Join the trip..
In a world where musical authenticity is frequently undervalued and sporadically discovered, coming across a group like Velvet Trip can be something of a faith confirming experience for those with an appreciation for the psychedelic-blues of yesteryear.
Their debut single ‘Take Control’ is evidence of the group’s ability to deftly marry fuzzy guitars, experimental keys, shuffling grooves, and frontman Zeppelin Hamilton’s husky, neo-blues vocals - birthing a sound that is both futuristic and entrenched in the past. With his raw bellow conjuring up the spirits of Howling Wolf and Jimi Hendrix, 24-year-old Hamilton’s symbiosis with the blues is as peculiar as it is, ultimately, understandable.
Throughout his childhood, Hamilton’s Byron Bay home would often be converted into temporary accommodation for travelling blues artists that his dad had befriended, including Robert Johnson descendant Super Chikan, Jimi Hendrix collaborator Ironing Board Sam, and Blues Hall of Famer Ardie Dean.
In between festivals and gigs, the bluesmen would be lounging in the backyard, smoking, drinking and strumming as 10-year-old Zeppelin would wander around, intoxicated by the music and energy surrounding him.
“They’d crash at our house, and we’d have barbecues together which would turn into a big jam,” Hamilton says. “There was always someone strumming a guitar and I’d sit closest to whoever would let me, and when I got a little older I started to get the confidence to play with them.”
Moving to Sydney to pursue acting a decade or so later, Hamilton’s passion for blues and his own creative vision, couldn’t be satisfied by the rock bands he was playing in, or his regular appearances at local jam nights. It was a chance conversation and an impromptu performance with bassist Nick Savvas at an Inner West house party that further fanned the flames, that would become Velvet Trip.
“I was flirting with members for a year or so, writing these songs and feeling them out, experimenting and searching for the right chemistry,” Hamilton says. “I was a big fan of Nick’s band Narla, and we ended up at a party together one night. Everyone was drunk, people were getting tattooed on their arse, and there was a couple of guitars lying around so Nick and I had just played in the corner. We decided right then and there that we were going to start a band.”
Drummer, Clayton Allen (Julia Jacklin, Boydos), and keyboardist Sinj Clarke soon joined the pair on the same musical wavelength, further expanding on Hamilton’s bedroom musings.
After only two jams they headed into the studio to record their six-track debut EP, completely live, in single takes. The resulting EP, Velvet Trip & The Six Moon Skies, is a 29 minute-long journey that captures the untamed excitement of the studio it was recorded in, and seductively invites listeners into their world.
Just open your mouth, roll out your tongue, and let it take over.