I recently featured velettes’ brilliant debut EP,”Colour Studies”, on the blog.
After listening to the EP, I invited the band here to chat about their music and current plans.
INTERVIEW WITH VELETTES
[photo credit: (c) Ian Collins Photography 2015]
Introduce us to the band members and tell us a bit about your musical backgrounds.
James: We are James and John Prudence and David Burgess. We’ve all been playing music since we were children.
How and when did the band get together?
James: The band played its first gig in October 2014 – Myself and David had been writing songs together for many years and we had written a new collection of material that was to become the Colour Studies EP. John had been involved with artwork and musically was a perfect match and it just came together.
Who thought of the name “velettes”, and is there a story behind how the band was named?
James: I was up visiting John in Manchester where he was studying at the time, and upon a particular visit he very excitedly told me of an artist he’d discovered who used to lecture in the school of art he was studying in. We were stood in front of some of the artist’s paintings later that day and both said to each other “that would be a great name for a group… that would be a great name for our group”. His work just seemed to connect on many levels with what we set out to do.
Who are your musical heroes?
James: Satie, Shack, Miles Davis, The Asteroid No.4, Pink Floyd, Felt… I think collectively the likes of Echo and The Bunnymen, Cocteau Twins, Ride and Neu! have all been a big influence on us as a group and The Velvet Underground are a key influence too, but there are probably as many non-musical influences in our little world as well.
Some awesome influences there 🙂
Your EP “Colour Studies” was released recently. Tell us a bit about the songs on the EP, what inspired them, what was the recording process like, etc.
James: The recording process was very quick, which for us is part personal preference and part necessity. We have a very simple musical set-up which enables us to work fast and effectively and also do a lot of the studio stuff ourselves which allows us to maintain a clear path.
The music itself was us experimenting sonically around strong melodic lines. It’s about a sense of wonder within which the three of us (and hopefully the listener too) can escape the digital age.
Do you have a favourite song from the EP?
John: I like playing “I See Melody” live as I think it seems to go somewhere a bit different every time. I think where it’s a bit looser it soaks up a bit of the atmosphere of wherever we are playing.
James: “Into The Blue” felt like we’d broken a little bit of new ground as it was technically quite difficult to record and also to perform live, but I don’t have a favourite, I think they sit together fairly well as a record.
Who usually writes the songs or is it a collaboration between all band members?
James: velettes is made up of three parts; my music, David’s lyrics and John’s artwork and we tend to work separately within our roles, however there are no set rules to our approach and the times when we are working together on something can be equally as exciting. We all just try and play to each others strengths.
You have some great music videos on Youtube. Who came up with the concept for those?
James: Thank you. We have worked with a very old school friend of mine who is a photographer and video director/editor called Ian Collins. He’s been great at understanding our identity and using his ideas to project that further in the videos.
Who designed your EP cover?
John: The EP cover was created as a visual representation of the music, but I think it is pretty open for interpretation. I think it is important for us to have artwork that is a ‘work of art.’ I created the work using a process of layering painting and photography. An image was created for each individual track and then these were combined to give a representation of the EP as a whole. I think the circular shape is important, as James said, to us the songs on the EP sit well together as one thing.
It’s a great cover 🙂
Are you working on any new music?
James: Yes, lots! We have a 2nd EP recorded which is scheduled for release in the autumn and we also have some recording sessions in a few weeks time, but that’s all I can tell you about that at the moment!
It it frustrating that we have so much material hidden away but starting the group from scratch means that we have to concentrate our resources for the releases, and that unfortunately takes time.
You’ve just finished a UK tour. How did that go?
James: We had a blast! They were our first gigs outside of London and people really seemed to get what we were doing, which was great!
What have been some of the band’s highlights so far?
James: This Feeling was a great gig and playing The Cavern Club was of course very exciting. I suppose just having the music released and out there in the world will always be the highlight for me.
John: Yeah it was really fun playing in Liverpool and Manchester! The Cavern and Night & Day are really great venues.
Which are your favourite social media sites, and why?
James: We use social media slightly reluctantly if I’m honest, but I suppose personally I find Facebook is the easiest way of sharing content. They’re obviously essential to try and connect with people, but it can be hard to get your latest masterpiece out there through folks uploading their holiday snaps in real-time.
If you could tour with any other band, who would you choose and why?
James: Hard question! I think going on tour with Rory Gallagher would of been non-stop playing (which of course is bliss) and to see him play night after night would of been unreal.
John: Yeah, Rory Gallagher would be amazing! But whilst we’re building our time machine I’d love to go on a nice big tour with The Boy Jones. They’re really good friends of ours and they just get better and better with every gig they play! We’ve played a couple of gigs together but I know it would be great fun to really go out on the road together. I’ve heard they may be releasing something soon so we might have to give them a ring!
What are your plans for the rest of 2016?
James: We have a couple of festivals over the summer and continued live dates up until August, and then our second EP release and hopefully another tour in autumn – and we’ll been fitting in recording sessions in between.
Sounds like you have a busy few months ahead! I’m looking forward to the new music! Thanks so much for answering my questions 🙂
You can catch velettes at The Willow Festival in Northampton on the 11th of June, 3 p.m.
Keep an eye on their website and social media for more updates.