as it leaves you unable to tour and follow a lot of the usual steps that would normally go behind a new album’s promotion. How are you navigating all of it? 

Yeah, you know it really sucks right now because we would be out touring … you know we had two tours cancel on us because of the current situation and then we had two or three perspective tours for later in the summer and the fall to really get out and promote this record and that’s what bands do … you drop a record and then you go on tour so you can play the songs for the people, you are promoting and getting it out there in the people’s hands and ears. Right now we are just doing everything we can as far as digital marketing, live streams, getting out there to the fans through that avenue, and just really trying to connect with people because we can’t be at the merch table after our set chatting with people at the show or meeting people outside the venue and obviously playing for the people too. We are just clawing our way through this time like everyone else with different situations and just hope that as many people are hearing the records as possible right now.

It is wonderful to hear that songs from the album are on rotation at rock radio, but it was been really amazing to see the cinematic quality visually that you are doing with the music videos. They truly look phenomenal. Are there any plans in the works for additional videos? 

First of all, thank you! We appreciate it! Our guys Stephen and Chris in Totally Serious Productions … that’s their company name … always do a great job for us. Those guys are like family to us now … Stephen has even gone on tour with us to do videography work, in fact, he has even filled in on bass a couple of times, so those guys do an excellent job and we really love working with them. We definitely do have plans to do at least one more video for this new record, me, personally, I would like to do two …we’ll see what happens moving forward, but I think the plan right now is to at least do one for maybe one of the songs that’s more for lack of a better term radio-friendly or mainstream and also the one we want to do it for is the last track on the album Centauri which is a nine-minute super epic, big kind of prog anthem I guess you could say, so we’ll see what happens with that.

I love how the songs on the album all flow together very naturally and I loved reading that each song kind of has its own theme and emotion which is refreshing, as we can often find ourselves trapped in a singles market where people don’t always choose to listen to an album as a whole anymore. It is great in the sense that now people may have a bit more time to do that and appreciate it more, as odd as that sounds. 

Yeah, definitely! Thank you for that compliment because that’s what we really set out to do with this record. It was to just make a fully cohesive record and not go the whole singles route with just filler songs in between. In writing the lyrics I did find a theme to each song and just parts of everyday human life that we all go through such as emotions, interactions … just things that we all experience as human beings and in doing so I feel, at least in my opinion that we put together a pretty cohesive album. That was the goal and that was the whole concept behind it so we’re pleased with the way that turned out.

It is clear that there is definitely some influence from artist Leonard DaVinci, as many will recognize from the album title alone. Would you say that is one of the many threads that tie the album together? 

Oh, it totally did! The record is called Vitruvian because as many people out there have seen, DaVinci did a sketch called Vetruvian Man, which is a pretty famous sketch, and his purpose in doing it was or rather his title of it is translated as Proportions of Man so I conceptualized that as Proportions of Man in terms of things that we all deal with each and every day, not physical proportions as DaVinci once wrote. I took things that we experience such as how we want to take care of ourselves, anxiety and depression, awe and wonder, human relationships … things like that … I took Proportions of Man and assigned it a concept and gave each song a theme within that and that is how the album title Vitruvian came out.

That is a fantastic interpretation, as each and every person interprets art a different way, they can definitely do the same thing with music. We all take away various things and it is open to a wide variety of interpretations. 

Totally!

Does Veio have plans for into 2021 or is everything still up in the air at the moment? 

Honestly, yes, everything is still up in the air a bit because we don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know when venues are going to be opening back up, we don’t know when larger groups are going to be able to gather and we don’t know if the summertime, with the hot weather on this side of the planet is going to help burn away some of the viruses as they tend to do in the hotter weather but right now we are just taking things one step at a time right now and we’re promoting this record but we do have plans to get back into the studio maybe later this fall and into the wintertime and get some more recording done and get some more music out there. If early next year touring does open up again we’ll go out and play this current record for people and maybe keep some new material in our back pocket or maybe we will just release an EP or perhaps another full-length album back to back within a year of each so that would be kind of crazy. We just have to do what we can for right now and keep things moving forward.

