Interview with Velvet Kills

10.10.2017 by Engin Altunlu

It's a pleasure to present you Velvet Kills from Portugal. They define themselves as musicians from another dimension, with music that's post-rock,electro-sex-rock.

They chatted with the Bbop Team about their stories and their new record. Enjoy!

Harris, I know you’re from Hawaii and that you’ve also lived in Mexico and many other countries. And Susana, you’re also moving a lot around the planet. So, how did you end up in Portugal? How did you guys meet?

Yes that’s true I guess, we have both spent a lot of time on the road, but we did meet in Portugal actually, on the dance floor at a festival called Boom. It might sound cheesy, but it really was like something out of a movie; I guess you could say that we really “struck a chord” in each other.  We were both in transitional stages of our lives looking for the next step and it just clicked - especially when we realized that we both played beige Steinbergers. It was too much. It looked like the right move, so we jumped.

Why "Velvet Kills"? Because of David Lynch’s movie “Blue Velvet”?

We get asked that a lot, and as much as we like the association it actually didn’t have anything to do with Blue Velvet or The Velvet Underground, at least not consciously.  For a short time we were together in another project but that ended kind of suddenly when the third member had to leave the country a couple of weeks before a gig.  We didn’t want to cancel the show and had one less musician so we rebuilt the set as a duo and started looking for a name.  I think one of first things that we knew was that we didn’t want to be called “The Somethings”.  From there we started looking at ourselves, looking for ideas that could describe the kind of paradox of feelings that make up our personalities.  So we found “Velvet”, referring to the softer/ethereal side and “Kills”, the heavier/subterranean side, both of which are big parts of us.

How was your music born? What are your influences? How do you define your sound?

Each song is born in a whole new way and it’s constantly evolving so there’s not really a method, except to try to push ourselves to experiment and try new things. Most of our songs end up sounding completely different from how we started them, and I’m sure they’ll keep changing with time. Sometimes Susana will come up with a bass line or vocal riff and that becomes the inspiration, other times I’ll be working on some sounds or sequences and that inspires her, and other times we’ll just jam and then go back and listen and take parts we like and build off of that.

Our influences are eclectic and also pretty different from each other's, but we do find lots of common ground. Susana comes from a more blues rock/punk background -Muddy Waters, The Clash, Iggy Pop - and I come from a more progressive/psychedelic upbringing like Magma, Gong and Eno, and this is great because she keeps me more grounded and I push her to be more experimental. 

We’re not very good at defining our overall sound in words. To us all of our music is pretty different stylistically. Normally we would say something like “rock with electronic influences” but that’s not so captivating so we enjoy when other people refer to us as a particular style. Some people call it Darkwave or Post-punk, which we’re fine with, but those are already defined styles so we really like it when people get creative. Our favorites so far are “Avant-garde Punk”, “Synth-Glam” and “Electro-Sex-Rock”.

I see that every song you make has a story. How do you create/write these stories?

Sometimes it’s like writing a script for a movie. I use my life experiences in an abstract or surreal way, mixing in a touch of fiction with a pinch of sarcasm, magnifying it all into an unknown dimension.

I love your videos. Do you film your videos yourselves? Or are you working with a team outside of the band?

Thanks! Well we’re both the kind of people that like to try to do more with less and we really enjoy doing things ourselves so a lot of the time that’s what happens. So far “Red Shoes” is the only video that we’ve had outside collaborators on and we managed to film and produce it all with a team of only 4 people, in just a few days, so we still maintained the DIY spirit. It was a great experience and we really look forward to working more with Ron Goldstein and other creative people. We’ve already started brainstorming with another director for our next video for the new album, so keep your eyes peeled!

I like your style of dressing, is that your “stage persona”? Or are you guys really from another universe?

Actually we are from another dimension. It’s the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination.      

Tell me about the new record coming out!

It's called Mischievous Urges, and yeah we’re really excited about it. It’s our first LP and it’s coming out on three different labels, each in a different format.  The official release was on the 22nd of September with Unknown Pleasures Records as a digipak, then later this month it will be coming out on Black Verb Records as a cassette and Oráculo Records on vinyl.  Sonically the album is a new direction for us and our tour to Berlin last year was a big inspiration, a lot of the music was written along the way.  We wanted to do something off the map, something to push our boundaries, something to satisfy our mischievous urges so to say. 

 What are your future projects?

Our main goal at the moment is in developing a supersonic device that will repair the minds and hearts of the sheeple so that they can recognize good music again. But apart from that, tons of things, new videos, remixes of our own music and other groups that we’re really excited about, more shows and lots of surprises. Of course we can’t say any more about those things or we’d have to kill you or at least erase your memory, but we’ll keep you updated.



Find Velvet Kills on facebook and bandcamp. Visit their site.