Empty Exchange: VELOCICOPTER

Walking down the winding halls of an Avondale warehouse, I am being led by the sound of someone wailing on their drum set. Past the snack machines and the arcade and the questionable pyrotechnic equipment, the sound gets louder as I turn my final corner, open a door, and voilá: VELOCICOPTER. I had the privilege to crash their practice, which was, I must say, the most productive, teamwork-centered, smiley band practice I’ve had the opportunity to photograph.  Just a week away from releasing their latest album, VELOCICOPTER has hit their stride. With a sound that is becoming more electrifying and maturely structured with each day, it’s easy to see what all the smiling is about. Throughout the practice we talked all things hot dogs, taught Matt what Burger Time was, discovered some major realizations about their new found success in collaborative songwriting, and left sometime for some good, old fashioned arts and crafts. If a band that cranks out the good vibes while melting your face with their shredtastic set is what you’re looking for, than look no further. I can honestly say that missing VELOCICOPTER next week at the Notes & Bolts 2nd Anniversary Party will be the dumbest thing you do all year. We’re only four months in people - don’t blow it already. DSC_0632 ASHLEIGH DYE: Can you tell me how Velocicopter got started? MEG: Well I was in a band with this girl, Crystal, called the ALRIGHT ALREADYS. We broke up a while ago, and then she started jamming with David. Then, the three of us wanted to start a project so we were trying to get together and start that. She kept flaking out, so David and I just cut out the middleman and got together and said, "Hey, lets see if we can write anything." My old band used to play with his old band back in the day, so once I looked him it up it was like, oh yeah that’s that dude from SWEET POLLY. So I kind of knew him, in passing. Once we got together and started jamming it worked out. I’ve known these guys for while, Brett and I had played in another band together before. MATT: Brett and me had jammed a lot together in the past. DSC_0675 AD: Seems like it made sense for you all to start playing together. How long have you been in this practice space? DAVID: Two years. MATT: It’s a great area, bunch of kids playing baseball across the street at Bash, batting cages. I always want to go over there and hit some balls. AD: You haven’t yet? It’s been staring at you for two years now. MEG: Once the album is mastered and done we can have a party at Bash. It can be a pizza party. MATT: Yea, they know me there. I used to go there to use the vending machines before we got ours. AD: That’s one of the best parts about shared warehouse spaces, the snacks and games. It’s like you're in some really dismal school hall or something. MEG: Yeah they kind of suck here; I love the Empty Bottle's Mrs. PacMan because it actually moves fast - this one sucks. AD: Yeah, we’ve got some good game action - we just got Frogger, it replaced Burger Time, sadly. Matt: What's Burger Time? AD: What’s Burger Time? It’s a burger building game, you have to walk over top all the ingredients to get them to fall onto the patties, but it’s also kind of like PacMan. MEG: Yea, there are all sorts of villains walking around. Pickles, saltshakers… DAVID: I’ll tell you who the real villain is, ketchup. AD: You guys are about to send your latest album to be mastered, is that going to be a full length LP? BRETT: Well, it’s a ¾-length LP. We did nix one of the songs, which, it just happens I guess. It wasn’t really gellin.’ But we’re gonna do something with it eventually. DSC_0673 AD: It’s just not that song's time yet. BRETT: Definitely. MEG: It was a song we kind of wrote instrumentally and once we added vocals into the mix it became too difficult to coordinate.  One day it’ll see the light of day. AD: Do you guys have a specific writing process that you all collaborate on? DAVID: It depends on the song. Sometimes it’ll be one person saying "I’ve got this idea," and then we just build on it. Sometimes we’ll just be working on something in our practice space, here, and it turns into a song. MEG: I think the EP was a lot different because with that David and I would work together and finish full songs, and then bring it to the table and then we’d add the bass and drums that way. But with this album we wrote everything together, even the lyrics. BRETT: More often times than not, David and Meghan bring the initial ideas, then Matt and I just poked at it. MATT: We like to tear the songs apart. BRETT: It was a cool process, it was kind of the first time we discovered a process, I guess. AD: Seems like sort of a milestone event for you guys. BRETT: Yeah, I don’t know if everyone agrees but… MEG: I would agree. Between the song writing between the last album and this one I think it’s increased a lot with creativity and vocal harmonies. BRETT: Yeah, the first album we did because we felt like we had to, you know what I mean.  Just to have something recorded. DSC_0817 AD: You guys claim that you’re taking it up another notch with this new album. Would you say this new found writing process played into that? BRETT: We’ve been playing for like three years almost. I think its just been building up more as we know each other's styles and what they’re capable of doing. Just getting to know each other more. MEG: Like if I bring a riff to the table, that’s too simple, but maybe has a good vocal harmony, Brett isn’t afraid to say "I think you can do better," because we know each other's abilities. That’s helped a lot; we have the balls to tell each other "You can do better than that." DAVID: Honeymoon's over. MEG: Way over. AD: You guys have a pretty high energy set. Any special tricks to get in the zone or whatever? DAVID: Ha, no. BRETT: Just get really focused. Oh and the chemicals…. MEG: Matt warms up for a little bit! You’ve got a practice pad now. BRETT: I think we mostly let the music energize us now. If we don’t start off with the right sequence of songs, it takes a bit to get to that certain place. That’s why I love it; it comes pretty naturally, usually. MEG: It also has a lot to do with the venue and what it sounds like on stage. If you can’t feel it, in practice our amps are in a circle and we can really feel the music, so here we get really, really into because you’re inside the song almost. Certain venues you can’t hear what’s going on and I start to freak out sort of. DAVID: Yeah, not being able to hear key parts can really have an effect. AD: Last but not least, could you guys draw what a Velocicopter looks like?
velo4 velo3 velo2 velo1
  Photos, words & interview by Ashleigh Dye. LISTEN TO VELOCICOPTER HERE, UNTIL YOU CAN IRL HERE.

Posted April 10th, 2014

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