Hailing from the Scottish capital, Indigo Velvet are making waves on the local scene and have ambitions to extend their recognition as skilled craftsmen of sparkling sun-kissed earworms. Prior to this month’s show at La Belle Angele (November 12) The Student spoke to lead guitarist and backing vocalist, Jason Tucker about gigs, song writing and the source of their scintillating soundscapes.
So how did such a sunny sound spring from such a soggy city? “We’re music fans as well as musicians,” Jason replies. “I grew up listening to Motown and soul […] a lot of eighties stuff. We use a lot of chorus and reverb on our guitars. Billy [the drummer]’s a big fan of Fleetwood Mac. We put all these influences into a big pot and mix it in. It’s taken us a lot of work, we started out playing in high school bands. It’s our own thing, we spent hours in the studio developing it. Jason talks more about the band’s main influences, which are broad but seem to indicate a pop sensibility that allows them to appeal to the casual listener and music fanatic alike. “I’m into a lot of disco and Motown stuff. Lionel Ritchie, Michael Jackson, Prince. Darren [guitarist/lead vocals]’s likes Queen and Springsteen. Laurie [bass guitarist]’s into early 2000s indie. Billy’s madly in love with Little Mix.”
The band’s name is intriguing. Is it simply a malapropism of indigo, violet? Or perhaps as in the acronym “in vain”? Jason elaborates and adds yet more to the mystery of their elusive moniker: “It started with Laurie, I think his mum had a velvet throw at the house. We get mistakenly called “indigo violet” quite a lot. Well the weird thing is when we started off it was more indie – heavier stuff, but now it’s tropical so I think the name fits better. The name sort of blossomed in its own way.” It seems a name laden with meaning, or at least one that has accrued meaning over time. When initialised, the band are the number four in roman numerals – apt for a quartet. Music has always played a large role in Jason’s life and it seems that a musical career of some kind was an inevitability. The band started soon after secondary school and he feels their closeness essential to produce their tight knit sound.
“I’m not the most academic person,” says Jason, “so thank god I’m good at something!”
He then goes on to speak about his musical origins and multi-instrumentalism – “I was originally a drummer. I play piano too. I’ve always been musically oriented and was always going to pursue a career in music.”
Jason says that a lot of trading parts goes on in the studio, and that he will take to the kit if he feels he has a fresh groove to offer – “percussion’s a big part of our sound […] coming from a drumming background, you develop your own rhythm. I often chip in.”
In fact, a lot of swapping around goes on – they do not stick within the rigid roles of ‘guitarist’, ‘bassist’ or ‘drummer’. Moving on to the song writing process, Jason explains that the germ of a new song frequently arises from a jam in between sets. However, a great deal of tinkering, layering and experimentation goes on in the studio in a highly collaborative process: “songs very rarely come fully-formed.”
Jason goes on to discuss his memorable live experiences – “We like to bring our best every time. As a band [the best gig was] T in the park. It’s the biggest festival in Scotland, where we’re from. We all went to that festival growing up. To be on that bill, it’s historic. On the same bill as acts such as Stone Roses, it’s pretty cool.
The conversation then turned to upcoming releases from Indigo Velvet – “I don’t think we’re putting an album out anytime soon […] it’s always in the works. The songs that we’ve got, if we put it out now we may sell ourselves too short. We need to do a couple more UK tours and get a label behind us. Then…who knows what’ll happen?
“We’ll definitely put out an EP,” Jason adds tantalisingly. As of yet untitled and still very much at the concept stage, the band are currently selecting tracks for inclusion with a toss-up between compiling a showcase of their best work, or recording all new material.
Indigo Velvet have just released their new single ‘Sunrise’.