“The audiences were strange to us, so it was kind of like starting over,” says Spencer Morphy, after touching down in Toronto following a run of shows in the UK. “We didn’t know anyone and had to prove ourselves, in a way. But everyone was really supportive. The UK is like a big music community, so it was really nice.”
It was the maiden voyage to the UK for the Velveteins, and the “big whirlwind of shows” took the trio to venerable music destinations like Liverpool and Brighton for a performance at the Great Escape Festival.
“It was the wildest time I’ve ever experienced playing music,” Morphy says of the festival, the gravity of the experience only beginning to settle in. “It was so fun: just a beautiful city on the seaside with hundreds of bands, hundreds of people, hundreds of free drinks.”
Now firmly back on Canadian soil, the Edmonton-based surf-meets-garage-rock band’s focus will shift to putting the finishing touches on its forthcoming LP. The currently untitled record is due out this fall, but the Velveteins released its latest single, “Hanging From the Ceiling,” off a reworked version of its EP, A Hot Second With the Velveteins, in the meantime—the recordings were re-released after the group signed with Fierce Panda Canada.
“Hanging From the Ceiling” is replete with hazy melodies that are entrenched in vintage-’60s cool, and it also happens to be the first song Morphy and drummer Addison Hiller wrote in collaboration. Morphy started the Velveteins as a solo project in 2013 when he returned from a year-long sojourn to Australia. His intent was to pursue music full-time, and he soon recruited Hiller to work on some of the songs he had already created.
“We sat in a room and worked on the lyrics together and every little part of [‘Hanging From the Ceiling’], and then we flew down to Nashville and recorded it and there it was,” Morphy explains. “But the thing is, we couldn’t play it live before we recorded it because we didn’t actually have a bass player at the time. … Once we got in the studio and recorded it fully, we kind of saw what it actually was.”
Morphy and Hiller have since found the solution to their missing bassist problem with Dean Kheroufi, who’s been part of the newfound collaborative writing approach on the Velveteins’ upcoming album.
“The new album will be the first songs that were written as a collective three-piece band, so it’ll be a little bit different but still cool,” Morphy notes. “It’s just got more of a live feel, I would say. The songs are maybe a bit stronger because we’ve had the opportunity to play them live before we actually went into the studio, whereas A Hot Second was like, we wrote them and then went right into the studio. We experimented with different sounds and keyboards and psychedelic things.”
Sun, Jun 5 (8 pm)
With Ashley Hundred
The Almanac, $10