VEIL: Exploring Global Sounds & Battling the Patriarchy on ‘SURVEILLANCE’
The best producers represent a vision that runs deeper than the music they produce, but the sort of clarity that defines multi-faceted creative visions and fuses a wide range of artistic mediums to form a truly unique musical experience doesn’t just happen overnight. VEIL, an ominous experimental bass entity based in Denver, Colorado, — whose real name is Becca Drylie-Perkins — knows this all too well.
These days, Perkins is headlining venues in her newfound home of Denver, like Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom, delivering carefully crafted A/V sets and releasing coherent, conceptual EPs like SURVEILLANCE. But this definitive conceptualization didn’t happen overnight. The VEIL project may be relatively new (the project officially began in 2020), but Perkins was performing long before that.
As spacegeishA, Perkins spent the 2010s DJing around the world. Everywhere she went, Perkins felt inspired. Bass music was speaking to her, and she knew she had to tell that story herself. Thus, the VEIL project was born.
“VEIL is a direct result of experience, maturation, and overall tightening up of my broad interest in all forms of bass music,” Perkins told MP3 MAG in an exclusive interview ahead of her Hulaween performance later this month. “I spent nearly a decade traveling the US and beyond, DJing and seeing all facets of the bass music world from psychedelic bass to psytrance to drum and bass.”
This is where the VEIL project began to form. Throughout her travels, Perkins absorbed a variety of global influences that came to represent the building blocks for VEIL, which combines an international palette of bass-forward sounds to form something much darker, and more mysterious, than traditional dubstep music. “One of the biggest takeaways from the spacegeishA project was the level of perspective, recognizing the influence global music has over what’s happening here stateside.”
“That’s an awareness I carry with me heavily in the VEIL project while channeling those multi-genre inspirations into my own sound by keeping up with all those niche global circles,” Perkins said. “What You Want VIP,” her recent collaboration with Brainrack, is a perfect example.
“What You Want VIP” is a high-energy dance track that defies the standard approach to bass-focused music. It’s drum and bass; it’s dubstep; it’s ominous, but also club-ready. It may be a slight detour from VEIL’s overtly spooky aesthetic, but it’s a welcomed diversion.
“What You Want VIP” and its original counterpart, “What You Want” are great examples of VEIL’s unbound and wide-ranging sonic influences, but it’s difficult to capture VEIL’s coherent artistic concept through a single track.
After all, that’s what makes VEIL so enticing — there’s a much deeper abstraction at play here. “What You Want” only scratches the surface; VEIL’s SURVEILLANCE EP, on the other hand, dives head first into a dystopian abyss that explores a strange, menacing tale of rebellion against the patriarchy through a horrific sci-fi narrative and forbidding, bass-focused sound. With the help of Towr Media and multi-media guru 5/9, this complete narrative vision came to life with striking clarity.
“SURVEILLANCE is about an independent woman named AZAL, who finds herself at the clutch of dark forces she has a hard time understanding while knowing she has to fight against them. She finds herself uploaded to a dark server where she is guided by unknown entities on a journey to save humanity from the patriarchy.”
Of course, one abstract project like SURVEILLANCE isn’t going to dismantle the patriarchy, but that’s not the point. Perkins isn’t necessarily trying to change the world; but she is using her art to speak on the injustices of the world, pulling from her own personal experiences and exploring creative influences from across the globe. The result is an organic, wholly unique listening experience that provides a deeper look inside Perkins’ mind and abstract creative tendencies.
Perkin’s influences shine throughout her discography, but if you want a broader idea of where her tastes lie, take a look at the artists who have released on Street Ritual, Perkin’s own record label. “Street Ritual has always been a conduit and a platform to showcase underground artists across the globe,” Perkins said. “The scope of our sound is wide and has touched on so many pockets of bass music; the name has always been a great fit because Street Ritual has a very gritty, natural kind of sound.“
Street Ritual existed long before the VEIL project found its footing (she took over in 2015). That’s because, before Perkins released her own music, she was always a tastemaker. She has an ear for the underground, and there’s no doubt about it.
Just take a look at artists who have released on Street Ritual over the years: Shlump, kLL sMTH, Resonant Language, Supertask, Detox Unit, A Hundred Drums; these are all artists who have achieved industry-wide respect, and in some cases, a cult-like following.
Above it all, that’s what Perkins is here to do: spread the gospel of the underground.
“When I think about Street Ritual, I always come back to our ethos — showcasing underground producers and sounds that move me and my team,” Perkins said. “When I think about the VEIL project, it’s very similar. I have always wanted to open minds into deeper corners of bass music. I want people to walk away feeling like they’ve experienced something unique, kind of eerie, and a bit sexy.”
2023 may be coming to a close, but VEIL is finishing strong. This weekend, she’ll be performing at Denver’s iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre; next weekend, she’ll be hitting the stage at Hulaween. Then, she goes on the Out of Bounds tour with Mersiv. Additionally, VEIL promises more music is on the way before the year is over.
Feature photo courtesy of VEIL.