INTERVIEW: Stephanie Stevens talks to The Veer Union guitarist Ryan Ramsdell about the bands new music, what the band has been doing during the Pandemic and what band they would love to cover - READ IT HERE
By: Stephanie Stevens
Let me start off by saying this THE VEER UNION is the most underrated band out there!! The showmanship, the songwriting abilities, the musicianship and the integrity this band has is breathtaking to say the least. Just take a minute and sit with the songs they create and the bands discography; dive into the lyrics and listen to the brotherhood you feel in the music, it’s pretty mind blowing and refreshing.
THE VEER UNION came onto the scene in 2004 from Vancouver. They released their first independent album “TIME TO BREAK THE SPELL” in 2006 under the name Veer. That was the start of getting people’s attention. In 2008 they became THE VEER UNION and landed a deal with Universal Records. The band’s first single “SEASONS” was a smash hit on radio from Canada and the US. Since 2008 the band have collectively sold over 100,00 albums and have reached 30 million streams worldwide. 7 tops 40 singles on the Billboard Rock Radio charts, and they continue to grow in numbers and in talent. You might ask yourself that sounds impressive and why did you say they are underrated? To me this band should be bigger and more well-known especially in the States I feel like they deserve more than they have been given even though what they have accomplished is pretty stellar.
The band is gearing up to unleash a Quarantine inspired Ep in 2021 with a multitude of Collaborations and gave the fans and music fans worldwide a sneak peek with a track that is the most socially conscious song/video to date for the band “SLAVES TO THE SYSTEM” featuring West Virginia rockers, Defending Cain. A rocker of a song, anthem empowered, aggressive and heavy power, the uniting of these two bands just accelerate the song to even a higher level.
I had a chance to speak with guitarist Ryan Ramsdell about the new song, “SLAVES TO THE SYSTEM”, where he sees Rock Shop Records (rockshoprecords.net) in 5 years and what he hopes people remember about THE VEER UNION.
Q: Seeing how 2020 has panned out as of now it was a no brainer a song like SLAVES OF THE SYSTEM was written. What was the breaking point for you guys to finally say it’s time to use our voices?
A: STTS was actually an idea that started in late 2019, with the initial context being that of online privacy with big tech, it was essentially expanding on the topic we touched on in our previous song “Living Not Alive”. As the song began to develop further in very early 2020, the chorus lyrics were written with that topic still being the emphasis, then the pandemic broke out. About two months into the pandemic the song was completed but with the state of uncertainty in the world, the shutdown of the entire economy, we put the release on pause to see how everything was going to play out. Then the riots happened... We felt it only strengthened our message. Eventually we were like "ok we've got to get back to releasing new music"... TVU has never been a political band but with the state of the world in regards to the economy, the non-stop emphasis of division engulfing everything, we just thought if there was ever a right time for us to release the song it was now.
Q:Was there a conversation with the guys in Defending Cain about the song topic and did you guys collaboration on the identity of the vibe n tone of the track and why did you choose them?
A: Actually yes there was. The pandemic had just hit. We had a brief discussion about how we didn’t want the song to be about Right or Left politics, we wanted it to be about unity, about all of us every day working people. Brandon threw down his tracks and sent them to us and we were like “WOW, he knocked it out of the park!” So, we went with it.
Q: What has been the hardest part to swallow looking over what is going on in the world these days?A: Outside of the economic shut down the hardest part is the constant dwelling and fixation on the division.
Q: Being a biracial band, did you guys ever have situations where people just didn't accept you because of it?
A: Absolutely not! We have always felt welcomed by the other bands and race has never been an issue. There have certainly been times where we have encountered racism on our journeys while traveling but it certainly hasn’t been inherent or often. We have had overwhelmingly great experiences.
Q: You guys are releasing an EP in 2021 which will have the platform song “SLAVES TO THE SYSTEM” on it. The interesting thing is the multi collaborations with other artists. How did you decide on what artists to work with?
A: Yes we are. Well, you just try to imagine who’s voices would sound the best with the style and feel of the song and then it's a matter of reaching out and who’s willing and available.
Q: Online communication-songwriting, is this normal for you guys and if not what obstacles did arise with it?
A: No it's not the usual way and that's the main obstacle. We’ve never worked online but so far so good!
Q: During quarantine, you guys have released some killer covers. Will we see a cover disc Part 2?
A: Thanks so much! Yes, at some point it will be but that will most likely be when we go back out on tour.
Q: What do you love most about interpreting another artists creation and is there always a back story of certain songs you pick?
A: In regards to interpreting another artist's creation, like everyone else, we are fans of music. The best part of the interpretation is that you get to decide how it applies to you. In regards to the songs going out for the collaboration, we already have a theme and an idea as a reference point so that the song has a coherent message.
Q: If you could pick any artist to cover one of your songs what artist would it be?
A: Oh man that's tough. Tool/A Perfect Circle or Deftones.
Q: RockShop Records, is in a way the child for THE VEER UNION, Was this a bucket list dream you had and where do you see the company in the next 5 years?
A: Crispin and I are Co-Owners of RSR. Crispin is CEO, Marketing Director and the in house Producer. Crispin had the idea many years ago and it's come to fruition over the past few years.
We want to work with and develop new artists and vastly grow their reach while maintaining great relationships with them. We want our label to be a good experience for our artists, a place where they feel heard and also develop them in ways that their core essence/vision of their project remains intact. It's very important to us that they are happy and feel like part of the family. Hopefully in 5 years our label will have grown enough and we will have attained enough success that more established acts will look at RSR and want to be a part of what we’re doing. We’ve been very fortunate to have achieved what we have with TVU and we want to continue to be a part of the music world after our touring days in TVU are done or diminished.
Q: What do you hope people will remember most about your art/music?
A: TVU has always been about hope. We are so incredibly fortunate to have connected with the amount of people we have over the years and throughout the years we have received incredible messages about how our songs have helped people get through difficult times in their lives. We’ve always created music because it's what we love and need to do for ourselves, but hearing people's personal stories about how they’ve connected with our songs is one of the most rewarding things you can imagine. We hope that our music will be remembered as a positive message that helps people believe in themselves and want to help others around them. As long as people have hope, they will always want to keep growing, keep striving and keep living. The world is a better place when people have hope, if we can be remembered for adding to that in hope in some small way, that would be amazing.
Q: If you could give people struggling with finding a passion they love to do, what advice would you tell them?
A: Look at the things that make you happy, that make you smile, that want to make you get up in the morning. Don’t worry too much about what other people say or think about you, your life is yours and you never know when your life or health will be taken. The balance between happiness and commerce is often very difficult for the vast majority of people. You always need money but money comes and goes and when you make the jump to the afterlife, your soul is the only thing coming with you. Respect your soul, feed it with things that bring you joy, believe in yourself. Have faith, follow your heart and keep in mind that some of the most miserable people out there are people with money and some of the happiest are those that have almost none.
Q: Empower another artist by telling us someone u admire and why you admire them?
A: We admire all you young kids coming up playing rock/hard rock and metal and pushing the boundaries by blending new sounds, new textures and breathing new life into the Hardrock/Metal genre. Keep going, keep pushing, keep dreaming and for god's sake, keep working as hard as you possibly can without giving up because without you, the craft will die.
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