British/New Zealand band The Veils are one of my favorite acts. I’ve seen them live quite a few times, and after the shows met with the band several times.
They are all very kind and last time I asked if I could interview the only female in the band, bassplayer Sophia Burn. Dutch music magazine OOR named her not only the prettiest female bassplayer that music has to offer nowadays, but also one of the best bassplaying ladies! And she is also one of the nicest persons. She kindly obliged to answer some of our questions!
Do you get to do a lot of shopping when you’re on tour?
I for the amount of time I’m on tour the answer is no – often we get into cities after everything closes and leave before it opens. But I always try. Some cities that I’ve been to a few times I have shops I always try to go to, and that makes it easier – otherwise you can spend hours looking for the good places to go.
What’s your favorite item of clothing and how did you get to own it?
I think my favourite thing is this black velvet cape I have. I got it at a secondhand place in Portland, USA, which is amazing for shopping. Everything is ridiculously cheap, I think the cape cost me twenty dollars and it’s gorgeous, I wear it all winter – it’s been torn and sewn up twice now and keeps on being great. I have a lot of favourite clothes though, I’m a wear something until it falls apart person.
What are your favorite places to shop in London?
I hate shopping in London, and mostly don’t. It’s expensive and busy – secondhand stuff is stupidly overpriced and everything else is mostly gross. I do love Liberty, as a shop, I think it’s perfect, if I had more money I’d be there a lot. I also do occasionally like a skip down Old Bond Street, to look in Alexander McQueen and imagine if I were an oligarch.
How would you describe your individual style?
As I get older I realize more and more that getting dressed is an every day battle not to let my emo side take total control – much like my life.
Who are your style icons?
I don’t know about icons, but Cate Blanchett has lovely taste I think. I saw Laurie Anderson give a talk and she was wearing one of the best outfits I ever saw, it was just a flannel shirt, grey jeans and workboots, but something about it I just loved, maybe more cos I loved her. I like women who wear men’s clothes well – not in a prissy or self conscious way. Patti Smith does a good job. I like people who dress for their work, and people who wear uniforms, like Joseph Beuys.
What’s your favorite music video?
Right now, Shakira, She Wolf. I could watch that thing all day.
Is your on-stage style influenced by other female musicians from the past?
I don’t know. Probably very much so, but not consciously. I find myself feeling a bit of a kinship with the Kim Gordons and Melissa Auf Der Maurs, lately, where they were dressing in a reasonably feminine way but not being especially feminine in the way they were on stage. I like that. My stage clothes go in cycles – one thing will stick, I’ll wear it every show until it smells too bad to wear and then something will replace it.
What was the first concert you went to?
I went to a free Alanis Morisette concert, because everyone was wagging school and going. But the first one I actually went to for the music was this festival in New Zealand. Hole played, and Courtney Love got her tits out. Marilyn Manson also played – it was a pretty naked evening, in terms of performance.
What three records have been the most significant to you?
The Smashing Pumpkins – Melon Collie.
This was the first album I got and listened to over and over. My struggles with emo dressing are Billy Corgan’s fault I think. I still know most of the words.
Sparklehorse – Good Morning Spider
I bought this at random after I read an interview with Mark Linkous and something about him really appealed to me. Given that at the time most of my taste in music was kind of bullshit, I’m kind of surprised that I loved it so much – it was the first experience I had of liking a band that wasn’t just something all my friends liked, and I think it was more special to me for that.
Radiohead – OK Computer
I think Radiohead did something really lovely to a generation, where they made these records but also wanted people to know about music in general – they were always very open about influences and things to check out, and so you listened to other music as a result – when I started listening to Radiohead was when I think I started having an interest in listening to a lot of music, instead of just what happened to be around, on TV or the radio or whatever.
What song always cheers you up?
The Staple Singers – (If You’re Ready) Come Go With Me
What new band(s) should we check out?
Micachu and the Shapes, the xx, and the Mint Chicks.
Do you dress differently on- and offstage?
No, not at all. Though as I mentioned, my stage clothes after a while smell too bad for me to wear them anywhere but on a stage.
Do your bandmembers have a certain style of dressing, and how would you describe it?
I never think of us as a clothes band, but then we are all vain as hell and it probably does show.
Finn’s style always reminds me of if a Texas cowboy were crossed with an Edwardian dandy – he buys things in good fabrics that are well made, but he’s never too busy with it, they’re always functional.
Dan is even more uniform oriented than me. He wears the same tshirt on travel days every time, it’s a Neil Young one. For a man who doesn’t give a damn, I think he does well.
Raife has a totally luxe side that I think he tries to keep in check, that comes out in embroidered detail on shirts and the occasional cravat.
I’d like to mention Henning, cos he’s the one with the most ‘individual’ style, even though he’s not around anymore – we used to tease him about his clothes so much, because he has this penchant for mad shit, like a velvet tophat or a pair of red patent loafers, which on his size 13 feet make quite a statement, With Henning it felt like we were battling against what we saw as a tide of ridiculousness, but then it was also very lovable, and it made him happy.
Is it hard to be the only female in a band full of men?
Not at all.