Southend has spawned a psychedelic monster, in the form of a young four-piece formerly known as The Banana Club Sandwiches
Names: Sam Jones (vocals), Luke Elgar (guitar), John Kirkwood (bass), Chris Richardson (drums)
Age: 20, 21, 23 and 24, respectively
Location: Southend, England
Style: Lazy psychedelic pop redolent of Spacemen 3 or Sonic Flower Groove-era Primal Scream
Look out for: Their debut EP Velvet Moon, out in February on Tree House Music
The ‘Southend scene’ of the early noughties spawned the likes of The Horrors, These New Puritans and The Violets – all bands who were no stranger to a spot of Velvets-inspired drone. Now, as a new decade gets properly underway, along come another Southend outfit who are pushing the psych fader up to 11.
Though their debut EP won’t drop till next month, Velvet Morning caught Songwriting‘s attention early with a track posted on Soundcloud. The lazily strummed chords and nodded-out vocal on Paranoia couldn’t sound more Spacemen 3-ish if they tried… and that’s far from a complaint round these parts. But it’s a comparison singer and main songwriter Sam Jones is keen to play down.
“Obviously we have influences, like everyone,” he says. “I listen to a lot of 60s psychedelia and soul, The Velvet Underground, The Jesus & Mary Chain, and a lot of newer psych bands like Conan Moccasin, White Fence and Thee Oh Sees. But we’re a new band, and we don’t really like to be compared to anyone. We’d like to think we’ve got our own sound, taking those classic influences but presenting them in a modern, original way.”
Jones’s first band were the oddly-named Banana Club Sandwiches, playing “anthemic, alternative, J&MC-type stuff”. Velvet Morning have emerged organically out of that band, he says, as members have left and new members come along. Jones remains the principle songwriter, but says, “It’s more studio-based now. We need to be in a creative environment, with all our FX and so on. I’ll go in with a basic idea, but then we’ll work it out in the studio – it’s not like I sit and write everything on an acoustic guitar and then we go in and record it. It’s a more collaborative process than that.”
Plans for the immediate future include the release of the band’s “five- or six-track” debut EP in February, though keep your eyes peeled for another teaser track Blue Jean Baby coming before that. And before that, keep an eye on your local gig listings… “We’re a live band, first and foremost,” says Jones. “That’s what we’re best at.”
You can hear Paranoia below. To keep up to date with all things Velvet Morning, like them on Facebook