Following the release of the singles ‘6th of June’ and ‘Animal’, Brisbane rock band Velvet Flare announce the release of their latest single ‘Ice Age’ from their forthcoming EP, Archetypes. Tomatrax caught up with the band’s frontman, Paul English, to ask a few questions.
How did the band form?
About 2014 I began writing songs and later started recording them with audio engineer Slade Gibson I knew as a guitar teacher. He played bass and programmed drums, and he mixed the tracks. He did a couple of guitar solos, but most of the guitars and keyboards and all the vocals are mine. Patrick Kennedy played piano on some of the songs. I continued to write and record and now have about 20 mastered tracks. In order to play live I knew I needed to recruit others to the band. Paul Shepherd joined to play guitar in late 2016. He was brought to my attention by an old friend of mine Graeme Smith, who then joined soon after to play bass. The band was completed by drummer Plato Aposporis in early 2017.
Where did the name Velvet Flare come from?
I was compiling a list of names for bands for a while, but none had really settled in my mind when I was reading the recent Elvis Costello autobiography ‘Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink’ and he mentioned something about velvet flares. For me it evoked a sense of the 1970’s, and being influenced primarily by 1970’s Bowie and Suede, who are also heavily influenced by 1970’s Bowie, the name seemed to complement our sound and image. I also like the word ‘Flare’ for its defined meanings such as ‘to blaze with bright unsteady flame’. Using the singular
‘flare’ rather than ‘flares’ allows for other interpretations beyond the
You’ve just put out your latest EP, how does it feel to have it out?
Fine, thank you. Thanks also to The A&R Department.
What made you pick ‘Ice age’ as the latest single?
It’s a great song. The rest of the band like it a lot. We’d previously released ‘6th of June’ and ‘Animal’ as singles and for us ‘Ice Age’ was the obvious 3rd single. It’s a little long for a single and I did get a radio edit it but it doesn’t really lend itself well to editing with its linear narrative, and that outro and end, so it was released uncut.
‘Ice age’ deals with some dark and confronting themes around drug abuse, where did you get the inspiration for the song?
Crystal meth amphetamine use has really permeated modern society rapidly with some very destructive results, and so too has the use of amphetamines generally, including ecstasy and other more recent synthetic drugs. Working as a doctor in ED in the past I’ve seen a lot the consequences. However the song ‘Ice Age’ is equally a song about relationships and youth. Nearly everyone must be aware of those things we encounter in the early weeks and months of a new relationship that we can choose to overlook or play down because one is in love and we want it to work out. Some we dismiss at our peril. In the Chorus the girl is so confident of her charms when she says ‘Just let me show you how’. But in the outro the sarcastic irony of ‘It looks like she showed him now!’ after he kills her, I couldn’t resist.
Are there any plans for an album release?
Yes, before then end of 2017.
When writing what comes first the words or the music?
The music. Mostly chord progressions first and then vocal and guitar melodies follow. McCartney has described the process of writing with Lennon and the process of singing any words to ‘bomb’ out the melody. Later the hard work of labouring over the lyrics and making them meet the meter can take some time, and most people find the same thing.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Yes. I like it. I remember reading an interview where Brett Anderson was asked the same question about Suede, and I’m saying a similar thing to what he said. I actually really like what I’ve created, so why shouldn’t I like and want to listen to it? You should too (haha).
What other music do you listen to?
Mostly English/Irish rock from the 1960’s onward. Bands/performers that have been a major obsession for me include Suede, David Bowie, Paul Weller/The Jam/The Style Council, Elvis Costello, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Hollies, The Who, Small Faces, (early) Roxy Music, Echo and The Bunnymen, The Buzzcocks/Pete Shelley, Magazine, U2, The Boomtown Rats, Psychedelic Furs, Blondie, Pulp, Radiohead, The Smiths.
I also like a lot of classical music. My favourite composer is Ralph Vaughan Williams. Works like the Tallis Fantasia, In the Fen Country, and The Lark Ascending are brilliant. He wrote 9 symphonies and I love the 8th, the 5th, the 6th and 3rd.
Now that the EP is out what do you plan on doing next?
Continue to write and record, play live as much as possible, and release our 1st and 2nd albums.
Check out Velvet Flare’s Facebook page to find out more!