FOR five years, Brisbane many-piece Velociraptor have been living up to their self-elected position as Australia’s most dedicated party-starters.
Now, ‘earth’s mightiest band’ (their words) is releasing its debut album, and is ready to bring the party to a venue near you, says frontman and songwriter Jeremy Neale.
“It’s really exciting,” he says. “Although I’ve heard [the album] so many times that I’ve lost objectivity on it, so I don’t really know what it sounds like to a new listener. I think retrospectively I’m really happy with it, so I’m looking forward to seeing how people respond to it. In an ideal world it’d be satisfying to be releasing music at least every 12 months, if not quicker than that. For us it’s been two years now, which is quite a length of time, but it’s here now; the apology record.”
The band’s self-titled debut, which comes after EP releases in 2010 and 2012, is littered with pop-culture references and ’60s pop vibes, as on tracks like ‘Monster Mash’ and opener ‘Robocop’.
“Well, obviously one of the greatest songs of all time is called ‘Monster Mash’,” Neale laughs. “I just wanted to use that as a way to paint the scene. If you imagine someone dancing to ‘Monster Mash’, you immediately get the vibe of that party, but the song is a bit dark, and I like the juxtaposition of the happy imagery in the middle of a sad song. The Robocop thing was a cool context to put it in, but the real sentiments behind the song were about being in love with something who is everything to you, but to them you’re just the best option at the time. I don’t know how Robocop came into it, but I wanted to create that kind of imagery of essentially a gritty, neon city that features on the cover art of the album. When this album was first demoed, everything was quite minimalist in its approach; everything was just power chords and simple beats. The vision for the album was to do a dark, ‘Pet Sematary’ or ‘Bonzo Goes To Bitburg’ kind of record, but after we played around with [the songs] in the studio it become more of a variety record than how it might have sounded.”
With anything up to 15 members in the band at any time, you can never be sure of what you’re going to get at a Velociraptor gig.
“We keep it all quite fluid, as everybody does have responsibilities,” Neale says. “It’s kind of like ‘here are the dates, who’s in?’ There’s nine of us going to Perth this time, which is out of control. It’s obviously a lot of fun, and it’s a unique and rewarding experience once we’re there. Having now done the record and booked all our flights, except for Adelaide, theoretically all the hard stuff is done. Now, we just have to go and have a good time and deliver the product. We’ve been playing [first single] ‘Ramona’ live for probably a year, and we added ‘Robocop’ and a song called ‘Leaches’. When we added them both to the set ‘Robocop’ [went down] fine, but ‘Leaches’ just did not work for people on first listening. It’s a very interesting experience working out what people want to see live; they just want to be familiar with it, I guess. They looked at us like ‘what are these guys doing; a weird cover or something?’ Once the album is out in the world and people have had a chance to hear it and still want to hear it, we’ll be able to get behind everything on there. It’s all relatively accessible and it’ll be more ‘party’ and faster live. I have high hopes for how it’ll translate.”
VELOCIRAPTOR’S SELF-TITLED DEBUT IS OUT AUG 22.
THURSDAY 21 AUGUST
NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB,
FRIDAY 22 AUGUST
NEWTOWN SOCIAL CLUB,
FRIDAY 29 AUGUST
THE BRIGHTSIDE, BRISBANE
SATURDAY 30 AUGUST
THE COOLY HOTEL,
SATURDAY 6 SEPTEMBER
THE CAUSEWAY HOTEL, PERTH
SUNDAY 7 SEPTEMBER
THE NEWPORT HOTEL,
SATURDAY 20 SEPTEMBER
PIRIE & CO SOCIAL