A Chat With: The Velveteins
A few weeks ago, the Edmonton rock n roll band The Velveteins came to Montreal for a show at L’Escogriffe. I got to chat with Spencer, Addison and Dean about their journey on tour so far, their upcoming debut album (Slow Wave out May 12th), who they would like to hear cover one of their songs and much more.
How’s tour been going so far for you guys?
S: Good, it’s been fun. This is our third week so far. We’ve done 10 shows across Canada and some US and all the shows have been good, we had a few days off in
A: Yeah, tours been good. The shows have all been really good but it’s hard money wise, we don’t have much money
You guys are alone in this? No manager?
A: No we’re not touring with uh no, fully unmanaged
D: Well we manage each other. Addison manages Spencer, Spencer manages me and so on
S: This is probably one of our biggest tours across the country so far and it’s one of our firsts going all the way. We’re going to New York tomorrow, that’ll be a first, we’ve never been so that’ll be good
You guys were at Canadian Music Week, how was that?
A: It was cool
S: We played like 3 shows in 2 days which was cool and then we played a really good show at the Great Hall in Toronto which was sweet, yeah good time I think
And before that you guys were at SXSW, how was that experience?
S: Probably in one sentence I would say it was fucking crazy
D: Lots of industry people, lots of bands but also its spring break around there for college students so a lot of people there are in full on party mode
S: A lot of people aren’t even going to the festival that are just partying which is crazy, there’s a lot more going on. Um, but we saw some cool bands. We drove there from Vancouver which was crazy but it was cool, it was our first time there
Yeah it looks sick, and there’s so many shows to see
S: But like there so many bands that at some point during the festival everyone’s like ‘I don’t even care about music anymore, I’m so tired’ cause theres so many bands all the time. You can only see so many bands before you you’re just like ‘I wanna go for a walk’
D: Everything sounds the same. Try going on a walk without hearing a band too
S: It’s an overload almost. But we drove so we saw like so many crazy parts of America through the desert and we played some shows in Dallas and Las Vegas, it was sick
Did anything crazy happen on tour so far or cool?
S: Seems like everyday is a bit crazy in its own way but specific crazy things probably one of them would be in Las Vegas. Going to the casinos for the first time and being able to smoke inside
A: Yeah Las Vegas, we played a festival and just being there one weekend was crazy, lots of weird stuff
D: Its hard to stop smoking or drinking in Vegas cause its legal everywhere, it never stops
S: They never stop serving alcohol too so
D: Yeah it’s 24 hours, I feel like I need a last call
S: I don’t know if there’s been any crazy stories on the way out here though, like in Madison, Wisconsin we met some cool people and stayed in their old nun house
D: Like a bunch on nuns lived there in the early 1900s they were saying, nunnery? Is nunnery a word?
S: I don’t know but uh we’ve just been meeting a lot of people. We got some deep dish in Chicago, that was pretty sweet
D: Chicago was cool. Nothing overly crazy on this run though or nothing I can remember right this second
In an interview you guys did at SXSW you said that there wasn’t many Canadian bands in general, so what makes you stand out from the other ones? And I get what you guys were saying, like there are more solo or duo acts making it out of Canada rather than bands
D: I think that we were also saying that cause at SXSW, American bands versus Canadian bands was just-there just wasn’t as many Canadian bands. But also what makes us different from Arkells or July Talk is that they have money and we don’t
A: One thing is that it’s really common for bands to make it big in Canada and not big anywhere else
S: I mean, we like to go to the States a lot so maybe our tactic is to get a more general fanbase everywhere rather than just in Canada. Like Canada is where we’re from but its also so small compared to America, therefore there’s less bands and less venues
D: Even a band like Blue Rodeo which is huge in Canada, not my thing really, but they’ll tour once or twice a year across Canada and sell out shows and then go to the States and play to like 100 people
A: Or like Neil Young
D: hahah yeah no ones who that is
Your album comes out May 12th, are you guys excited about that?
S: Yeah we’re really excited, we’ve never released a full album before
What can people expect from it?
S: a couple songs
D: Maybe 9 of them
S: maybe a few songs, probably a few we play live that they don’t know, uh I don’t know, they might hate it
D: I just hope people like it or enjoy it
S: It might come out and people are gonna be like ‘wow fuck this band’ and we’re gonna stop being a band
Like what the fuck is this?
D: Hahah they might say that
S: Like this is bullshit, who knows
Is it kinda similar to your EP?
S: Its similar in a way that we’re playing it but it’s different because Dean wasn’t in the band when we wrote the EP so he’s in it now. The songs are different because we changed since the EP, like we’re into different stuff and we all wrote the songs collectively more than before
A: We spent a lot more time on it in general. I think its like the last record but with more intent behind the songs, like more thought out
Can you tell us a favourite song or lyric from the album?
