A Conversation with The Velveteers

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By: Lori Smerilson Carson – After the long cold winter that has been the past two years, the spring is starting to show itself with new music and newer bands growing like flowers, trees and grass. One such phenomenon are The Velveteers, whose name just so happens originated from grass. Lead Vocalist/Guitarist Demi Demitro, along with dual Drummers Baby Pottersmith and Jonny Fig are extraordinarily talented musicians that have made their mark on the music industry (even opened for Guns N’ Roses in Denver, CO) and are now releasing their debut album Nightmare Daydream.

Catching up with the band in the midst of their tour, they revealed some details about their band, the new album and their music, as well as what fans can look forward to.

Ohio Music Experience: So, tell me how the band got together?  Great name The Velveteers!

Demi Demitro: Thank you. So, Baby and I, we met when we were fifteen and sixteen and we were kind of like the only other people our age that liked the same type of music. So, then a couple months later we were just like, let’s start a two-piece band, and then Jonny joined us a year and a half ago and we’ve been all playing together ever since.

Ohio Music Experience: How did you decide on the name?

Baby Pottersmith: Demi and I, like the first year that we started the band, we knew that we wanted to take our time. We didn’t want to be stuck with a band name that we regretted later because so many of our peers and people we knew had such terrible band names that they regretted that they named when they were young.  So, we sent each other like really long lists every single day of band names and we both like went through a dictionary just trying to find names and they were all really bad and cringy. Then we went to this bookstore that was a 24/7 hour like bookstore café, and we were going through books there. It was a book about grass and there’s a type of grass called a vetiver. I was gonna suggest that we be the vetivers, but for some reason when it came out of my mouth, I said the Velveteers. Demi was like, “oh that’s cool! Maybe we’ll do that.” I was like, yeah, ok.

Ohio Music Experience: It was meant to be, right?

Pottersmith: Yeah.

Ohio Music Experience: Tell me about the album (Nightmare Daydream).  What inspired the album?

Demitro: So, we had been writing over the last couple years, like a lot, and just writing as much as we can. I had written this song called “Nightmare Daydream” and it just sort of had this really, really magical vibe to it, and I remember when I first wrote it, I thought to myself, this title Nightmare Daydream would be a really great song and also a really great name for our first album. So, I had this vision in my head for a really long time about, I don’t know, all these sort of like themes and these feelings and these colors that I kind of wanted to inspire the album. So, from there we just kept on writing and it all kind of came together with the inspiration of that one song.

Ohio Music Experience: So that’s kind of the theme to the whole?

Demitro: Yeah, I guess I was inspired by a lot of like surrealistic art and just fantasy and yeah, just those types of like dreamy vibes.

Ohio Music Experience: I heard and saw “Brightest Light”. It’s awesome! What inspired that song and the video?

Demitro: I don’t know. I mean, the song just kind of like when I first wrote it, it just kind of came to me and I think we wanted to make a video that kind of captured the feeling of the song. So, our first thought was like go to a big open field with lots of green grass.

Pottersmith: Well, I think it took us like a little bit to fully realize what we wanted the video to be because originally, Demi had that song written and already had an idea it was going to be what she wanted, but me and Demi, we really like the aesthetic of Paul McCartney and Linda on their farm in the ‘70’s. Like those photos of them. So, we kind of wanted to do something like that, but it kind of got lost in translation ‘cause the first day of shooting we went to a farm to shoot. Then after that day we were like, oh. This is not right. It didn’t look at all what we wanted it to look like. And then we did another full day of shooting. Then we were in the mountains and that just didn’t look right either. Then Demi just had this thought. she said, “oh, I kind of want it to look like Teletubbies.” You go look at photos of Teletubbies, like that T.V. show, and they’re like all on this really big green hill. So, we just went and tried to find to find a really big green hill with grass and get some pretty shots.

Ohio Music Experience: It sounds like you all write together? How does the writing process go?

Demitro: I usually will write the songs and I bring ‘em to Baby and Jonny and we all work through them together and collaborate on them. And that’s usually how we do it, but it’s different every time.

Ohio Music Experience: Is there anything in particular that inspires you? What would you say inspires you when you write?

Demitro: I’m pretty strict when it comes to writing. Like I will make myself sit down every day and force myself to write a song just because I want to treat it sort of like, I don’t know, I guess like a job and like a craft that I’m working on every day to push myself to be better. So, there was like a whole year and a half where just every single day, I would sit down and write as many songs as I could. And I hated the majority of them, but I think being able to sit down and like force myself to do it, kind of, it put me in a better place to just be more and more creative, but I would say things that inspire me, like I really love car rides and just kind of like observing people and people watching inspires me.

Ohio Music Experience: I read where you came from Boulder, Colorado and you used to play guitar and sing every day. Would you say that has an influence on your music today?

Demitro: Yeah. Absolutely! I think when I was a teenager, I honesty spent the majority of my time in my room. It was kind of like my own little world where I would just kind of go crazy and let myself be as creative as possible. So, I think those years at my house in my room just playing my guitar and writing songs have definitely helped shape me into the artist I am now.

