The day The Velveteers met Black Keys man Dan Auerbach is haunting them.
“It was our first time in Nashville, at his request,” explains guitarist-vocalist Demi Demitro, “and we walk into his studio [Easy Eye], and have to keep walking, past all the equipment, right up to the back…”
“And he’s sitting at a table in the dark, smoking a cigar, with a lamp shining over his head,” adds drummer Baby Pottersmith.
“We were like, ‘What are we doing here?’” Demitro says. “It was too scary.”
“But then we saw his jumper had clouds and things on it and he was really friendly and nice,” says Pottersmith, and the two laugh.
It might not be the most visceral rock’n’roll anecdote you’ll read today, but there’s a real sweetness about Boulder, Colorado’s sparkle-cheeked, vintage-thrift attired group The Velveteers. This is in sharp contrast to the roaring, platform-booted glam-punk-garage songs that the trio create, and the psychedelic, self-produced videos that caught Auerbach’s eye and led to him producing their debut album titled, aptly, Nightmare Daydream.
Now in their early 20s, the band have been together for nearly a decade after Demitro and Pottersmith met at a reggae show as teenage musicians.
“We talked all night, we didn’t watch the band,” says Pottersmith. They were soon joined by Jonny Fig, making the outfit a two-drum-one-guitar affair (Demitro: “That’s what I wanted. That made it so heavy and hard-hitting”), and planned to only make their first album after they’d been together for five years. “And, er, that took a bit longer,” laughs Demitro.
It’s been worth the wait, though, as Nightmare Daydream distils the essence of the catalogue they’ve built alongside new compositions worked out with Auerbach over two days.
“Dan’s into the classic ‘Nashville songwriting session’ thing,” explains Demitro. “So on one day it was us, Dan and Angelo Petraglia [Kings Of Leon, Taylor Swift], the next day it was with Desmond Child [Kiss, Alice Cooper]. He was never trying to mould us into anything, or change us. The suggestions he made were things we’d never have thought of.”
“He had all this retro equipment and a 70s amp, a Vamp.” Her eyes light up. “It was the kind that Bolan played – it’s so cool.”
“The crowd were expecting Wolf Van Halen’s shreds and there were definitely some who didn’t understand us,” laughs Pottersmith. “But Demi can shred too – hers are unique, melodic, strange riffs. There were some hypnotised and confused faces out there!”