The Velvet Grip

Vancouver Island four-piece The Velvet Grip have just released their first single, “Red Sky”. The band has a unique and compelling sound, with a folk-alternative style that combines melodic vocals with powerful rock-tinged guitars and drums. With the release of their musical debut, we caught up with the band to chat about the new single, how they got together, and their non-musical hobbies.

From The Strait: Tell us about the new single, “Red Sky”.

The Velvet Grip: This song was written and composed by our lead singer after she had stumbled upon an article sharing the psychological effects of war on children in the 21st century.

Dani: When I wrote this song I was thinking about these kids who are today,  experiencing the horrors of war as a way of life. This is something I could never understand due to the privileged life I live. This song came tumbling out of me quickly. It serves as a reminder for myself that there are many people in this world having extremely different experiences than mine, and that I am privileged and have an opportunity to feel grateful for what I have.

This is also a song about the human experience. The duality of light and dark that we are all immersed in. This is not only within our external worlds but our internal worlds as well. Peace and war, innocence and treacherousness,the light and the dark, this duality connects us all.

FTS: Tell us about the creative process behind the song. 

Dani: I wrote and composed the song at my piano before we started as a band, and when I asked Quin if he wanted to be in a band with Wes (Drummer) and I, I didn’t realize at the time he would have all the means to record, produce, and master us.

Quin: I have been producing, recording, mixing, and mastering for only 3 years now. I got more and more into it during covid and therefore I like to take every opportunity I get to record a band, especially in my home studio. I’m trying to gain experience and being in a band that is eager to record and get some music out in the world was the perfect opportunity. With all of our enthusiasm the producing and recording process came very naturally. With the mixing and mastering I was left to my own devices to formulate a cohesive sound. The band liked what I was doing so we are now just excited to share it with the world.

FTS: How did The Velvet Grip get together as a band?

Dani: Wes and I met Quin years ago at a “On The Road ” Touring workshop in Vancouver. We hit it off as friends and stayed in contact, seeing each other periodically. Wes and I have been blown away by Quin’s talent since day one, an insane musician. When Covid hit – Wes and I’s then band fell apart- halted in the middle of recording our first EP and our guitarist at the time falling pregnant with his wife. During Covid I missed having a band, and this past August  I reached out and asked Quin if maybe, Possibly he would be interested in starting a band with us.  To my absolute delight he said Hell YES!

Quin: I have always loved Dani’s music from the moment we met so when she reached out to me saying that she was trying to form a band that not only wants to get together regularly but also wants to commit to the business side of things I was 100% interested.

Dani: Wes on the other hand is my partner, so he has no choice but to be our drummer! 😉

Wes: I definitely had a choice! And the choice was an easy one. With the amount of passion and ambition that Dani pours into her music it was a no brainer to want to ride those coat tails, haha.

Dani: Then we set off looking for our guitarist, I gave ourselves a three week deadline to find one,  and he happened to just walk into our house! I found him by eavesdropping on the boys who gather in my kitchen weekly..

Jesse: ..and I had just joined this new group of friends for a rousing game of cards. The conversation moved to my profession: as a guitar instructor, and an unidentified voice yells out from a nearby room “WILL YOU JOIN OUR BAND!?”, and the rest is history.

FTS: Who were your biggest musical influences growing up, and how do they differ from your current ones?

The Velvet Grip: We are a big mixed bag between us all, from Dani loving Modest Mouse, Jack White, Sigur Ros,The beatles, Bob Dylan and Disney songs, Jesse growing up listening to Santana and the Guess Who, Eddie Van Halen & Chet Atkins, Quin’s Bass playing being inspired by Jaco Pastorius and Victor Wooten, to Wes’s inspirations, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Motley Crew, it’s a big question to answer.

FTS: What sets The Velvet Grip apart as a band?

Dani: There is a very emotional, vulnerable and raw element to our music and in our live show, but also we love to balance it with play, goofiness and dancing. authentic vibes is what we aim for, and it can be kinda scary to move in that direction, but we are committed to that process.

FTS: Every band has their own way of creating songs – what is your songwriting process like?

Dani: At the moment my song writing process on my own is very much, when the mood is right.  A lot of the songs I don’t feel like I write when they come fast and suddenly. I usually just sit at the piano or guitar, start playing a couple of notes, and sing random words . If the words that flow out have actual meaning I will pick up a pen from there, and write the rest of the melody at the same time as the words. I am often in a simmering emotional state when that happens, my feelings just on the edge of release.
When we are writing songs as a band we bring riffs or half ideas to rehearsal, and we play from there. Guiding each other’s process. We jam on the riffs and see what comes naturally, and then write down what we like for our next jam, to continue the process of co creating our songs.

FTS: What are some of your non-musical hobbies?

Dani: I love practicing being in relationship with animals and plants on a level I find profound and important. I tan animal hides, work with wild plants, and learn the ways of our human ancestors through land based practices, study and soul connection.

Jesse: I love being outdoors, whether that’s paddling on a lake with my friends or swinging from a tree with my hammock. Playing strategy games with my friends during downtime has always been a favored pastime as well.

Quin: I am huge into nature. I love hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, surfing, snowboarding, mountain biking. Anything out in nature I am all for. Nature allows me to ground myself and therefore supports my musical endeavours.

Wes: I enjoy woodworking, both as an artistic outlet and as a career path. Cooking has also always been a hobby of mine. I also play a TON of games. Board games, card games, table games… you name it, I’ll play it! 

Check out “Red Sky”, the debut single from The Velvet Grip!

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