Back in the 80s, to be a young black school kid in Raleigh, North Carolina, dressing like a dandy and listening to 4AD label releases could be seen as a brave act of pinning your colors to the mast for others to see. Thankfully, Daniel Chavis’ signal was noticed by fellow cultural traveler NiiLartey De Osu, who shared his tastes in music, art and fashion – especially from the alternative, avant-garde worlds inhabited by The New Romantics, post-punk creativity and Vivienne Westwood.
Their lives soon led them on their own separate pathways. Daniel, along with his twin brother Danny Chavis and drummer Marvin Levi, formed The Veldt and created new musical worlds. Niilartey founded the New York-based Neodandi House of Couture, for which Comme des Garcons is their main industry competitor. With the video for ‘One Day Out of Life’, which features Mani De Osu, the former schoolmates finally found themselves collaborating.
“The concept behind the new video is NeoIllusion, an artistic movement seeking to unite spirit and form as a unifying vision of experience and presence, and to create a visual representation of memory by focusing on the interaction of what we see and what we remember,” explains NiiLartey De Osu. “In this case, the idea is that, wherever you go and wherever you are, you reveal many forms of yourself and these forms are recorded in the memory of a loved one”.
The Veldt’s journey up to this point has been highly interesting. Since the band’s original formation in Raleigh, they met programmer Hayato Nakao in New York’s East Village and have since forged a style of music that is a heady and sensual blend of shoegaze and progressive soul, dreamy soundscapes and infectious grooves.
After signing to Capitol Records in 1989, The Veldt were soon in the studio with dream-gaze guru Robin Guthrie working on their initial recordings, touring with Cocteau Twins and The Jesus and Mary Chain, and recording ‘Marigolds’ with Lincoln Fong (Moose). They soon recorded their classic ‘Afrodisiac’ (1994), produced by Ray Shulman (The Sundays, Bjork, Sugarcubes), released via Mercury Records.
They have also collaborated with TV On The Radio, Mos Def and Lady Miss Kier (Deee-Lite), and shared the stage with The Pixies, Throwing Muses, Echo & The Bunnymen, Cocteau Twins, Manic Street Preachers, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Oasis, Chuck D, Living Colour, and Schooly D.
This past year has also been pretty monumental, with highlights including sold-out tours with Phantogram and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, a European tour, two separate Canadian tours, appearance at some of North America’s and Europe’s hottest psych fests, a spotlight feature on Time Warner Cable TV and being named as east coast support for Modern English.
This new EP sees them returning to their roots, that mercurial blend which accommodated the influence of musical kin Cocteau Twins as readily as it did Marvin Gaye and free jazz warriors Sun Ra and Pharaoh Sanders. These trailblazers reference European post-punk while embracing modern hip-hop, and working with transient dreamscapes as fluidly as solid song structures. They’ve also involved A.R.Kane, who produced ‘And It’s You’.
The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur’ Mixtape EP will be released worldwide on June 2 via Schoolkids Records (Raleigh, NC and Dublin, Ireland). You can also catch one of their tour dates in the USA in support of this release.