FIVE FAVOURITES: Velvet Volume

Sibling trio Velvet Volume have turned a DIY attitude and the power of sisterhood in to riotous sounds reminiscent of Veruca Salt, The Donnas and Sleater-Kinney. Comprised of twins Noa (guitar) and Naomi (bass), drummer sister Nataja, the Denmark-based band released their debut album Look Look Look! back in 2017 to crticial acclaim in their homeland, and are set to re-release the record via Nettwerk internationally. 

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is to ask them what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with the Velvet Volume sisters to ask them about their “Five Favourites” – five songs which have influenced their songwriting techniques. Check out their choices below, and make sure you watch the video for their track ‘Pretty In Black’ at the end of this post.

Last Shadow Puppets – ‘My Mistakes Were Made For You’
Nataja:​ I always get very emotional when I hear this song. I almost always play it when we sit in the tour-bus, it sets the mood when we have been driving through Switzerland. The composition of this song is absolutely perfect, and I adore the way they manage to use such romantic strings alongside such extreme western guitar sounds. I don’t think that anybody can pull off such a sound, mixing so many different moods and genres together. Which is why I have so much respect for their songwriting skills, and I always try to pull it into our own songwriting process.

Grace Jones – ‘Walking In The Rain’
Noa: Grace Jones is one of the most important artists in my development as an artist. I remember watching her for the first time on Vh1, performing ‘walking in the rain’, wearing a dark suit illuminated by a spotlight. I was so persuaded by her energy and character and how she almost appeared like an alien-like creature. She had so much power and confidence that it almost confused her audience. I had never seen a female artist like that before! And then I just really started digging her whole career as a musical artist, actor, and model.

David Bowie – ‘Starman’
Nataja: Again, a professor in brilliant songwriting. Starman is one of my all-time favorite songs, mostly because it has the best chorus ever written… Period. In general, we actually have a saying, that comes from some of the more “epic” Bowie songs which we call “higher than life – feeling”. Especially on songs like ‘Heroes’ and ‘Space Oddity’. It’s the very emotional and sad but at the same time, happy and uplifting feeling you get when you listen to it. It’s is the “everything is sad right now, but it’s gonna be alright” – feeling, hahah… if you don’t get it, then just listen to the songs, and the feeling you get is THE “higher than life – feeling”. And it’s something we’re trying to incorporate into some of our own songs. It could be cool to give people that same feeling by listening to our songs.

The White Stripes – ‘Blue Orchid’
Naomi: I remember when my father played The White Stripes for me as a little kid, and I immediately fell in love with the energy and the power of just two instruments. It blew my mind! It was a huge inspiration for me. To experience how you can make two instruments sound like many, and make the music sound big, but yet minimalistic at the same time! I loved Jacks simple and powerful riffs like this one in Blue Orchid, and I definitely wanted to write riffs like that as well!

Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood – ‘Some Velvet Morning’
Noa: okay the whole album is just a true masterpiece. But especially this song. It really captures the thing I love the most about the album. The very romantic and dreamy/dramatic vibe, in the lyrics and the grandeur compositions, – and then the very traditional female/masculine dividing in the melody and the responding/conversation between them, which we use a lot in our own songs. I really like to use both the masculine and feminine side, which kind of symbolizes the fact that we all carry both around in oneself, and we use it in both singing and playing our instruments!

Thanks to Velvet Volume for sharing their favourite songs with us! Follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Daniel Aude

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Five Favourites: The Coathangers

We’ve been massive fans of Atlanta trio The Coathangers for a while now, finding comfort in their cathartic fusion of uplifting melodies and gritty, angst-driven energy. And, with the release of their latest album The Devil You Know, they stand out as one of the most relevant and powerful bands around.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a new band/artist is by asking them what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Stephanie from The Coathangers to ask about their ‘Five Favourites’ – five albums that have influenced their songwriting techniques. Check out her choices below, and make sure you watch the band’s new video  for ‘Stranger Danger’ at the end of this post.

Refused – Shape of Punk to Come
When I first heard this album I immediately wanted to change the world whilst smashing everything in my way. Not only was it politically transformative, but it still had that punk ethos of community and respect for humanity in general. We had the amazing opportunity to be able to tour with Refused a few years back and it was probably the best time of my life. Their incredible energy and power live is the same as what you hear on the album… Something we’ve always tried to mimic.

Cyndi Lauper – True Colors
I know it might sound cheesy but this was one of my first tapes and I think every song on this album is just as stellar as when I first heard it a billion years ago. Cyndi’s voice is always something I’ve admired because it’s so “unusual”, and I think me and the girls have each found our unique voice as well throughout the years, which I believe is important for any performer.

White Stripes – White Blood Cells
This is just one of the albums that me and the girls adore by the dynamic duo. We always wished we could have toured with them because we loved what they did with just the two of themselves! Very inspiring lyrics as well as instrumentation again, with only two people. Just goes to show that you can do anything with not a shit ton of band members or instruments. Also, I always loved Meg’s drumming – although not that intricate, it always made sense for the songs. I’ve tried to use the same ethos with Coathangers songs, sometimes less is more.

Buzzcocks – Singles Going Steady
So I know it’s a comp of singles but who cares?! This album is obviously awesome. I was listening to this record on repeat for two years straight when I lived in LA. At the time, our friends Derek and Jordee were getting me hooked on ’70s power-pop, and this was one of the records that made me want to be in a band.

Janis Joplin – Greatest Hits
Ok ok, I knooooow it’s a greatest hits comp, but again who cares…?! This was another one of my first records a million years ago, and obviously I fell in love with not just Janis’ voice, but with the power her sadness held in each one of these songs. Music itself is such a magnetic, crazy force of nature, and this album just amplified that in my life. I feel that with every album we do, we try to be as authentic and powerful with our songs as well.

Massive thanks to Stephanie for discussing her ‘Five Favourites’ with us! Watch The Coathangers’ new video for ‘Stranger Danger’ here:

The Devil You Know, the new album from The Coathangers, is out now via Suicide Squeeze. Catch The Coathangers live in the UK at the following dates:

24th April – The Latest Music Bar, Brighton (with support from GIHE faves ARXX!)
25th April –
Studio 9294, London
27th April –
The Cookie, Leicester
28th April –
SWG Poetry Club, Glasgow
29th April –
Soup Kitchen, Manchester
30th April –
Arts Club (Loft), Liverpool
1st May – The Key Club, Leeds