GRTR!’s Dave Atkinson catches up with indie/alternative power trio Some Velvet Morning ahead of their upcoming headline gig at London’s iconic Scala venue next month. Desmond Lambert (vocals & guitar), Gavin Lambert (bass & vocals) and Rob Flanagan (drums) field the questions.
What do the next few months hold for the band?
We’ve had a great previous twelve months with new releases and tracks used in commercials across Europe. We are in talks with a film company about writing a soundtrack score, which is a new diversion for the band. We hope that we can work some existing tracks and themes into the soundtrack. We are also looking at short tours in Europe and Asia for later in 2017.
What material can we expect at the Scala show on 9th March?
A mix of old and new. We have reworked some of the older favourites like ‘Losing My Mind’ and ‘Resistance for the new show. We also have the best of our 2016 single releases to perform live for the first time, which we are excited to play for the first time live. It will be great to see the audience reaction.
Your live show at the Roundhouse last year was very much a multi-media event with some great images. Will that become more of a feature of your shows?
Yes, we will again be presenting a show that will use multimedia content – some of videos and specially created animations. We have a great team to assist us with this, specifically our friend Colin Rozee who does all the clever 3D animation. We also have Jonny Lucas, Biffy Clyro’s soundman, running the desk for this show, so it promises to be an audio-visual treat.
What have been the most memorable live shows for you and why?
We have had many wonderful shows. I think performing to 6,000 people on the beach in Marseille for the Massilia Rock festival still counts as one of our favourites – not just the audience reaction, but the backdrop of the Chateau d’If, as featured in ‘The Count Of Monte Cristo’. Another highlight was performing on a rooftop in central London to mark forty years since the Beatles gave their last ever performance above their London offices. It really looked like that classic show – people coming out from their offices to watch on balconies and the authorities looking at ways to close it down.
Last year’s ‘single a month’ campaign was a great idea. What were the highlights?
We wanted to do something different and this idea gave us a chance to try out new music with the fans – it also gave the band a consistent momentum throughout the year. Some of those songs will appear on our forthcoming third album. Highlights for us included ‘Damocles’ which Alex Lester supported via his Radio 2 show. ‘No Walls’ and ‘The Disappeared’ also featured on commercials for Pull & Bear and David Beckham’s Haig Club Whisky respectively. It is nice to see new material getting such a warm response.
The releases were quite diverse in sound, style and lyrical content. Did you write and record them over the course of the year, or in concentrated periods? What were the primary motivations for the subject material?
The tracks were recorded throughout the year – in many cases we were still writing and mixing the material right up to the last possible minute. John Lennon once said he wanted to release records like newspapers – thankfully we were not obliged to issue the tracks daily. Lyrically, we think that writing and recording over the year made the songs more disparate than if they had been collected on an album.
Your albums ‘Allies’ and the debut ‘Silence Will Kill You’ have a different sound to each other and indeed to the releases last year. How would you say your sound is evolving?
‘Allies’ was probably our most raw record and still sounds great when we play it as a three piece, but it’s always nice to do something different. We’d say the new material has a generally more polished sound.
How do you use social media to connect with your fans?
All the usual suspects like Facebook and Twitter. However, we are once again finding some value in non-social media methods – postcards and posting physical albums out to fans. Who knows, perhaps there will be a revolt against social media sooner than we think. Our website remains the core hub of everything we are doing so fans should keep an eye on that for the time being until we can lick enough stamps.
What is the ‘Allies’ campaign for St Mungo’s all about?
Rob has been volunteering for St. Mungo’s for two years, teaching drums to people recovering from homelessness. Our album “Allies’ was a crowd funded release and the title track had such a positive message about friendship. We wanted to put our name to a campaign, which would raise money to buy new equipment for the college, through donating 50% of all sales profits to the charity’s college in Southwark. Premier Drums also very kindly donated a new drum kit after hearing about our work with the charity.
What’s the story behind ‘Losing My Mind’ appearing on Jeremy Clarkson’s The Grand Tour?
The show’s producers heard about the band and some of the music we had released in 2016. Last year ‘How To Start A Revolution’ had been featured on an ad across Europe for Renault Megane and on ITV Racing raising the band’s profile in the motor world. They featured ‘Losing My Mind’ from our first album and our April single from last year, ‘The Disappeared’. It’s such a big show and an honour for us to be part of it. We have been tuning in and catch snippets of the tracks in many episodes – they haven’t phoned us up yet and offered us any of their featured cars though – there’s still time!
Will we be hearing any new music this year and if so, what direction can we expect?
Yes definitely, some additional songs that we will hone into an album with the best of the singles from 2016, with the aforementioned progression to a polished sound.
And finally, do you have a message for your fans?
Scala, London Mar 9th is a big show for us – we hope you can join us. We have support from our friends ‘Field Trip To The Moon’ (their track ‘You’ was one of Tom Robinson’s most played tracks on BBC 6 music last year) and Helen Boulding, who has just collaborated with Ward Thomas on their number one album, ‘Cartwheels’, – the single ‘Boomerang’ has been A-listed on Radio 2 over the last four weeks. See you there.
Gig review (March 2016)
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Power Plays w/c 19 February
THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)
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09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)
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