With the lead's voice reminiscent of (early) Édith Piaf this contemporary soul band combines these beautiful vocals mixed with an eclectic bluesey jazz sound and a dash a pop. This configuration works so well it only took me 30 seconds of a single song (Bitch) to lead to my obsession.
Since there wasn't much on this group publicly I decided to see if I could score an interview with them to get some of my questions answered so here it is peppered with some of their music.
The first thing I asked was their musical background and how they all came together.
We all went to the same school in Muswell Hill, called Fortismere. At the time we were only really the mildest of acquaintances, but since leaving, different musical ventures lead us to meet, become friends, collaborate, and join forces to start what is now Velvet Stream! Between us, we have quite a broad musical background with Anthony previously touring with Urban Pop Acts, Dan, Freddy and Isaac performing Jazz, Soul and Blues as session musicians, and Mati starting out solo before realizing the company of a band is what she truly wanted.
Mati - Your voice is just amazing in my mind it is timeless, when did you realize your gift and when do you think you came into the style you embody so well now? Was there an evolution or was this you all along?
I was always really secretive through insecurities but people in school kept asking me to sing so I realized I had a voice people liked. I started off imitating Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey when I was really young, then went onto Gospel and Funk; for example, The Emotions, all the while having The Beatles, Bob Dylan, ABBA and 60s Mod music on repeat via my Dad. Then The Strokes brought modern Rock into my life when I heard their song 'Under Control'. Before that I couldn't relate to Indie and Rock because I was a Soul girl but hearing the soul and romance in the vocals and chord changes helped me understand and love a genre I couldn't before. After that my taste got punkier and squarer by the day! I've never looked back!
I notice you focus primarily on original songs, who writes them, is it a group effort and if so, what is the process?
It is largely a collaborative effort, but we all try and play to our individual strengths and influences to give it the Velvet Stream sound. The process can vary quite a bit depending on the song and who comes up with the initial idea.
Who is the inspiration behind "Bitch"
Whoever you want it to be about. Even while it was written with all my anger and resentments I wasn't writing the lyrics to the person in mind. I was fed up with not standing up for myself so let out what I really felt the best way I know how, through song. It burnt a lot of bridges which was really difficult but I think it was worth it for the listeners who can't stand up for themselves. It was written for them.
I imagine that if someone is an inspiration for a song you'd have to imagine singing it to them to truly convey the emotions in the song am I correct?
That's true for when the song and feelings are fresh but feelings and perceptions change until the song is expressed more as a reflection or past diary entry. You can still convey emotions that way. It's just different.
What is next? Is there more original work coming?
Oh yes, there is definitely more to come! We are planning another single release for early next year and are always writing songs for the eventual album. We have also got some ideas about releasing an EP at some point next year. Stay tuned in to our Youtube Channel and our Facebook page to catch all the action!
Secretly I am a closet cover lover, especially of pop songs where the lyrics and arrangement are geared towards someone with a "shallow" voice that are rearranged and done right and in the unique style of that artist, have you ever considered doing any of these?
Well, we love doing covers too. we covered David Bowies 'Where are we now' and were overwhelmed to get a repost from his official website and facebook page, which was just amazing as he is one of our heroes. Other covers we have done include 'Bang Bang' by Will.I.Am and Stooshe's 'Black Heart'. Doing a cover is always a fun project for us. It is fun to explore how we can switch them up and make them our own.
What is your favorite song both from Velvet Stream and from all of music history - past or present.
From Velvet Stream: We are very proud of 'Bitch' and 'Cowboys and Indians'.
From Allll of musical Historyyyy, the BEST SONG OF ALLLLL TIIIMMMEEE!!: 'Because the Night' by Patti Smith springs to mind. But that is a very hard question because there are five of us and our tastes wax and wane with the moon and the tide.
Check them out and keep an eye on them, they're going to be very famous one day!