The Velvet Hands: redefining UK garage rock for a new generation

As London-based rockers The Velvet Hands storm into sunnier days of 2024, the band has big plans for the rest of the year. Last year saw the release of their LP Sucker Punch, and a string of UK tours for the band from Falmouth. Now, they’ve set their sights on Paris, with a gig at Supersonic to coincide with the release of a new single later this week. Below, we touch base with the group’s vocalist, Toby Mitchell, on what else 2024 has in store for them.

Angus Wright: Sucker Punch was a personal standout album from last year. What can you tell us about upcoming projects from the band?

Toby Mitchell: Thanks so much, glad you enjoyed it! We are just about to release our single ‘Chick Habit’ – it comes out on April 5th and is very exciting for us. It’s a Serge Gainsburg cover and features Parisian grunge trio Pythies – expect more indie dance music from us!

AW: Having heard you play most of the album live, how do you get your recorded music to sound so similar to your live sets?

TM: We record live in a room together as opposed to recording each guitar individually as many bands do. It’s a way of working that we’ve taken from the days we would record in Falmouth and stuck with it ever since – it makes more exciting recordings that truly show the passion of the songs!

AW: Can you tell us a little bit about the band’s songwriting process?

TM: So they all come differently – normally either Dan or myself will have a melody idea and we’ll show each other. If it doesn’t upset the other person too much then we’ll take it to the band and play around with it. Lots of swapping instruments and trying things as a punk track/dance track/pop track until we get the right vibe.

We rehearse until we hate the songs and hate each other! We’ve developed a loyal fan base who love to get up on stage with us in London and Cornwall – we’re trying to promote this energy around the country!

AW: How would you define The Velvet Hands sound and do any albums/artists particularly stick out as major influences?

TM: We started off way more surf rock (did i mention we started in Falmouth?), but have recently moved in a slightly different direction. We are honing in our sound and ‘Chick Habit’ is the closest to our vision yet! I have listed a load of our favourite albums below: 

Up the Bracket – The Libertines
Parallel Lines – Blondie
Is This It? – The Strokes
Fever to Tell – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Give ‘Em Enough Rope – The Clash

AW: What was the experience of starting a band in Cornwall like?

TM: It was amazing, so many great and influential bands around at the time that inspired us to start a band. 

AW: How does it compare to now being based in London?

TM: We’ve met so many like-minded people in London, bands with similar visions. The hard thing with London is that about three times a day you’re presented with ‘the next big thing’ – you just have to keep your blinkers on and trust that the music you’re making means something to people. 

AW: You have a headline gig at Omera in London coming up, what else does 2024 hold for The Velvet Hands? 

TM: We’ve just announced a gig in Paris at Supersonic which will be loads of fun. Last time it sold out so hopefully the same this time round! After that we’re going back in to the studio to conquer the next record!

You can find out more, including merch and tickets at The Velvet Hands’ website here.

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