MEB staffer Craig Roxburgh recently had the chance to catch up with UK alternative rock upstarts Verses, who have been creating a lot of noise in the UK with the release of their debut album Feel It Faster. Craig caught up with vocalist/guitarist Jason Danzelman about the band’s recent success, the UK alternative rock scene and the best British band of all time.
MEB: Hey guys, could you give Mind Equals Blown readers a history regarding your band?
Jason Danzelman: We’ve all known each other for years since we were at school together. We jammed for a couple of years and played some terrible covers but decided to turn it into a real band and start making a proper go of it in 2010.
I usually find that bands with simple names usually have unique stories behind their names. Why did you pick the name Verses?
Some people think it might be a religious reference. None of us are actually religious at all, but verses are used as a way of helping people guide themselves through life, and that’s what a lot of our songs are about…those personal verses we all have inside us that help us find our way through life, not in a religious sense but more just on a human level.
You guys have spent a good part of this year on the touring circuit and have played numerous festivals this year. What has that experience been like?
It’s been amazing! We love to keep busy, we tend to get really agitated and frustrated during time off between tours so it’s great for us to keep out there and play some of these shows and festivals that we could only dream of playing a few years back.
Your debut album Feel It Faster has been incredibly well-received by the fans and also by press outlets like Kerrang and Rock Sound. How does this love you’ve received, especially from such well-known press outlets, make you feel?
It’s really humbling and it’s kind of like a huge sigh of relief. It took almost a year from recording it to being able to actually put it out, so there was a lot of expectation! Obviously we knew we loved it no matter what people thought, but it feels amazing to hear so many nice things when we worked on something that hard for so long.
2014 seems to be the year of the breakout UK alternative rock bands, with the likes of I Divide and Blitz Kids being well-received by the general public. What are your thoughts regarding your fellow bands within the UK scene?
There are so many bands doing well over here, it’s a really great time for UK rock! It’s cool because it never feels like there’s any rivalry or anything, and because it’s such a small country it’s like everyone seems to know everyone in the scene, so it’s a great community full of positive vibes.
Also, what do you think is the reason that alternative rock seems to have caught on so well in the UK?
I guess for quite a few years there was a lack of decent straight up melodic rock here. There was a period of time when everyone seemed so concerned with trying to create weird new genres that they forgot to stop and just say “you know what, let’s just try and write a great song.” But now the art of songwriting is back and people are definitely appreciating that in a big way!
With regards to Blitz Kids, you’re setting out on a tour of Germany with them soon. How are you feeling for this tour?
We’re incredibly excited! It will be our first time in Germany, and all we’ve done in Europe so far is one festival in Norway, so this will be our first proper run of dates in Europe. It feels like it’s opened up a new world for us and Blitz Kids are great dudes so it’s going to be a blast!
I really liked the concept behind the music video for “Making Statues”. Where did the inspiration come from for the creation of that video?
It was directed by a brilliant bunch of guys called Sitcom Soldiers. I sent them the lyrics and said that the song is about trying not to worry too much about time and about changing things that are out of our control, and that’s what they came up with. It took a lot of bouncing back and forth with different ideas and endings but we’re so happy with how it turned out!
What is the message that you’d like people to take from your music?
Lyrically, I write what I write to try and feel more positive about myself and about the world around me. It doesn’t always come from a positive place but it’s about slowly figuring life out, and if our music and our words can help people do that and help people feel more positive then we’re happy! That all sounds very serious doesn’t it…our music is fun too, honest!
Finally, in your personal opinion who do you think the greatest British band was?
That’s probably the toughest question ever! I guess if we’re talking sheer amount of classic songs and showmanship and versatility it’s gotta be Queen.
Purchase Verses’ debut album “Feel It Faster” here.