We chat with upcoming Edinburgh-based four piece about their genre-defying sound, upcoming tour, and their ambitions
For a group that evolved from a high school band “in the summer of 2013,” Indigo Velvet “have done a lot in a short space of time,” bassist Laurie Adam reflects. “We’ve supported Fickle Friends down south, we’ve supported local bands like The LaFontaines in bigger venues, we’ve played major festivals and now we’re going on tour.” With that in mind, we’ve gathered the lads in Glasgow's West End for an afternoon pint and a chat, in their own words, about the rise of Indigo Velvet.
“I think it took a while to figure out what we wanted to sound like. For the first year, the set changed every month. We’d write new stuff, drop stuff, and I think it was around 2014, when we decided ‘this is what we want to be’. That’s when the Indigo Velvet name came in, the branding, and in a couple of interviews we got told we were ‘tropical’,” Adam explains. “We’d never been called tropical before; I think it’s the shirts! It goes hand in hand with the shirts, the long hair, the colourful guitars. It’s a like pop culture, tropical vibe going on.”
“Jason plays at church sometimes on a Sunday," continues vocalist and guitarist, Darren Barclay. “He’s got the African influence, sort of like all gospel music, it’s kind of all happy and uplifting. It comes into the songwriting when me and Jason sit down and write guitar parts. You can kind of feel a happy vibe.
“We grew up listening to bands through high school – Bombay Bicycle Club, Vampire Weekend, Two Door Cinema Club... it’s a compliment being compared to these bands, but I think now, without sounding arrogant, we’ve got our own unique sound. But those influences definitely helped us along at the start, for sure."
“We’re influenced by unsigned local bands too,” Adam is quick to point out. “We try to go to as many gigs as we can. We’ll go see a band that sound nothing like us, but we take away maybe a bit of the live show. I think it’s because we go to gigs as musicians, we analyse it differently, we’re like, ‘that’s brilliant; that bit’s really good’."
Drummer Billy McMahon agrees: “You learn a lot more that way as well. It’s been picked up quite a lot in (other) interviews, people have said: ‘you’re constantly at gigs; we always bump into you at gigs’. We do it to support bands.”
“It’s important as well, if the scene dies down a bit,” Adam points out. “In Edinburgh, recently, it’s been up and down. It’s starting to pick up now, but when you go back to supporting local acts, that really helps to pick it back up.”
Indigo Velvet are yet to release an EP, let alone a full length album, but already the Edinburgh quartet have amassed a hugely enthusiastic and dedicated fan base, drawn by the lure of their upbeat, playful, and irrepressibly bright compositions. “We’re going on tour in November,” Adam excitedly exclaims, “so we’re releasing a single – that’s an exclusive! [Sunrise is out on 4 Nov – listen to the track exclusively here].”
McMahon continues: “We’ve played T in The Park, (but) it’s our first tour. It’s been said this is like a breakthrough year for us. This is a completely different direction of music (for Indigo Velvet). And I think it’s the first time we’ve written a song primarily in the studio. To me, it feels like this is the pinnacle point of where we’re going to go.”
“We just want to be heard!” Barclay interrupts. “I think we’d settle for being… um, nationally famous,” he says, met with cackles of laughter from his bandmates. “Up and down the UK – even just Scotland! To be known.”
The truth is, they’re a band who want to inspire others, like others have inspired them, Tucker explains: “For someone to look up to you and appreciate what you’ve done, and want to replicate that in their own way. I think that would mean a lot, because it shows that your music is doing something for others as well.”
They agree that “playing festivals across Europe, playing internationally – being asked, not applying! – being actually invited to play the likes of SXSW” would be an achievement, as well as “not having any stress, and making a comfortable living for yourself and your family. That’s what we really want.”
“And that Brit Award!”