You guys did such an amazing job with keeping the album very cohesive as you mentioned before, were there any tracks that didn’t make the cut for Vitruvian

Thank you, appreciate that! Not really, you know, we went into the recording process for this album with a real focused approach, so there wasn’t a whole lot that didn’t make the cut because we basically wrote the songs from the ground up with a purpose for each one and I don’t mean a purpose that I can assign a label to or anything, it was just that we were really focused and driven with each song to create something that we were fully satisfied with and we really went in with a microscopic approach to each song. There wasn’t a whole lot that didn’t make the cut, however, there was one song that we did that didn’t make it on the album as it didn’t really fit the theme musically for now, but we have that fully recorded and ready to go so that’s one we have in our back pocket still, but other than that, we are ready to go to the next stage with that super ultra-focused songwriting and see where that goes again.

Reading that you guys worked with Sylvia Massey and her recalling that you were the “loudest” band she had ever recorded and that cops were actually called during the drum recording, can you talk about that experience? 

Yes, that is completely correct. Sylvia did say that about us, which is crazy considering all the people she has worked with such as System of a Down, Tool, Johnny Cash, Prince … these crazy artists, but yeah, we got the cops called on us because my brother is the ultimate loud caveman drummer that you can imagine like he hits those things louder than almost anyone out there and then I’m a pretty loud vocalist, I don’t scream a whole lot … I don’t do a whole lot of shouty stuff, but I just have a more boisterous voice when I’m singing I suppose and she lent us that compliment and it was crazy, as she had never had the cops called on her out there at the studio. It was pretty fun and funny experience all in one and it was awesome to be able to work with her as well.

Veio was one of the first bands signed to the relaunch of Silent Majority Group. Can you tell us how the deal came about? 

They have been great for us! We have been working with them for almost two years and we had a manager here locally in Portland, Oregon who was handling some business for us and he kind of felt like we needed to be pushed up to the next level and he had some contacts with Jeff Hanson from Silent Majority Group and he was the guy behind mega acts such as Creed, Paramore, Sevendust and people like that so our local guy here felt like we needed to be pushed up to the next level and we’re very thankful that it all worked out because Jeff and Mark and the other guys at SMG love us and they are practically family right now as well, so we built a great relationship with them and we talk to them in at least some avenue almost every day. We are thrilled to be under their guidance and under their wing and look forward to what they can do for us in the future as well.

You guys were recently part of our Mayhem Unplugged Festival which was amazing to hear your songs acoustically. Do you have any additional live stream performances planned? 

We’ve been thinking about that a lot because we’ve said there’s no touring, there’s no playing for people right now but at the same time not to sound too uptight about it but there’s a lot of bands out there right now doing live stream stuff, so if we are going to do this we want to find a way or a plan to tweak our songs or morph them or maybe approach them in a different light to be able to perform for people rather than just picking up a couple of acoustics or some basement rocking out video type of thing. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that, as there are a lot of bands out there doing great stuff with that right now and when we performed with you guys we did tweak those songs acoustically, as they are tuned differently to fit a more acoustic type vibe and we played them differently to get a different type vibe so I’m glad it all worked out and it was a lot of fun doing that with you guys, so if we’re going to do that in future we want to figure out how to approach our songs a little bit differently and be able to translate them into a different light.

What is one of your hopes that fans will take away from the album? 

As with any artist, I just hope people like it! There was a lot of heart and soul put into it and a lot of hard work and I hope that people just dig the music and it brings some sort of enjoyment into their life. Maybe during this weird time where everyone is essentially stuck at home with not a whole lot extra to do they discover some new music and that brings them a little bit of normalcy or joy in these unprecedented times as they say right now. I hope that Vitruvian is well received by more and more people each day and we look forward to getting back out and playing for people as well!

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