The Midlands band are subverting the “B-Town” tag and doing things their own way…
Everyone loves a bit of pop-toned shoegaze, right? It’s pretty much synonymous with indie in 2019 and it’s no bad thing, offering a welcome alternative to the laidback jingle jangle of surf or slacker rock.
With a bit more melody up their sleeves and gurn in their back pockets, Velvet Tides have been making a dent in Birmingham’s local scene despite only having two singles to their name. Their latest, ‘Lost In Motion’, brings a bit more punch than its predecessor ‘Into Light’ thanks to a coursing momentum and an alert – yet lucid – guitar section.
We caught up with vocalist and guitarist Luke Marvin to tell us more about the release, influences and what they’re brewing for the rest of the year…
We loved your latest single ‘Lost In Motion’ – can you tell us a little about what the track means to you?
Thanks! It’s fair to say that, as just our second release, this track does mean a lot to us. As well as this, we spent quite a lot of time both in the writing process and in the studio trying to capture the original song concept of losing control. The track title is actually a play on the words “lost in emotion” which kind of sums up what the song is actually about; when our feelings toward something get the better of us and blur all sense of rationality.
How did you bring the track to life?
With this particular track we spent a lot of time in the studio making sure certain aspects of the song were captured as we envisaged when we were first writing it. For example, we wanted the ending of the track to feel climatic and powerful and it’s fair to say we owe a lot to the producer we work with (Ryan Pinson) for his efforts as he had so many great ideas in the production process of how to make the song feel big sonically, and ultimately give it the feel we wanted.
There’s a definite shoegaze influence on your music. What is it about the sub-genre that is interesting to you?
We’ve all been really into our shoegaze music for quite a long time! In our opinion, there’s definitely a lot to love about the genre – the bands within it are all generally in it for nothing but the music which is definitely how it should be. It sounds strange to explain but we always think the best shoegaze songs are generally just easy to listen to if you kinda just want music in the background or something to relax to, but then when you actually listen to the song a little more closely, there’s a lot more to it than it first seemed and some really great melodies and heartfelt lyrics to buy into beneath all of the haziness.
Which artists do you feel have made a lasting impression on you as musicians?
Following on from the last question, Slowdive are definitely a big one for us in the shoegaze genre list of influences and a band that all of us have been listening to right since our early teens. Massive bands like Radiohead, The National and The War On Drugs are all more longstanding influences. We love a lot of post-punk and slightly more alternative music too though which has definitely been a big influence for us – bands such as Placebo, Interpol, Preoccupations and DIIV have all inspired us one way or another.
‘Lost In Motion’ is only your second single as Velvet Tides, but do you feel like you have found yourselves with your current sound? Or are you always experimenting?
I think despite being a fairly new band we definitely know what we are in terms of our sound. One review we received on the back of our debut release used the phrase “shoegaze sensibilities with an overriding pulse of post-punk” which we felt was an accurate interpretation of the music we make.
As we’ve been writing more and more we have found ourselves wandering slightly more towards the post-punk/alternative sound as opposed to the more classic shoegaze tones we first started out with but a fairly equal dose of influence from both of these genres is a good blend in our opinion! We like to experiment though, and have all been in bands within slightly different genres before this one that have eventually lead us to this particular sound we’ve eventually come together to create.
You’re a Birmingham-based bunch; what’s the Birmingham since like at the moment?
Birmingham is rife with bands at the moment – of all styles too! It’s really great to see the scene growing again and so many cool new bands coming through and starting to break out more.
Do you feel like the Birmingham scene is supportive and welcoming to new artists?
So far we’ve found everyone is generally really supportive! We’ve befriended so many people in other bands already and everyone seems to genuinely look to help each other out which only benefits everyone involved in the local scene.
Are there any live shows in the pipeline?
We’ve got several shows in the pipeline but our next one is a really cool hometown gig on August 23rdat the Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham.
What is next for Velvet Tides?
We’re currently booking our first UK tour! Later this year we will be endeavouring on playing a lot more out of town shows in the build up to the New Year. In the meantime, we are spending a lot of time writing and recording music as we’ve got some really big plans for 2020 to get ready for that we can’t wait to tell everyone about.
‘Lost In Motion’ is available now. Velvet Tides play Birmingham’s The Sunflower Lounge on 23rd August.