Ohio Music Experience: I saw the tour. It looks like you’re going all around the country. That’s exciting. What can fans look forward to seeing with your show?

Jonny Fig: Can look forward to some really loud guitars and they can look forward to Baby and I beating the heck out of our drums. Acting like nuts and getting involved with the crowd and just, I don’t know. It’s a really, really good rock show, I think.

Ohio Music Experience: What made you all go into music? How did you decide to choose this as your careers?

Fig: I grew up around music and when I was kid, I liked doing different kind of creative things, but writing songs was just the thing that stuck and made the most sense for me.

Ohio Music Experience: How did you choose drums? You play a lot of different instruments, right?

Fig: Yeah. Yeah, I didn’t really choose drums it was just…

Pottersmith: Got forced him into it.

Fig: Yeah (he laughed). They needed a second drummer and I already kind of knew my way around the drum kit a little bit, but Baby really showed me how to properly play drums. I’m still learning.

Ohio Music Experience: Your album was produced by Dan Auerbach (Singer/Songwriter/Producer and Guitarist/Vocalist of The Black Keys). How did all that come together? I read me reached out to you.

Demitro: Yeah, so one day we got a call from our manager that Dan and everyone in his crew had listened to our music and they watched a couple videos of us online and that Dan wanted to fly us out to Nashville just to meet him. So, a couple weeks later we were in Nashville at his studio and just hanging out and we were all sitting around a table kind of talking about like you know, what we wanted for the future of the band and what type of music we wanted to make. I think when we went there and met with him, there’s sort of this like synergy type of energy where everything felt really right. It felt like all the dots kind of connected, and so from there we got an offer for him to sign us to his label. Then I think it was like eight months later, we were in Nashville recording our first album.

Ohio Music Experience: What would you say that you learned from him or picked up from him as far as being in the studio?

Fig: I think for me to maybe not overthink it too much. Know when to like kind of leave it and know when doing it over and over again might not be the best decision.

Pottersmith: Yeah, I feel like we went from this existence in our practice space for a year leading up to recording of just overthinking everything so much and making a demo of every song over and over and over and changing them, tearing them down and building them back up. And we just kind of like literally overthought things in a lot of good ways, but a lot of bad ways and then going into the studio like was the polar opposite. It was just like yeah, you got to do a take and you would do it and eh, maybe do one more and you redo it and that’s the take. We were so used to like never accepting that it was good enough, to having him there to guide us and make us realize that what we’re doing was actually the right thing and that it sounded good, was really cool and helpful.

Ohio Music Experience: How has it been touring with Des Rocs?

Demitro: It’s been so much fun. I think it’s definitely better than what we expected just because everyone in their band is so nice. It’s always kind of a bummer when you go on tour with a band and they’re like kind of stuck up, but it’s not that at all. Everyone in the Des Rocs crew is just so nice and excepting. It’s been really cool to go on tour with them because they’re such amazing performers, so it’s cool to see them play every night. They’ve definitely been very inspiring to us.

Ohio Music Experience: What is “Bless Your Little Heart” about? I got a kick out of that title.

Demitro: I remember at the writing session we kind of wanted to play off of, I don’t know, like the sarcasm of that phrase. And you know, it’s kind of geared towards like the typical, like a guy whose kind of scummy or a person whose kind of scummy who likes to lie a lot.

Pottersmith: There’s so many guys that just like obsess over Demi who Demi doesn’t even know, and they just assume that they are like the best thing in the world and that they have like a free pass to just talk to Demi at any point. It’s just inspired by stupid, ugly men (he chuckled).

Ohio Music Experience: “Motel #27” is there a story behind that song?

Demitro: Yeah. So that song was actually inspired by a poem that Baby wrote that they sent to me and then I was like, when I read the poem, I just got like all these visuals and I made it onto a song. Yeah, it was a very like surreal, dreamy type song and the lyrics were just so like visual, I guess that I felt like we had to write about it and make it into something, and it just has this really fun punky feel to it.

Pottersmith: I texted Demi this like throw up of weird things with no intention of it becoming anything, and then the next day Demi just emailed me this song that had like phrases from the thing I sent her and it was this really cool song. I was like Jesus Christ! Amazing that you could do that.

Demitro: Yeah. I really wanted to kind of make a song that almost, I don’t know. I guess it’s not like rapping, but like the phrases are inspired by things you would hear in rap songs. Like just having very quick phrases with a lot of words in it.

Pottersmith: Very Rhythmic.

Demitro: Yeah, very rhythmic.

Ohio Music Experience: That song is out. “Father Of Lies” and now “Brightest Light”. Is there a plan for another single coming out with a video or anything else fans can look forward to?

Demitro: Yeah. We have a lot of videos planned that we’re really excited about. So, everyone can look forward to those.

Ohio Music Experience: Should they check your website (thevelveteers.com)?

Demitro: Yeah. Yeah, they can check our website.

Ohio Music Experience: Was there anything else that you wanted fans to know?

Demitro: Our album release show is happening November 26th at the Gothic Theatre and we’d love for all our fans to be there. It’s gonna be in Denver.

 

 

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