Based out of the thriving Portland, Oregon music scene, Verah Falls present an explosive brand of melodic hardcore. Recently signed to BlkHeart Records, their debut EP entitled All Our Yesterdays has just been released, produced by Stephan Hawkes (American Me, The Messenger, Buring Twilight). With impassioned lyrics and a thunderous wall of sound, Verah Falls is sure to gain a good deal of attention and respect well beyond the Pacific Northwest. Here is an interview we conducted with one of the members to find out more about this dynamic up and coming entity…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Verah Falls, and how long the band has been together.
I’m Craig and I basically yell a lot and hope to God I hit the right notes from time to time. We haven’t been a band for that long honestly. Grant (bassist) and I started this back in August of 2010 by tracking one song, which we ended up using on our e.p.. Grant tracked the guitar and bass for the song and we hired a guy to lay down drum tracks. Once that got recorded we started branching out and we had a full lineup by the end of October by recruiting different ex members from different bands around Oregon. So we’ve been a band all in all for about 7 months.
Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
We’re from Oregon but we’re not really from one set place in Oregon. We consider Portland our home town since it’s where we started laying the ground work for it , but we’re actually spread out across the state. We all live two hours away from each other in any direction. Two of us are in Portland, two in Newport, and one in Eugene. It’s a stretch but where there’s a will there’s a way. We wanted to make it work and we weren’t about to let distance stop us. The scene here is pretty good actually! They’ve always been supportive of us, even in our previous bands, and the other bands here kill it on a consistent basis. We love the dudes in Apollo, Her Death and After, Forever Kings, and Elenora. All those guys bring it hard every night and if you haven’t checked ‘em out now would be the perfect chance. You could be one of the cool kids that could say you knew them before they we’re big.
Where exactly is Verah Falls and what made you decide to name your band after it?
Vera actually means “truth” in Russian and we felt that a lot of people from the small towns we grew up in didn’t know what it meant to be yourself. I mean, we all came from really small towns to the point where if you sneezed everyone knew about it. God forbid you listened to a different kind of music or something of the sort. There were a lot of people that weren’t being true to themselves you know? It’s just sad to see people hide who they are because they feel like they can’t be who they are. So with that in mind we started writing the music that we wanted to and didn’t worry so much about what genre it fit into or who it sounded like. We wrote it for us and that’s the way music should be written.
How did you wind up being signed to BlkHeart Records?
We did a lot of favors in the bathrooms at the venues we played. Haha Just kidding. I’ve known the guys in No Bragging Rights for like 3 or 4 years now and my previous band had done a lot of design work through their bassist Rick. Christian actually gave me a lot of insight and motivation to stay in a band seeing those guys hustle for three years made me want it more. Long story short, we played with No Bragging Rights in Salem, OR at the Wasteland on The Brodeo Tour and Rick approached us and said he saw a lot of potential. He brought it up with Christian to put us on the management portion of Blkheart and then pitched it to the CEO to do a soft release for our record and I guess he liked what he heard haha. It’s pretty crazy really, how much time and effort these guys have put into us honestly. We can’t begin to thank them enough.
Is there any story behind the EP title All Our Yesterdays?
The lyrical content is based off past experiences in life that define who we are. Basically all our yesterdays define our tomorrows. When I was writing I was thinking of things I’ve encountered over the last year that really brought me down; everything from past relationships, your family telling you you’re a failure, and putting trust in people that I thought I could call my friends. A lot of these things we face are hard to get past but at the end of the day we come to find out that all these things that are holding us back are trivial and we’ll get passed it. It may take awhile to get out of it, but you still get out of it and you’re stronger for it. That’s what really matters.
Select two songs from the new EP and what inspired the lyrics.
The song that’s closest to my heart is the first track we released off the record called A Family Affair. It’s about my sister that I met for the first time May 30th , 2010. We both had the same dad that we hadn’t seen for over a decade that walked back into our lives on a whim and brought us together. She drove all the way down from Olympia, WA to see my last bands farewell show with Emery in Roseburg, OR. I was 20 when I met her and she was 16. It’s been an absolute blessing to have her in my life and I know I can count on her for anything. It’s been awesome sharing this part of my life with her and the best part about is that she embraces it. It’s really refreshing to see.
Another song that I felt compelled to write was Season Tickets to the Opera. It’s basically about cutting out those people in your life that are only going to try and pull you back to where you started after you’ve fought so hard to get to where you are. I’ve struggled with that a lot in recent years but it’s finally start to settle in that those people have no place in my life and I won’t stand for it. I felt like it was something that a lot of people could relate to. We’ve all had that one person tell us we’re not good enough and won’t amount to anything but in all honesty, that’s up to you. Use that negativity against them and prove them wrong. If we use that to motivate us then the only person that can really stop you is yourself.
What could one expect from a live Verah Falls show?
A lot of bat heads getting bitten off, stripper poles, cage dancers, pyro-techs, beer, and maybe sasquatch. No promises though. We’ll even make everyone in the room jump, throw down, and sing along. Crazy concept I know.
What band were you in prior to joining Verah Falls and what kind of music was it?
I was in a band called Abandon the Shore. We were on the scene for about three years and I saw every member of the band get replaced at least once. It’s hard to find dedicated musicians these days. We kinda the same style we are now but without the punk dynamic I’d say. Verah Falls is more mature than what ATS was in my opinion. It’s still fun to listen to though.
Have you ever played Warped Tour and if so, what was the experience like?
You know we never have, we’d love to though! Maybe this summer, but that’s all dependent on how many people vote for us to play the Ernie Ball Stage at the Portland date this year. We’ll actually be following Warped around all summer so it’ll kinda be like boot camp for us haha. Keep a look out for us!
Any chance of Verah Falls making their way to Los Angeles to do some shows?
We’d love to get down there at some point. Hopefully this fall or winter I believe.
What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most after hearing your music for the very first time?
I’d hope that more than anything a person can walk away knowing that we meant everything that was said on those songs. The last thing we want to do is come across as heartless, like this doesn’t mean anything to us. We poured everything we had into this and I can walk away from it feeling like it’s the most honest effort that any of us have ever put into a piece of writing like this and I feel like it shines through. I don’t think there’s any love lost on any instrument.
Any final words of wisdom?
Get as much sleep as you possibly can whenever you can. You never know how much it means to you until your up at 10:30 doing an interview and you’ve gotta be up in five and a half hours for work. Thanks Rick, love you dude haha. In all honesty though, if you love something don’t stop for anything. Whether it be music, art, photography, what have you, never let anyone stand in your way of being what you feel you need to be and doing what’s right for you.
Verah Falls is:
Craig Prater – Vocals
Ty Wenz – Drums
Kyle Gilmer – Guitar
Forrest Burton – Guitar
Grant Slewitzke – Bass
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
Verah Falls on Facebook