new limbs (vol. 1) is available now on all platforms
What now?, a weighty question we’ve all faced this year, is one that has guided VÉRITÉ through an industry plagued with pandemic restrictions. It also led to new limbs (vol. 1) – her latest 4-track EP.
In March, as the world hit a standstill due to COVID-19, the alt-pop singer was on an extensive tour supporting her second album, new skin. Kelsey Byrne – the mastermind behind VÉRITÉ – would soon have to face a brutal reality. COVID restrictions did not just mean the premature end to her sold-out headline tour; it meant the end of an era. “It cut it off, and I think that’s the frustrating part of album cycles in general. It’s really hard to reintroduce something as new. I knew it was over, and I quickly pivoted,” she shares.
Adapting to the shapeshifting music industry is one of the aces that has long fueled VÉRITÉ’s success as an independent artist. “It’s kind of funny… uncertainty is my baseline,” she admits. “The idea that shit hits the fan and I don’t have the ability to do the things I planned, and it feels like the floor is falling out from under me, everything feels chaotic – that just felt like a Tuesday – so I feel my whole career has been a slow prep for a pandemic that fucks everything up.”
Within a short period of her tour’s abrupt ending, a new project took shape. “I already had a name, I already had the ethos of what I was trying to do, and from there it was just about execution. I spent so much time alone, writing, producing, and putting it all together. I had all of this solo time to turn it into reality relatively quickly.”
new limbs arrived on October 9. The project is a four-track punch representative of VÉRITÉ’s evolution as a songwriter, producer, and artist. Scathingly honest, it captures a person in transition and growing. “This EP was written by me, produced by me, and probably the most direct representation of myself as an artist,” shares Kelsey. “In the beginning, I was putting on more of a front, and I thought I had to be all of these things. There was a lot more effort going into the image I wanted to portray, and I think as I grow, become better, and more confident in myself and my abilities, the music starts to feel and represent more of who I actually am.”
The EP’s standout track, “Younger Women,” and “I’ll Take The Blame,” were written and produced by VÉRITÉ. She later developed the tracks with Aaron Forbes, “who’s brilliant and really elevated [the music].” The songs are accompanied by the haunting bop, “Save Up,” written in Stockholm during a 2018 writing trip, and “Best of Me.”
While striking lyricism has long characterized the singer’s autobiographical offerings, there are no mincing words on new limbs. “If you don’t want me anymore / just say it / open your lips and lay it on me / don’t delay it,” she asserts on “Younger Women.” While later singing, “you’ve got your new, new fix / while I talk to my crucifix,” on the reflective EP closer, “I’ll Take The Blame.”
“It’s a process of repetition,” Kelsey shares on her songwriting. “You know you’ve got something good when it sticks, and you repeat it over and over again. From my perspective, the goal is to get to that point, and once you have something, a bit of inspiration, or something you love, not messing it up and continuing to build on it.”
The project also presented a new opportunity to create a multi-disciplinary community in isolation. In the spirit of experimentation, exploring the boundaries of creation, and connecting, VÉRITÉ has unveiled several initiatives supporting her new EP. In addition to using Instagram Live to connect and discuss the developing project, the singer also embarked on an intimate driveway tour, which saw her visit select fans in multiple states for special live performances.
“I just wanted to make people happy, and in that, I found my meaning. I struggle with being isolated, depression, and all of the shit that comes with that, but I needed to find a way to be of service to other people. Writing, producing, releasing music, and then performing it live is that vehicle for me, so I don’t want that to end because I can’t do shows.”
VÉRITÉ also partnered with Gather.Town to host a 3-hour virtual release day event. The pixel art platform presented an expansive and breathtaking world created around new limbs. There were multiple outdoor scenes, customized rooms, video-chatting, hidden handwritten notes, merch, voice notes, and spectacular unreleased performance videos of each track on the EP.
The videos were recorded during the driveway tour. “We planned to do live performance videos in nature *laughs* that was the goal. We’d happen upon a location, I’d grab my bag, and I have a fully mobile rig with a small generator, so I set up all of the recording equipment, and from there it was kind of throw and go, a little high stress. We did get kicked off someone’s property at one point, but it’s one of these things where again it wasn’t totally planned, and so I think that sense of being impulsive, we’ve lost some of that because we’re all stuck indoors. So I think for us, that was our own personal relief, like oh, there’s a pretty field, let’s go. We went to the gorges in Ithaca, and it was us climbing over the rock wall to get the waterfall shot.”
The virtual collaboration came to fruition through VÉRITÉ’s mom, a consumer behavior marketing researcher, and professor, working with Gather.Town on a project and also teaching in a Gather virtual classroom. “She showed me around her classroom, and she showed me the world she’s building for her research, and I thought – I must make a world of new limbs.”
After months of quarantine, the event provided a unique opportunity to socialize and experience the EP in a way other than just a live concert. The platform was flawless and allowed a fanbase to make connections while enjoying a collective music experience, almost as if it were a pre-COVID world. “I want to build a place to have a community. It’s funny, after three hours of that event, I was tired. I haven’t socialized this much in months – there were so many people and so much interaction. I’m glad people came and got to explore. It gave the project a jolt of excitement.”
While new limbs remains at the forefront, VÉRITÉ is looking ahead as always. “I think of new limbs as a living project. I wasn’t intending on making it an EP. I think society demands it be an EP so that it’s wrapped in a little bow, right? But I think for me, it’s this idea of extending from where I’ve been and experimenting. I want the freedom to go in all of these different directions without having to worry about the cohesion of an album. So, I don’t know what I’ll call the next thing. Maybe it’ll be new limbs vol. II, maybe it’ll have a different name but a similar ethos, but there’s definitely much more music coming that I’m really excited about. I think I’m taking two weeks to detach and attempt to not think about it, but when I get back in November, I’m going to go 5000% diving in.”
She cannot share what she has planned yet but states, “it’s a complete departure for me. I think the future holds a bunch of weird random shit that you wouldn’t necessarily think I would do. So I’m kind of excited to steadily share the things I’ve been working on in isolation.” She also expressed interest in working with James Blake or James Vincent McMorrow, “I guess I’m on a James kick right now. I just love both of their voices.” Regardless of what it might be, VÉRITÉ has built a community ready for the best of her, which she always delivers. new limbs (vol. 1) is available now on all platforms.