We are excited to share our interview with Rosie Mackay from International Velvet. International Velvet are one of Melbourne’s finest dream pop bands and make seriously lush music. They are launching their debut EP tonight Thursday 7 June 2018 at the Tote with some great bands, Real Love, Caroline No & POPPONGENE.
When did you start playing music and how did International Velvet begin?
I started playing piano when I was about 8, mostly classical. And then began song writing a couple of years ago, after finishing a really great year at VCA (studying visual art).
The band started from a conversation between James and myself about music and song writing, and the desire to push ourselves out of our own comfort zones musically. I was writing some pop songs in my bedroom and was hoping to turn it into something more like a band, and he wanted to push his own boundaries and play bass for a change rather than vocals or drums. We started jamming and it just felt really natural and exciting and we pretty much set off from there… I think our first jam went for like 4 or 5 hours, just the two of us, so it was a good sign. Alex (our first drummer) came along next and then Louis. Stevie recently joined the band as our new drummer and so here we are!
What is your favourite song off your soon to be released EP and why?
Ooh this is a tough question… it would be a tie between Someday and What I’m Worth. Someday because it was the first song I wrote with the band, and I still love it, and I just love What I’m Worth, I think it’s a beautiful song and is a joy to sing (I do backing vocals)
What advice do you wish you had received when you started making music?
I don’t know why, but when we first started gigging I started to stress about the little things, not about how the gig would go but things like, ‘how early do we have to get to the venue before a gig?’ And, ‘where do I stand (on stage)?’ I laugh at that in hindsight. But I guess I did feel a bit behind the rest in terms of experience in the scene and performing, so I think just realising that it’s okay to not know what you’re doing, and to just have fun and enjoy the experience
How can we make the music community more inclusive?
I think one way is by making a stand against issues such as sexual assault or misconduct, in the industry. More and more we are hearing about musicians and/or bands who have a reported history of abuse, including bullying, sexual misconduct, and more. Venues have a duty of care towards their patrons, and as such they need to be aware of who they’re (potentially) booking, because first, it says a lot about who they support, and second, it affects the safety of the venue for those who might be attending. We have seen this happen recently with the Corner Hotel cancelling the Riff Raff tour, due to issues of drugging and sexual assault. I see this as a positive step towards making our venues more inclusive and safe places to be, for everyone, and wholeheartedly support their decision to do so
Favourite Australian band/s of all time?
The Birthday Party; Silverchair; Real Love, HTRK, Powderfinger
What currently inspires you?
I’m so obsessed with Angel Olsen’s ‘Phases’ album, the stripped back nature of it, I’ve been finding that inspiring in terms of song writing, and also having just seen her live it really made me want to step up my game vocally! She really goes for it and has such a range of different tones and moods in her voice alone. I’m also inspired by people that get up early and get stuff done.. I want to do more of that
Do you believe in astrology? What are your sign/s?
Not deeply, but a lot of people I know do so I believe in their belief! I’m an Aquarius. I was told this means I’m a ‘daydream believer’, which is pretty much accurate. When I was young I went through a phase where I’d go to book stores and constantly read about my star sign and my birthday, I think for clues as to who I was and who I could be. The whole thing (astrology, the planets, all of it) is a mystery to me, so if astrology has something to say then why not?
What are your favourite things about playing music?
I think mainly the magic of playing with people you really love and admire, the free beer, and exploring musical terrain or emotional terrain you never knew possible, or that was lurking inside. I feel like I learn more and more about myself and others through playing music, and seeing others play music. And when a song comes together, and it feels really good, I truly think it’s a magical thing!
Are you a tea or coffee drinker? If not, what’s your favourite beverage?
Thanks Rosie! See you all tonight!