Interview/Music: Vels Trio

Vels Trio caught our attention back in early 2017 with their debut EP Yellow Ochre. Since the release, the trio has been turning heads around across the music sphere, which has seen them nominated for Jazz Album of the Year at Gilles Petersons Worldwide Awards.

Their free-flowing instrumental compositions have built the group a loyal following, seamlessly moving from the bandstand to the dance floor to find their way to Bradley Zero’s genre-crossing Rhythm Section label.

A kaleidoscopic collection of songs, Celestial Greens features everything from the sleazy swagger of ‘Wad’ to the retro-futuristic vibes of ‘May Well Be’ to the soaring electronic pulse of ‘Pop Stuff’.

We caught up with the trio just as they revealed the latest tasty sample from the album which you can hear below.

Hey guys. What are you up to at the moment?

 We’ve been back writing together and are currently spending a few days at Echo Zoo studios recording some new music.  

Tell us about Celestial Greens; I read that you describe it as “the band trying to make pop music”?

Celestials Greens is a collage of our last four years; it’s a collection of songs that represents our journey through that time. In terms of us making pop music, we’re coming from so many different places musically; it’s about bridging them all together to create something that is free-flowing yet has a succinctness to it. 

Can you tell me about the journey between Yellow Ochre and Celestial Greens?

 We’ve been influenced by a lot over the past four years through listening, playing and creating, and we feel this is reflected across Celestial Greens. 

What was the first track you composed for the album, and did it help set the tone or direction for the rest of the record?

The first track we composed was the title track ‘Celestial Greens’, despite that it didn’t have much of an effect on the tone of the record. We were committed to let each song go wherever it wanted to go.   

The recording of your lead single ‘May As Well Be’ took place in Kate Bush’s historic 70s studio. How did that come about?

 We recorded the majority of the album with our friend, amazing producer and instrumentalist, Raven Bush. Raven is Kate’s nephew, and he’s been using the studio for years. We’ve recorded there lots of times, and it feels like a bit of a home to us, and it felt the natural place to record the album.  

It’s great to see that you’ve played with a variety of artists such as Emma-Jean Thackray, Puma Blue and Poppy Ajudha, which shows the depth and range of talent within the London jazz scene; can you tell us how you got to know these artists?

We all get to play for some great musicians outside of Vels, who we met through playing music together and forming friendships through that. 

Are you guys creating music outside of Vels Trio at the moment?

Yeh, we all create music outside of Vels, in solo projects and with other people. Jack has a project with Footshooter called Saul, which is released through Rhythm Section.  

What else have you got in store for the rest of 2021?

We’ve got our album launch show coming up at Jazz Cafe on the 27th of October, and the album then drops two days later. Apart from that, we’ll mainly be writing new music. 

Anything else you would like to add? Any closing words for the Twistedsoul community?

Thanks for the interview, and we hope you all enjoy our album when it comes out!   

CF Smith

Write for Music Is My Sanctuary & Stereofox.

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