Our newest featured artists are local Indianapolis band Veseria. Fronted by husband-wife duo Patrick and Jen Roberts, the self-described “Circle City rock and roll” gem also combines the talents of Corey Lusk on bass and Kyle Perkon on drums. The band has made a huge impact on the Indianapolis music scene over the past decade, and we’re sure their new album, RLTVTY (released yesterday!), will send shockwaves through the city and beyond. With this new milestone in their band’s history approaching, we collaborated with them to take a look back at their beginnings. Their Catalyst session features Jen and Patrick in a stripped-down rendition of an unreleased track from the archives.
Before they were a part of Veseria, Jen and Patrick were playing music on their own when they met in 2008. After two years of playing sets together, Jen decided to start a band. “Without [Patrick] I didn’t really know what I was doing with music, nor how to make it any further from there,” she says, “So I was just like, I want to start a band. I’m just going to do it. I have no idea who’s going to be in it or how we’re going to do it, but we’re going to do it.”
If we learned anything from our time with Jen and Patrick, it’s that Veseria isn’t just a band to them - it’s a way of life. Their shared passion for music extends beyond side-project status, and into the veins of their purpose. It is part of the foundation of their relationship, and serves as a record of how far they’ve come since the beginning - both as musicians and as a couple, given their first show as a band was their wedding. “[The band] has become something that has kept us going and kept us together and helped us communicate better,” Patrick says of working with his wife.
Written by Patrick during the band's early stages, ’Punching Bag’ is a raw look into the beginnings of marriage, and learning to see your partner outside the context of your relationship with them. “The name ‘Punching Bag’ came from the idea that we’re often times so focused on looking at ourselves and how we see the situation that we forget that it’s another person on the other side of the relationship,” he says, “They just kind of become a punching bag for all your frustrations, and they become a part of your life and not a part of their life.”
It’s difficult to put yourself in another person’s shoes, no matter how close you are to them. ‘Punching Bag’ poignantly depicts the struggle to learn how others give and receive love - something that everyone deserves to feel. When that feeling is hard to find with the one person you care most for, it can lead to a dark path filled with fear and doubt. The track’s chorus summarizes this notion well, with the lines, “And the vastness is unbearable for creatures such as we / We don’t deserve the love that we can’t see.”
After seven years of building their marriage, a band, and a family, looking back at the rough parts undoubtedly brings up memories of painful times. However, it does much more than that - embalming this tumultuous season in music provides an avenue for clarity and perspective into a struggle that made Veseria what it is today. And it is only in reflection that one is able to heal and move forward.
Watching Jen and Patrick perform this song from the archives is like watching them flip through a photo album, processing their story both separately and together. As they sing to each other words written in times of uncertainty, they seem to be speaking a reminder of hope to both their past and future selves.
“Marriage is tough and it’s a learning process,” Patrick says, “If anything, playing what I was writing or Jen was writing from early on in our marriage when we were struggling to learn how to do this, just kind of reassures you that you can get through whatever’s going to come your way.” He continues, saying, “Our marriage is really strong, and my relationship with my best friend is really strong, and I know that every time that I look back at the really rough parts.”
Through the weaving of their relationship and their music, they’ve learned time and again: if you believe in something, then it’s worth fighting for. By whole-heartedly pursuing the band while raising a family, they hope to lead by example. “We’ve almost quit the band probably four times,” Jen says, “What consistently pushes us through that is that we want to teach our kids that if it’s worth the time and energy, it’s going to take a lot of work. And if it’s worth it, you’ll be glad that you did it in the long run.
As far as the future of the band? “I don’t know what the end goal is," Patrick says, "My mind isn’t set on what the end is going to be - my mind is set on the journey to wherever that is. We’re having a blast doing it, and the way we go about our journey is way more important to me than what the end point is. Doing it the right way, being generous with your time, and caring for others in any way you can - those things are important to me, where we end up isn’t."
On a cool spring evening in mid-April, we met Jen and Patrick at the Christian Martial Arts Ministry Center in Indianapolis. Although the building has aged with time, it’s mural-covered walls retain the character from its earlier days while contributing signs of new life. The building is empty, and we make our way into an old boxing ring boasting rows of dusty multi-colored gloves and black and white photographs of fighters squaring off. On the wall reads an excerpt from a verse in 2 Timothy, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” A worn pair of vintage boxing gloves hanging below, it’s a call-to-action echoing off the walls, and a reminder that every journey is worth fighting for if you have something you believe in.
We are proud to present Veseria performing “Punching Bag” for The Catalyst Sessions...
The Catalyst Sessions is a media collective devoted to capturing the power of music in its simplest form. We feature musicians playing completely unplugged and raw in beautiful and unconventional locations, creating a tangible artist-viewer experience unlike any other.