“This was the first time we’ve ever played outside of Newfoundland. It’s going pretty well,” says Peter Andrews, drummer of the St. Johns, NL post-hardcore group Veneers. Touring on the release of Similar Stories, Veneers’ debut LP (after a demo and a split single), his tone is measured yet genuinely excited — the band is a long way from home when I speak with him, with plans to play Victoria a few days later.
“Once you’re [in Calgary], you might as well just go all the way,” Andrews laughs.
Andrews — whose “band roster,” he recently figured, was at 16 — speaks frankly and openly about Veneers’ place within the vibrant yet insular (not to mention geographically isolated) music scene of St. Johns.
“There are a lot of bands, and a lot of styles that you wouldn’t expect out of such an isolated community. But the thing about Newfoundland is that almost none of those bands ever get out touring — just getting to Halifax is a 10-hour drive, six-hour ferry, and a five-hour drive, so it’s tough. The ‘scene’ within itself is great, but it’s very insular and very incestuous.”
A small, insular musical community has certain advantages, but it can also be relentlessly frustrating and difficult to escape. As Andrews notes, touring the country has been a positive experience for Veneers.
“We’re definitely fish out of water in a situation like Newfoundland. There’s a lot of like, cookie-cutter hardcore and people are really into ’80s throwback hardcore and that kind of stuff. And people really like pop-punk. Those are the two pillars that the punk scene runs on. Bands exist between it, but we were definitely outside of those things. We’ve definitely gotten much better responses in other cities. That’s the benefit of touring out of Newfoundland — you play to people who actually understand where you’re coming from.”
Similar Stories is the post-hardcore group’s debut LP, split-released between the Halifax label Noyes and Andrews’ own Anteduvia imprint. In less than a half hour, Veneers conjure a serrated “post-whatever” assault that creatively mixes all sorts of post-punk signifiers (e.g., angular rhythms, constant tension between melody/dissonance) into a lean, visceral recording.
You’ll be able to see Veneers recreate all the jagged and noisy unease of their recordings at Tubby Dog on Thursday, August 16, alongside likeminded Calgary cohorts Stalwart Sons and Tel Fyr.