Blackburn newcomers formed out of lockdown blues armed with an energetic, feisty rock’n’roll sound that fuses filthy riffs and screaming guitars with engaging vocals and oodles of swagger.
The quintet of Rory (vocals), Jamie (lead guitar), Chris (rhythm guitar), Coid (bass) and Toby (drums), who met during lockdown and decided to get into a cellar and create a rock & roll band.
They were brought together by Rory, who met them all under unique circumstances. As he explains: “I know Toby as my uncle and his dad are mates. I met him when I was a young child apparently but I don’t remember, he recently moved back from Canada and was looking for a band, so got in touch. I met Coid at a house party. My first interaction with him was to kick him out of a bed so I had more room. Unsurprisingly, we didn’t become mates at the time and only became close years than that through the club night he DJs at.
“I met Chris after we both got kicked out of a bar at age 17. I won’t say what for. We bonded over our mutual love of The Beatles. And I met Jamie through my sister. The first time I saw him he was rampaging shirtless through his student halls. He scared me a lot at first, to be honest, but then I realised what a phenomenal player he was and started jamming with him.”
And on the sound the band have honed since, Rory explains: “It’s a really in-your-face sound with a lot of attitude. There’s a real punk ethos in there but we’re also keen on making sure to break up the noise with some melody and harmony. I also grew up listening to a lot of hip hop, so that self-assurance and braggadocio that you hear from old-school rappers permeates my lyrical style and vocal delivery.”
Our first taste of this is their debut single I Am The Drug, which was the first song they all wrote together and was released on Thursday (25 November). It dives straight into a cool little guitar solo that drops into edgy shouty vocals “I am the drug, I am the answer, I am your secular messiah, This is our chemical religion, I am our generation’s shaman.”
A big chunky riff kicks in as the engaging vocals continue and feed into a chorus of more melodic vocals “Gonna win some hearts and minds, You know I’ll be stealing them all, Like a thief in the night, I’m coming right for your soul.” That continues into the cool vocals “Go reap what you sow, Blast and reload Like T N T, Can’t you see that I blow? Casting my stone, Bad to the bone, No matter what, You won’t topple me off of my throne” over a fun driving riff.
Second time around, the chorus drops into a big screeching guitar solo that drops into a chunky riff that continues through a final chorus. And the screeching guitar solo returns to bring the track to a lively conclusion.
On the track, Rory tells us: “We can’t contain ourselves, to be honest. It feels good after all the graft we’ve put in to finally have something tangible to show the world. There’s always a really awkward period of being in the band when you want to tell the world you’re in a band but you have nothing to show them. In terms of what to expect from the track: It grabs you by the balls from the start and doesn’t let you go till the end.”
Check out this excellent debut single in the video here:
Them Velvet Tongues’ music has been influenced by a range of rock and indie legends. As Rory tells us: “Personally, I decided I wanted to start a band after discovering Oasis and Kasabian. I loved that they were rock & roll lads and yet the songs appealed to working-class youth and sounded just as at home on the terraces as they do in the stadiums. However, my favourite band of all time has to be The Stones. No explanation needed.
“However, all the lads have their own unique influences. Jamies a gig Chilis fan, Toby loves his hard rock, Chris’ idol is John Lennon and Coid’s really into his 00s Indie Rock like Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes.”
And on what inspires them to write music, Rory adds: “When it comes to the melody I think it’s about making people feel something. It doesn’t have to be happy but it has to inspire some form of emotion. In terms of beats, we’re all about making people move, whether that’s dancing, moshing, or jumping up and down.
“When it comes to lyrics, I tend to have two voices: it’s either me writing or I’m letting my dark side loose. Carl Jung said everyone has a dark side known as a shadow. The best way to prevent your shadow from having a negative impact on you is to channel it in a positive way, so the music is a way of giving that side a healthy and positive way to express itself. This single’s definitely a shadow song.”
There’s plenty more to come from Them Velvet Tongues, who head back into the studio next month and plan to record and release singles constantly. They’re also in the process of booking in a tour and festivals for next summer.
As Rory tells us: “This is just the beginning. We’ve already got a couple of albums’ worth of material, so expect to hear more from us very soon!”