A: We all really like the 2 singles we released so far. Don’t You Feel Better we like and people have liked that one a lot and it feels great to play live. That’s probably my favourite new one to play live cause its just different, it fits in well, it’s a breath of air in the set
D: I think the other single is pretty fun. Midnight Surf is different and there’s just a lot more going than the other songs
S: Yeah, and one song I also really like that hasn’t been released is a song called Spanish Wine that I think, when it comes out people will be like ‘this is chill’, or not, but I’m looking forward to it being available
D: I guess we seem pretty unsure by this, like I don’t know man
A: And it’s been a long time since we released music
S: Yeah we haven’t released any new music, like besides this album and the singles its been probably since 2015. Cause that’s when the EP originally came out and we re-released it last year. And also, this album that’s coming out was recorded a year ago so we’ve been waiting a year almost to put it out so to us it’s almost old
Why has it taken so long?
S: Well, it just started to get more serious when we recorded that and we signed to a few labels and we had to do a few tours. It was just a slow process and it wasn’t on our time anymore, like it was everybody’s timeline. We wanna do a new album already but this one hasn’t even come out yet
Is there any cool story about a song you guys wrote that isn’t out yet?
S: There’s this song called Strange Side Of The Street which is about when we all lived on a street called Whyte Ave in Edmonton and there was like 5 houses in a row. Dean lived in one, me and Addison lived in one and like 3 other ones that were just friends and they were all set to be demolished so they were really shitty houses, but they were really cheap. So it was just a bunch of shit heads living in them and that song is just about that time living there. It was super fun. Everyone has moved out since then, so it’s a little memory for us
Was there a lot of parties going on?
D: Everyday was a little bit like a party on someones front step cause it was like 5 houses where everyone was in bands and no one really had day jobs
S: Yeah no one had jobs except for Addison maybe
Where did you work?
A: I made juice in the morning and I bagged groceries in the afternoon
D: Yeah no one else had a job
S: It was more like when wasn’t a party going on
D: It was a harsh couple years of my life
How would you describe your sound?
S: Probably a little bit of smash, a little bit of bang. I don’t know, like rock n roll, plain rock n roll. Like it’s so subjective
Yeah, its kinda like some dreamy indie rock
A: Pop music
S: Straight pop, like a bit of everything. The songs we released so far are pretty influenced by 60s pop so it’s our modern spin on that
Anyone in particular?
S: Uh like The Beach Boys or The Kinks or like those bands, the pop bands of that era
D: The Beatles
And how would you describe your aesthetic? (video and artwork)
D: It’s all photos these two have taken
S: Yeah, it’s not too well thought out like we didn’t have a fucking master plan when we started. We just decided ‘oh this looks cool, it kinda fits, cheers, take it easy’. And its just our personal taste
A: Yeah like our album covers, Spencer and I made all of them, they usually end up being a collage of some sort. And it also captures what’s going on at the time. Hot Second was just photos from when we were recording it in Nashville, so I don’t what the style would be but its organic maybe
D: smash, bang
Well it works for you guys
S: I think its what we think looks good so it’s an extension of ourselves in way
For Midnight Surf, the video came out early this month how did that concept happen?
S: It was a team effort I think, like the song had its own thing going on and then we came up with another concept of driving and animation and stuff. We shot the video in the winter in Vancouver and our friends, the film crew flew in from Toronto and we shot it all on 16mm film, old school and just put it together. We thought it was a cool idea. And I was stoked cause the van in the video is my van so I was stoked to just drive it and get it on film. It was pretty crazy filming it actually cause the film crew was in a van in front of the van with the hatch open and so the film guy in the back had this big film camera and they had a rope tied around him incase he fell out. We went over the landscape bridge in Vancouver I remember and we were going 60km an hour and talking on this speaker phone like “Okay start filming open up the hatch” and he just opens it up
D: It was a little sketchy but in a fun way. And since it was a big 16mm film camera it doesn’t look like a regular film camera it almost looks like a weapon
Best concert you’ve ever been to?
S: I saw Andy Shauf play in London last year it was crazy A: Mac DeMarco D: I saw Lady Gaga when I was in grade 8 and it was actually so sick
Favourite song at the moment?
A: Peace On The Rise by Chad VanGaalen S: Oh probably All Night Long by Lionel Richie D: I Want To Take You Higher by Sly & The Family Stone
Favourite Canadian Artist?
D: I’ll say Andy Shauf S: Neil Young A: I’ll say Feist
Which artist would you be starstruck if you meet them
A: Ringo Star S: If I met Paul McCartney I would cry D: I don’t know, maybe Sly Stone
If any artist could cover your song, who would cover it and what song?
D: Ringo Star Don’t You Feel Better A: That would be very funny S: I can’t think of anything better than that