"Every moment leading up to this has been a part of making this album what it is"
The Velveteers have just released their debut album 'Nightmare Daydream' via Easy Eye Sound, and it has been a LONG time coming.
Forming back when they were teenagers vocalist/guitarist Demi Demitro and drummer Baby Pottersmith, later joined by additional drummer Jonny Fig, formed have spent the last seven years perfectly their perfect project, and the result is a band built on the foundations of intense dynamics and even more intense emotions. Bringing together the murkiness of grunge, the anthemics of rock and roll and the heaviness of hard rock, the band are primed and ready to bring their noisy creations to the biggest stages that they can.
To find out how we got to this point, we jumped on the phone with Demi and Baby to trace their journey so far and how they managed to create such a fascinating musical universe...
What would you say was the main thing you wanted to achieve when The Velveteers started, and how has that adapted over time?
Demi: "Baby and I met each other when we were 15 and 16, and then we started the band a couple of months later. The main goal was to make music that we felt proud of, and we were intense about everything that we would do. We would practice every day for hours with our parents driving us back and forth constantly. We wanted to push the project as far as possible from the get-go, whatever that meant."
Baby: "We both just knew that being in a band and playing music was the only thing we wanted to do. Having met each other and both being in a position where we did school online, we knew we could take advantage of practising properly every day, which is very rare for a lot of bands. So being aware of that pushed us even further to work even harder. And looking back seven years later and seeing how serious we took it all, you know that we were just working as hard as we could even if nobody was listening yet. The act of working together on music was the first thing that we fell in love with about this. It’s taken us a long time to feel like we were ready to release something like this in the world."
To utilise that position and use it to drive yourselves forward creatively is something that so many people don’t consider until it is way too late…
Baby: "I had so many crazy conversations with people when I was younger when I told them that I didn’t go to school and was playing music—the horror on people’s faces. But I’m thankful that our passion and commitment has lasted throughout the years to help us reach this point."
So when did you start to realise what The Velveteers was?
Demi: "We started as just a two-piece and did that for a couple of years, and then we had the idea to bring in a second drummer. For me, that was the moment when the sound of the band started to come together. It opened up this whole new world of sound and heaviness. We have always been very inspired by heavy rock bands and heaviness in different genres but adding that second drum opened many doors. It also added doors for us to add other instruments in too. It’s been a process of sitting down and writing songs every day so that we can genuinely uncover what our voices are. I feel like we have now got to the point where what we are playing is us."
That is where the importance of dynamics come in, and being able to master that use of two sets of percussion allows you to create dynamics that others simply can’t…
Demi: "It creates such a different sound when you’re tracking. Sometimes it’s hard to tell that there are two there, but it changes it so much."
Baby: "It really forces us as drummers to know what the beat is the entire time. Sometimes you’re able to get away with things and feel like you aren’t completely tied down. But here, you have to work out every beat and be intentional with it. And when we play live, the intensity of that sound is so much and so loud. That intensity then pushes us to want to play as big rooms as we can play. It’s awesome in small venues, but it’s something that would sound even better on massive stages."
And you had that opportunity when you supported Guns N Roses recently, and that’s a pretty bold place to be able to make your musical statement. How did that feel?
Baby: "One of my favourite things is when we set up at a show and look out at the audience, and they look so confused. Then when we come out, they are still confused, but by the end of the set, they are into it. It’s fun to play with those expectations and have people not understand what is going on. Just because you haven’t seen something before doesn’t mean it can’t be done."
Demi: "I think for this show, in particular, there was a mix of excitement and nerves because doing what we do, we expected people to be unsure. But I think that we were pleasantly surprised by the reaction. It was a really cool experience, and we were very honoured to be able to play it."
Baby: "It was also only our second show of the year because of COVID. We played at a bowling alley first and then this huge show. It was quite the contrast."
Aside from the sonic side of things, what did you want this new album to represent on an emotionally level?
Baby: "Going into recording the album, we knew it had been years coming. We had written hundreds and hundreds of songs, and Demi wrote many of the songs that ended up on the record in the last nine months leading up to the making. But there was a theme going through her head, this idea and these intentions of just making the best album we possibly could. But because of those intentions, it didn’t end up being what we ever predicted it would be."
Demi: "We had the idea of the up and down thing, which translates into life being so unpredictable and having one day be so magical and the subsequent making you feel like you are falling apart. But I don’t think we ever went into it expecting it to be this one certain thing or to represent this one certain thing. That’s the thing about art and music. You go into it, and you don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know how something comes to be simply because it’s such a raw form of creativity. Every moment leading up to this has been a part of making this album what it is."
And when you’re making something with such a primal atmosphere, every other aspect becomes just as primal. And especially if you’re saying you wrote a lot of these songs only recently, it’s been a pretty up and down time for the whole world…
Demi: "Totally. Yet another thing I also had in my mind was that I wanted to make a beautiful record. I wanted to make something that included lots of beautiful moments. Songs that can be as heavy as they were beautiful."
How does it feel to be able to be at a point where you’re finally able to share this version of yourselves and the band?
Demi: "It feels surreal. This is a place we have always dreamed about getting to, and this is the best form that we have ever been to. I feel excited to get back on the road and see what happens from there."
Baby: "I feel like it’s cool that this is still very much the same band that we started when we were 15. Sometimes when you start something at that age, you’re going through many people and a lot of forms to find what is right. We have somehow managed to hold onto this band and go through all of these things before making it through to the other side. And all of that is still in The Velveteers. It feels like the band has grown to be now in its starting place. Now it feels like things are properly beginning."
What elements of the journey so far are going to stick with you as we look forward to the future?
Demi: "I would say it will be all the hard work we put in the songs. You are waking up every day, especially on days when we don’t feel like we’re good artists, and continuing to push to get to the place where we need to be. It’s funny to look back on the days where writing a song would be the last thing that I wanted to do because as an artist, you have this self-hatred thing, but it’s in those moments where you keep going because you know it’s what you want and what you love."