Hell by Pat Veil | INTERVIEW
Author: Thommy Delaney

Pat Veil is one of the most unique rock artists of our generation. He combines power pop with the crunchiness of modern music. His latest album, "Hell," is a perfect of example of what he does. Although his lyrics may be distressing, they also have a bit of humor in them for everyone to enjoy. Let's take a dive into Pat's music and find out what makes his music great!

Hey Pat! Congrats on your latest album "Hell!" This your fifth album that you have released. Tell us a bit about what music you listened to growing up and how you eventually got into writing power pop songs as opposed to other style of modern music.

Thank you, Thommy. I appreciate it. When I was growing up, I listened mostly to music from before my own time. I didn't care for the stuff that labels marketed towards my demographic, and so I immersed myself in the sounds of previous times. Perhaps in a subconscious attempt to alienate myself from my peers, I pretty much developed my own musical tastes and interests. I always liked hard rock and a lot of 20 th century top 40 pop music, especially stuff from the '70s and '80s. When I write a song, I always make sure that the song is one that I would find appealing. After all, I'll be listening to the song about a million times during the recording and mixing phases, and it certainly helps to have a song I can stand listening to. And since I am a mark for a catchy tune, I kinda can't help but to try to make the song as hooky and catchy as I can. Pop songs with overdriven guitars.

The name of the album is for sure an interesting one. Where did title of the album come from?

It relates to my prior album, "No Longer Human." Conceptually, that album examined themes found in some of my favorite Japanese literature, particually Osamu Dazai's final novel, from which the album takes its name. Some considered the album morbid, and through a certain cultural lens, perhaps it is. It essentially takes place in a realm of death, metaphorically speaking. Once I finished it, I poked my head out of death's door and looked around. The world of the living looked like a "Hell." This album is mostly a document of what I have seen. If "No Longer Human" is an Eastern album, then this is my Western equivalent. It seems that Hell is always just outside my door. It can stay there.

From start to finish, this album is incredibly catchy and different from any modern rock album out today. What's your songwriting process when it comes to lyrics?

Thank you. I generally tend to come up with an idea for a song, first. Then a title. Then, I write and record the music. After that, I write the lyrics, and refine them until I think they balance the clear expression of intent with what works best for the song, musically.

It takes me usually about an thirty minutes to an hour to write a song, from start to finish. I rarely belabor the process, but there are exceptions. It's always just a matter of striking the aforementioned balance, but it's never been very difficult. On occasion, I have gutted a song, jettisoned the lyrics, and rewritten them completly. One muse sometimes breaks into another's nest, tosses its eggs to the ground, and lays its own, I suppose. Inspiration is a brutal kingdom.

Your vocal style is something that makes your music stand out from everyone else. Did you always sing like that or is that something you developed through the years you've been a musician?

When it comes to singing, I kinda try to do what I think would work best with the song. My earlier work was much more sonically confrontational, and I would usually just bark, growl, or scream as melodically as I could. Over time, this changed into what I sound like, presently. As my songwriting progressed, the songs themselves demanded more of my voice. I hope I have done them justice.

It's funny. I consider myself a rhythm guitarist first, a songwriter second, and a vocalist only out of sheer necessity. Regarding the past two albums, I've heard some positive comments about my singing. I'm as surprised as anyone else.

"The Place Where High School Never Ends" is for sure an instant classic! Was there something that happened to you in high school that inspired you to write this song?

Hah. No. I had no problems in school, socially or academically, but I also had no compelling interest in either. I did not find my classmates all that magnetic, none of us wanted to be there, and we all suspected that the curriculum would go on to serve us about as well as a dead waiter. Constant dramas playing out, all around, because nobody had anything better to do. Hundreds of teenagers, all trapped in an institution, where not one person on staff knew how to deal with the horde of snotty, depressed, bored, alienated kids; each possessing impossible dreams and no lives. It made such a small impression on me. I was more interested in partying.

The song is about the Western approach to social media. It feels like high school on an infinite loop, replete with all of the above cited features...but lamer, because it's not compulsory. That factor makes it seem like a form of self-abuse, really. Whatever gets one through the night, I suppose.

