The Velvet Hands maybe still in their teens, but they sound like they’ve been mainlining the sacred canon of early Stones and late 70s power punk.
There’s a point in the song “Sick of Living” that the lads shout “we’re having fun” (at least I hope that’s what they’re saying or this part doesn’t work). Anyway it’s clear after one listen to this young Cornwall/London quartet that they are living the dream. The Velvet Hands may be sick of living but not when they’re playing rock and roll. This is 1:42 of old-fashioned hooks, sneering vocals and punchy guitars.
Comparisons to the Strokes are inevitable because, well any Stonesy sounding rock and roll band gets compared to the Strokes. Yet The Velvet Hands are The Velvet Hands and they certainly know how to play rock and roll. There is something, I dare say convincing about them. They remind me of the late-great Exploding Hearts and that is high praise indeed.
Let’s just say if you like your tunes with a bit of sneer and a whole lot of rock and roll attitude, you’ll be into The Velvet Hands.
We touched base with guitarist/vocalist Toby to talk about their forthcoming debut record (due this summer on Easy Action Records) and some other stuff.
Oh yeah, and lock up your daughters.
Toby Mitchell – vox and guitar
Dan Able – vox and guitar
Louis Willbourne – vox and drums
Sam Hilder – bass
The Velvet Hands has been around since 2015, give us the details of the bands’ history.
Dan and I met at school in our hometown in Cornwall and started writing together. We started The Velvet Hands at Truro College and went through a few lineup changes until we found Lou to play drums. We then moved to London and found Sam in Kilburn looking quite lost with a bass guitar so we thought we’d drag him along for the ride.
Tell us about your hometown scene and how the TVHs fits into the scene…
There’s a really cool DIY scene in Falmouth, this is where ‘Troubadour Studios’ is based. We record there with Ben Woods but these days we reside in London and all live in and around Kilburn.
Tell us about your gear….
I play a Fender Telecaster and Dan has a Gibson Les Paul Junior, a bit boring on the gear front unfortunately but both of these guitars have gone through quite a lot of accidents and have never broken on us. If we ever find a big pot of money we’ll invest in a Theremin, but until then you’re stuck with the classic guitar, bass and drums line up.
Describe your sound as a cocktail – what would it be called and what would be in it?
The Dirty Pint- You don’t really want it, but it’s there and it’s free, so why not?
If you could pick any time and place to travel back to for music, where would you go and what year would it be….?
Probably 1977 to the CBGB’s scene or to 1976 to watch The Band play The Last Waltz.
If you could tour with any band/artist right now who would that be and why?
Probably The Cribs, an underrated band who made it through the 00’s indie scene with credibility.
Give us your 10 song playlist for the tour van/bus/plane?
Another girl Another planet- The Only Ones
Don’t Worry Baby- The Beach Boys
Born to Lose- Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers
Mercy Mercy- The Rolling Stones
Jeffrey Lewis- Back to Manhattan
Heartbreaker- Led Zeppelin
Why can’t I touch it?- The Buzzcocks
Iggy Pop- Tonight
Saturday Gigs- Mott the Hoople
Parties in Chelsea- Television Personalities
When you’re not playing and have some time off, where could we find you…
In the kitchen at parties.
What’s up for the rest of 2017?
To promote our Record Store Day release we (had) a gig in Truro (The Old Bakery) on the 21st, and in Dalston (The Rocksteady) on the 22nd. After that, we’re playing The Alternative/ Great Escape on the End of the Trail Records stage. We have releases lined up for the rest of the year along with festivals to be announced! Exciting times ahead xxx
Top Photo credit: Magda Magdalena Jakubik Photography