She’s an internet darling, a Hype Machine-baby, a Soundcloud powerhouse, and yet you still might not know her name. But with festival dates across the country this summer and two catchy electro-pop EPs now under her belt, that may all be about to change. While her music is unabashedly pop, there’s a refreshing sense of artistry in VÉRITÉ‘s music that is noticeably absent in the duplicitous marketplace of internet-driven dance pop. To celebrate her upcoming appearance at Phono del Sol, I sat down to videochat with VÉRITÉ (real name Kelsey Byrne) during her U.K. tour to discuss her musical inspirations, tour approach, and her first visit to San Francisco since she was a teenager.
The Bay Bridged: You’re on tour in London right now. How are those shows going?
Great. We’ve done two so far. We played in London and Brighton. We’re traveling around England a little bit now in the next few days starting in Paris. It’s definitely cool to show up in a new territory and see people coming to the shows.
TBB: What can people expect from a VÉRITÉ live show?
Being that it’s kind of like a pop project, I think we bring a cool live element. Everyone in my band plays as much as they possible can, so that energy I definitely want to translate to attendees.
TBB: How many people are in the live band?
Live band there is me plus three. I have my three boys. I love them.
TBB: You’ve risen to fame through the internet and sites like Hype Machine and Soundcloud — do you think that changes the way you write or approach your music?
No. I think if anything it makes me a little more self-conscious in releasing. Especially with the whole Hype Machine and SoundCloud thing where a lot of that stuff is more alternative and I tend to write in the middle of the alternative and top — I’m somewhere on this line — and I think I’ve intentionally disregarded both sides and decided to write and do what I feel like doing and let people interpret it as they will. But there’s definitely an intimidation that comes in. Like, is this too pop that they’re not going to think it’s cool? Or is it too alternative that the pop kids aren’t going to like it? I try to keep that to a minimum though.
TBB: Where did the name VÉRITÉ come from?
A day of googling if I’m being honest. But the meaning is from Cinéma vérité, which is a documentary film style meant to represent candid reality. With that mindset, I shortened it to vérité. It’s one word, it makes it sound good.
TBB: Can you talk about some of the artists that you feel have influenced your music?
It’s funny. It’s a rotating list of names. I was just listening to Death Cab for Cutie, and how some of those songs are some of my favorite that I’ve ever heard. And the new Sufjan Stevens record. So my answer to that is different every single day but I think it’s just finding artists that write timeless music.
When I was writing this set of music, I was listening to a lot of Radiohead and Sohn. That kind of ambient R&B music and Drake. So it’s definitely a rotating list.
TBB: The single “Colors” game out about a month ago — you worked with a new producer compared to the Echo EP, right? How was that experience?
It was great. Elliot Jacobson and I have our groove and our process. It was a surprise how easily Zach Nicita kind of fit into that. We write very similarly and we understand what we’re independently good at so it’s easy to build something. “Colors” wasn’t necessarily from the ground up, the core of that track was already produced and I came in afterwards. He fit right in.
TBB: What’s next for VÉRITÉ? Any new music on the horizon or a full length album?
EP 2 is locked and loaded and ready to go. Other than that, it’s just compiling. I’m here in London for the next week and a half just writing and figuring out what’s next. It’s not a set plan yet.
TBB: Since we’re a Bay Area website and you’re playing our Phono del Sol music festival this summer — have you been to San Francisco before? Any favorite spots? Any plans while you’re out here?
Funny enough. I was in San Francisco when I was 17 or 18. I drove there and slept in a car in Half Moon Bay. And we broke into the University of San Francisco, and slept in their student lounge above the cafeteria. That was my San Francisco experience! It’s been a bit. It’s a much different trip this time around.
TBB: Anything else you’d like to add?
I’m excited to get out there and see San Francisco and come hang out.
2015 Phono del Sol Music & Food Festival, with Tanlines, King Tuff, VÉRITÉ, Sonny & The Sunsets, Marriages, Mas Ysa, Everyone Is Dirty, The Tropics, TIARAS, and Scary Little Friends
Potrero del Sol Park
July 11, 2015
12-7pm, $30, All Ages (Buy Tickets Here)