Monday, 15 April 2013

It's My Kind of Interview - The Velvets

The Velvets have quickly become one of our favourite emerging Australian acts after the release of the banging rock and roll tunes 'Shoot You Down' and 'Forty-thousand Scars.' Fans of that classic, heavier rock sound will find a lot to love about this Melbourne-based four-piece. The band's singer, Jim Stirton, becomes our latest interviewee today, introducing us to The Velvets; their sound, live performances, influences, the year ahead and more. Enjoy!

Interview by Matt Bond

Who are The Velvets? What brought you together, what are your goals (if you so have set ones) and where do you want your music career to take you?

Jim: The Velvets are Jim, Joel, Jack and Davy. We were brought together by a mutual love of rock'n'roll (and probably a mutual boredom of what was on the radio). Joel, Jack and I went to school together and started playing shows together up there until we decided to make the move down here to Melbs, which was the best decision we've ever made as a band. Then we met Davy and discovered his bass-shredding talents and quickly acquired his services. Together I think we're the strongest we'll be. Our chemistry makes song writing the easiest thing in the world and we have so much fun with our live shows. Even if the room is empty, we just have a laugh.

I'm quite ambitious with The Velvets. I want the world. Or at least to tour it. Since Joel and I take on the responsibilities of management though, I've come to realise that we have a long way to go. We'll get there, but it may take longer than we originally thought.

You've got a great, straight-up rock and roll sound coming through on the tracks 'Shoot You Down' and 'Forty-thousand Scars.' Which influences do you think are carried through the most in your music? 

Jim: Why, thank you! Well, we've all got different influences when it comes to our music. I think that's the best. If we were all like-minded  we'd probably come out sounding like a copy or just plain bland. Our different influences coming together in our song-writing makes for an interesting sound. We all grew up on classic rock'n'roll. Jack's guitar playing is heavily influenced by Hendrix and Stevie Ray. I'm well into my garage rock and punk, as well as Tom Waits. I fuckin' love Tom Waits. It's hard to say what carries through to the music though. I think I'm too close to it. Drunk people at our shows sometimes tell us we sound like Led Zeppelin and The Black Keys. Oh how I wish that were true!

You seem to leave a lasting impression with your live shows and you've got upcoming gigs at the Oxford Art Factory and The Old Bar. For those punters heading along, what can they expect from The Velvets, live in concert? 

Jim: Oh yes. We strive to make every show something punters will remember. Those two shows are for our single launch so we're planning to make them huge. I'm really looking forward to the Oxford Arts Factory show on the Friday the 26th of April. We've not had the chance to properly show Sydney what we're all about yet. And the launch at The Old Bar (Friday May 10th) has a killer line-up I'm really excited about playing it. You'd be insane not to come along.

The Whiskey Sessions EP was released last year. With two new tracks out, can we expect another EP in 2013 or a debut LP? What are your plans for the year ahead? 

Jim: Yes! We're in the process of recording demo's. I think we have about 8 or 9 tracks we're going to split up into two EPs. They'll hopefully be released by the end of the year. Like I said earlier, I'm very ambitious with The Velvets. This year is going to be a big one for us. Lot's of shows with great bands and lots of new music to release. Sometimes I'm too excited to sleep at night.

If you weren't making music you would be... ?

Jim: I'd be dead. Not even kidding. Music has helped me out of some serious jams. I honestly couldn't picture myself doing anything else. Not knowing when your next meal will be, barely affording to buy a beer. It's all very exciting being a musician. I wouldn't have it any other way.

When it comes time for The Velvets to be the guest programmers on rage, what music videos are you going to want played and why?

Jim: I reckon we'd end up picking a mix between our favourite bands from the past (The Doors, The Stones, Janis Joplin) to some of our favourite local acts (The Delta Riggs, King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, The Murlocs, Mother and Son).


I would want to chuck in some old blues as well. Son House, Robert Johnson, Reverend Gary Davis, Howlin' Wolf. That old blues stuff gets my motor running.

What's your favourite song at the moment?

Jim: My favourite song today is the new single off The Growl's upcoming album. 'Liarbird' it's called. Top track. 

What's your least favourite song at the moment? 

Jim: I actively avoid commercial radio and television just so I don't have an answer for that question if I'm ever asked. But I was in Coles the other day and heard that Status Quo song they did. 'Down, down, prices are down.' I almost threw up.

When they air The Velvets A Current Affair exposé in thirty years time, what are they going to say about you?

Jim: That's a good question but unfortunately I'm not a sorcerer so I cannot look into the future and answer it. If I had to guess I'd say they'd be focused on the tumultuous yet legendary lifestyles we're sure to start leading one day. At least one of us will do something stupid enough to be newsworthy of A Current Affair.

Massive thanks to Jim Stirton for taking the time to answer our questions. If you're in Sydney, head along to The Velvets' show at the Oxford Art Factory on April 26 (not only is it free, but you get a free drink on entry - holla!). Melbourne peeps, make The Old Bar in Fitzroy your destination of choice May 10! 

You should also head on over to triple j Unearthed to grab a free download of The Velvets' awesome tracks 'Shoot You Down' and 'Forty-thousand Scars.'

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