I spoke with Jake Bonta, drummer and newest member of Bad Veins before the group's show tonight at the Do317 Lounge.
NUVO: How's your morning going?
Jake Bonta: Well I live in an apartment in the city, in College Town. I live in the basement and this has happened once before. My shower holds trap water, like most showers do, and it's getting so cold in the city that it's freezing my trap water. So whenever I take a shower it doesn't drain. So right now, I bent a hanger and I'm trying to chip away at the ice and I'm not really doing very well at that.
NUVO: The problems of touring correct?
NUVO: You guys played in Indianapolis last July; how was that experience?
Bonta: Last time was in July it was awesome. I had never played music in Indianapolis before. I've been there before for hockey trips and so on and so forth. Never played there for music so I got to see a different part of the city, which was pretty awesome. I remember driving into the city and that square with the big statue [Fountain Square]. I thought that was really cool because we went around in a big circle and I'd never seen Downtown Indy. I noticed everyone was riding their bike, which I got pretty jealous of because in Cincinnati it's very hilly, and back in July of last year I was getting into riding my bike, trying to buy one, and I did, and I started riding it. Then we took a trip to Indianapolis and I was like dang it, I wish Cincinnati was this flat. Everyone's riding his or her bike and it looks pretty cool. Everyone is bike conscious; they know not to be jerks to people riding their bikes. Which in Cincinnati, everyone's like "Get the hell out of the road, idiot." What? We have to be in the road, we're a vehicle technically. It's real awkward. But anyways, Indianapolis was super cool.
NUVO: Anything new planned for this time?
Bonta: We're probably going to play new songs. I can't remember what songs we played exactly last year, or last July. But I would imagine we're playing new stuff, were always changing our setup to accommodate the people that have seen us before. Always trying to do it better than the last time, so no one gets bored.
NUVO: I've listened to "The Mess We've Made" a couple times and I can't really put my finger on an overall theme. Do you think there was a specific sound your were looking for while recording the album?
Bonta: Well for the second record, The Mess We've Made, he was trying to go for more of a "poppy" sound. We've gone out on tour with Two Door Cinema Club and whenever we got out with them were very well received. I went out in November on a few dates and it was amazing. The kids were ecstatic. Everything you did, like you would scratch your nose and I would feel like every kid would scratch their nose. I didn't really scratch my nose; I would lift my hands and everybody would be like, "Whoa, let's do that." I think him touring off the first record and before he started writing the second, he noticed the young kids and kind of the boy indie rock pop band we were becoming and he was just trying to bump up the sound and make it a little bit more "poppier" to broaden the horizons in terms of audience.
NUVO: The music video for "Kindness" is very unique and has several fascinating aspects. How did you guys spark that idea?
Bonta: It's a really weird video because it had to be. I joined the band in February and Ben and his friend Casey, the director of the video, had been sitting on the video for about a year before we started filming. I came in when they were sitting on it for about six months. So when I came in it was kind of a lost idea. They had an idea in the beginning, like what they were going to try and accomplish. Since I came in and made it really difficult for the idea to be concrete, we kind of just went all David Lynch style on it and made it super weird, as weird as we could.
Bonta: It was really weird recording it. It was my first video experience and there's a scene that I'm in, in the woods and to be quite honest I'm kind of a scaredy cat when it comes to dark and woods area -- the unknown. I would have to go set up my gear by myself, kind of in the dark, I would have a little light on me. So I was in the woods by myself setting up my gear, any stick I heard fall from a tree, I would jump. It was very scary. And then we started recording my drums. And I'm wearing headphones so that I could hear the track come through and play on time. I stopped playing immediately and through my earphones I can hear this guy yelling, a neighbor that was pissed we were making so much noise. That scared the crap out of me.
NUVO: Old grandpa yelling at you to get off his lawn?
Bonta: Kind of. We weren't on his lawn but he was like, "Quit making that noise boys." I had no idea because I was sound isolated. Everyone else is laughing and I'm like we got to stop, he's going to kill us.
NUVO: What was your favorite part about that video?
Bonta: I would say the coolest part in the video is, it's really random, but when David gets shot for the Enzo character. I don't know if that's my favorite part; that might sound a little grim. It's think it's really random and kind of funny.
NUVO: Several of your songs have been featured on television shows including MTV's Generation Cryo. What would your dream feature be?
Bonta: Oh man, House of Cards. That would be so cool if we could get on House of Cards, that's a show that I watch almost religiously. The second season comes out Feb. 14, which I'm kind of bummed because we have a homecoming show the same night. It's cool though because you can go back and watch it so I'm not that worried about it.
NUVO: You toured pretty extensively over the summer since joining in February. What's your craziest story since touring with the group?
Bonta: I don't know if any stick out to me as crazy. There were some people's houses that we would stay at that Ben knew from touring previously and some of the houses were so nice. That was crazy in a good way; being spoiled to some degree while on the road is always a great thing.
It was crazy touring out West; it felt like a different planet. Have you ever been out West?
NUVO: I've been out once.
Bonta: Driven or flown?
NUVO: I've driven to the Wyoming and Arizona area.
Bonta: Wasn't it crazy? It seriously feels like Mars or something. You see all these big rocks and the red dirt, there's nothing around for 100 miles. I remember getting out the car in Arizona and the difference between Midwest-hot and West-hot is Midwest hot is 90 degrees mixed with a nasty humidity. It feels like you're walking into a swamp. Out west, it's like 20 degrees hotter with no humidity. I remember opening a door in Arizona and getting hit with a heat wave, which felt like I was walking into an oven. It was insane. The heat is so crazy.
NUVO: Tell me about the Bad Veins Army.
Bonta: Ever since he started with the band [Ben's] been wearing his dad's military jacket. The old drummer wore this military outfit, I wear it too, this shirt and tie. They always had the military thing, kind of turned up a little bit. Now I remember specifically we took a trip up to Michigan in the summer, around the same time as Indianapolis. I specifically remember talking about what we should do differently to bump up our aesthetic look. He likes the military look, I like the military look but I just felt like we never did it fully. So we talked about it and we decided we were going to do the military thing, but we were going to do it 100 percent. So the Army is kind of the baby of that conversation.
NUVO: What can fans gain from enlisting?
Bonta: What's cool about the Army is that it's very authentic to the actual army. There are ranks and different objectives to go up in level. Like with private first class, we personally call you and talk to you for a couple minutes, which I think is pretty cool. How many bands call their fans? I think with the Bad Veins Army, us as a band are really excited because it allows us to get closer to the people that work hard and spend money to come see us. We really appreciate that; if it weren't for the fans we wouldn't have a job. I think the Bad Veins Army is our way of giving back to the people that care.
NUVO: So you named your reel-to-reel machine Irene. What's her personality like?
Bonta: Oh man, she can get cranky let me tell you. Some times we forget to rewind her at the end of shows and she gets so pissed. After every show she plays our backing tracks right. If we don't rewind her, we can't put her back in the case and we have to throw her in the back of the van and cover her up. She doesn't like that.
NUVO: She's like that nagging wife when you forget to bring milk home?
Bonta: Kind of yeah, but like way worse than that.
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