It was a strange day for Lou Hickey of Codeine Velvet Club as Dirty Little Secret caught up with her to get the latest news on the band and was shocked to hear it was all over before it had really begun. Anyway, the girls made the best of it (as always!)… and of course FnS wish Lou all the very best for the future, whatever it may entail.
As this interview was planned around Codeine Velvet Club we’ll carry on with that for now so… first things first – can you tell us about the band name and how you got together?
Jon and I met through his wife. Heather is Chelsea Dagger and we both perform for the worlds biggest Burlesque Club – Club Noir.
As for the name, it wasn’t really my idea. I liked ‘Velvet’, that was my contribution!
For anyone who’s yet to experience Codeine Velvet Club, describe your sound.
I’m awful at this question! I’d say its rock n roll, its cinematic and there’s some Hollywood glamour.
Do you take inspiration for a particular era, musical style or other artists?
We weren’t consciously listening to anything while making this record. I think Jon and I are still listening to the same music we have been most of our lives. I’m a huge Buddy Holly and Kinks fan, and Jon loves the Beatles.
It’s obvious to see im very much inspired by the 40’s and 50’s, and artists and composers from that era, but that’s just part of me. It wasn’t new or anything for this venture.
Codeine Velvet Club has a very smart, sexy image (especially yourself Lou) that matches the music brilliantly. Is your image as a band important to you?
I don’t think it would work playing our music and not dressing the way we do. I don’t think it would look right in jeans and a t-shirt! haha! I was always going to wear my dresses, its part of who I am, and it fits perfectly with our music, so the boys had to keep up!
Our music is very visual and cinematic, and our image enhances that experience. Well at least I hope it does?!
Would you say Codeine Velvet Club are looking for success first and foremost, or is there something else that motivates you?
Individually, everyone is different, so I can only speak for myself.
Happiness motivates me. I love making music and performing, and I am really happy to have been given the chance to do that. If I can continue to have a career doing what I love, and can make enough to get by, then I will be a very lucky person.
Not everyone sees it that way though.
Lou, I read that you’re classically trained and you play several instruments – not to mention that your voice is terrific. Do you have any other passions in life that you can tell FnS readers about?
Most of my life revolves around music. Its my main passion. I used to be a vocal and piano teacher before the band took off, and I really loved that.
And I love Burlesque as well, but may be that’s obvious! haha
Other passions, I guess ice-hockey is pretty high up there! I love it and I only wish we got to see more games on UK tv!!!
Getting back to Codeine Velvet Club, you first released Vanity Kills – your debut single – digitally in November 2009. I’m a big fan of the song. Can you tell me more about it?
It was the first song we wrote together. Jon and I had never even properly met. It was all by e-mail. He sent a riff and some bits and pieces and I wrote the song around that. Its funny, as sometimes you write things not really realising what it’s about, but now it completely makes sense! Lets just say lyrically its very appropriate to my life right now!!!
The music video for Vanity Kills is brilliant. Who came up with the concept and was it fun to make?
The director sent us over a treatment. We loved it! It’s actually a short 10 minute film. Fantastic cast of actors in it!
It was fun, though being my first time making a video it was a little weird!
Vanity Kills was re-released this month. Have you had a different/better/worse/other response this time round?
We’ve def been getting a lot more air play which is great!
You released a cover version of The Stone Roses’ I Am The Resurrection as a double-A side with your second single Hollywood in December 2009. It’s a very unique version, and I like it. What’s been the general response to the track?
Its been mixed, as most cover versions are I guess. It’s funny how agitated some people get about it!
Are there any other songs you already cover, or that you would like to?
We also do a cover of the Rolling Stones ‘Gimme shelter’. It’s so much fun to play live!
Do you see Codeine Velvet Club collaborating with any other artists in the future?
Who knows what the future holds. I certainly don’t!
As a solo artist, or as Codeine Velvet Club, if you could share the stage with any one artist/band, who would it be and why?
Solo, Well if he was alive, Buddy Holly!
Id also like to do something with Paolo Nutini. We’re form the same area so may be that could be interesting! And he has a fantastic voice!
You’ve not long returned to Scotland from a US tour with Metric. Were you fans of theirs before this opportunity came round?
I was a big fan. The guys had no idea who they were!!!
I’ve seen Metric a few times in Scotland, so I was really excited to be supporting them. Emily is a fantastic front woman. Quite an inspiration. It was an amazing experience for me!
What has your experience of the US been like? The Americans can be a tough crowd to please.
See I found the opposite! They were fantastic!!! If they like your music, even though they have never heard you before, they just get right into it and have fun. It was really great energy to feed off. I wish we could have played more dates.
Is US success important to Codeine Velvet Club?
Success anywhere, is important if you want to sustain a career and have the finances to be able to continue making the music you want. So of course, we would like this album to be successful so we can continue doing what we love.
Little Sister was first brought to my attention on the ads for Gossip Girl. It’s quirky, catchy and is one of my favourite tracks on the album. Do you think it helps to get your music recognised when they’re used in advertisements?
Yes!! Advertising can make or break a band. With radio playlists being so unpredictable these days, advertising another great vessel to get your music heard.
Where you most prefer to perform – at home or away?
I just love doing shows in general, no matter where they are! Home is always nice, but when you’re miles away and you meet people who know who you are and like your music, it’s a really incredible feeling.
Do you have a particular favourite Scottish venue?
I love the Glasgow O2 Academy, but I did work there for 5 years, so may be im a little bias! haha
Love the art deco feel to the place though!
What has been your most memorable gig to date, and why?
There’s a been a few. The 100 Club in London was very special to me because of its history in punk and jazz. To take to the same stage as some of my idols was insane!
Rusty Spurrs in Austin for SXSW was a pretty special night. One of our best shows ever!
Any interesting/amusing/other stories you can share with FnS readers about your travels with Codeine Velvet Club?
Hmmm, see as a band, we don’t really do much. The boys do their thing and I get left to do mine.
When we were in Austin though I was invited to a party Tom Morello was throwing. That was a great night and he was such a lovely guy. Very surreal!!!
So, your second album is currently a ‘work in progress’. What can we look forward to from Codeine Velvet Club this time round?
There isn’t going to be another album sadly. This was not my choice and I am so sorry to let down the fans.
Any exciting news you can reveal to FnS readers?
Jon just announced we are splitting up!
Very sorry to hear that Lou, lets hope you go onto bigger and better things. And I believe you have a solo album on the cards?
My album is recorded and in mixing stages just now although there is no release date or label planned as yet. I’m very much of the DIY aesthetic, so I’m mixing and producing it myself, along with Iain Hutchison of Glo-Worm Studios.
Nearly finished now… your 5 desert island tracks?
Kinks – Waterloo Sunset
Buddy Holly – Everyday
The Cure – Friday I’m In Love
The Clash – Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Dream a Little Dream – Probably Ella’s version
And finally, your favourite flavour of crisps?
It depends what mood I’m in. Pickled Onion is pretty good!
Thanks Lou, and all the best for the future. *girly hugs* Dirty Little Secret
Lou Hickey MySpace
Codeine Velvet Club MySpace