"Take It Away" was another song that piqued my interest. What are the lyrics about and where did the idea for them come from?

"Take It Away" is about automation of life to an extreme degree, leading to alienation, creeping despair, and ultimately, a futile, dead-end existence. The loyal consumer becomes a gangrenous appendix, rotting within the human comedy, to the extent that no one is even sentient enough to laugh at it. A species turning itself into that tree in the forest whose fall makes no sound.

A vestigial, but increasingly frustrated, craving for connection that jams a mind's circuits; cured only by the next funny cat video, "buy it now" click, or somesuch equivalent empty endorphin bump. People possess passion. If they don't use it one way, then they're gonna use it another way.

I don't make any kind of judgment about it. It's just the impression that I get. I had high hopes for Pokemon Go. It got people out of their houses for the first time in eons. Of course, they wound up walking into traffic, or falling off piers, while chasing down a Salazzle, but Rome was not built in a day. I just suspect it is healthier for technology to augment reality, than to replace it, outright. The song presents a "Hell" scenario of general human atrophy in the face of predatory invention.

It's also about how poor most customer support has become. Mostly about that, really.

"Century III," which is the final song on the album, is just a great banger that also is an instant classic. Does the title have anything to do with the century we live in or is there a completely other meaning?

Thank you so much. I really like this song, too. It was kind of inspired by early Manic Street Preachers. It's about the Century III Mall, in West Mifflin, Pa, just outside of Pittsburgh. It is a notorious dead mall, now, but when I was young, it was the most amazing, and beautiful, of malls. Dimly lit by tube chandeliers, and cavernous, with strange staircases; burnt brown tile floors. It felt like walking through a mall as designed by M.C. Escher.

I bought my first Roky Erickson album, there.

These days, it is one of the largest dead malls in the country. There are multiple youtube videos chronicling its degraded state; a hellscape of vandalism, burst water pipes, black mold, broken glass. Drawing its name from the U.S. entering its third century, Century III Mall meant to evoke excitment at the wonders to come in the century to follow. Best laid plans of mice and men, eh?

The song uses the mall as a symbolic microcosm of a larger story, though. Any interpretation of this song is likely correct.

Do you have any upcoming shows this year?

I don't. Over time, I became very ambivalent about live music. The studio is too enjoyable. I love writing songs, recording them, and trying out different techniques to shape the song into something I can enjoy to its fullest extent. I am always learning. Always hunting to do something that I might find appealing. That's the part of music that I love.

At some point, I would be interested in touring in Europe or Japan, where the lion's share of my audience resides. Basically, when it makes sense for me to perform live, I will perform live, but at the moment, I just enjoy writing and recording so much more. I wouldn't want to bring myself to a point where music became a chore, as I often found the live stateside experience to be.

What else do you have planned now that "Hell" has been released?

Tomorrow, I begin recording the next album. There's a bunch of other sidequests in the pipeline. I'm expanding distribution to a wider array of streaming services. I also plan to work more heavily on my Youtube channel. And I've begun to plot out the logistics of doing an international tour, to meet some of the wonderful individuals that have reached out to me, over the past year, and encouraged me with their enthusiasm. They are the most wonderful individuals on this planet, and I truly value each of them as much as they value me.

Is there anything that you would like to share with our readers?

You can find me on the net at:


Be seeing you...

Artist Bio:
Pat Veil is a phantom.

He hides by day and moves under the cover of night.

Once a guitarist/vocalist in the acclaimed rock band Sir Dove, since 2020, he has released a string of albums showcasing his "pop/rock with sharp claws," melding of 70's and 80's rock with Veil's penchant for extremely distressing, yet often humorous, lyrics.

About the Author: Thommy Delaney is a Senior Music Business Major at New Jersey City University. He is also the lead guitarist and a vocalist in the Bayonne Indie pop-rock band BreakTime: a four-piece writing modern pop tunes with generous vintage allusions to artists such as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Looking for something new to listen to? Be sure to follow BreakTime @breaktimelivenj on social media and stream their music on all platforms.

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