Music Feature

Explosive stage performances, intense guitar riffs, Velvet Starlings are storming through

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From a very young age in today’s society, we are constantly being fed with what we should or should not believe about how life is meant to be lived. It’s a well-known fact by the age of 8 years old, a child will have 80% of their belief systems of how they will make decisions that will carry them through the rest of their lives. When looking at relationships, for example, we are led to believe relationships will be a fairytale romance with a happily-ever-after ending. What’s lost is the knowledge and belief that in reality, relationships take effort from both partners in order to survive and thrive through life’s journey. If a child were to be raised in an abusive home, it’s a known fact the child will grow up to believe that abuse in a relationship is normal, regardless of whether they are the abuser or the one being abused. Taking a look at TV commercials, we are again fed the same information repetitively of mass consumerism and what products we should buy, from vehicles to soft drinks to pharmaceuticals and everything in between. In their new single, ‘Sold Down The River’, Velvet Starlings delve into the idea of how each generation has been told what to believe with an indie-rock sound infused with the vintage 60’s rallying-cry style anthem.

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Velvet Starlings is a ’60s-influenced Indie Brit-Rock and Blues-based trio composed of indie rock singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist founder Christian Gisborne (vocals/guitar), Ronnie Weiderman (bass/keyboard), and Michael Whitmore (drums). Many of Gisborne’s early influences can certainly be heard in his band’s music along with influences from his own father’s music, “In the ’90s, before I was born, he headed up an Indie Brit-Rock band [Skylab and Plastiscene] and later ran a label and managed bands – and was out touring or making records so he was not around much. I loved his music and The Beatles, and let’s just say I caught on real quick where his influences had come from. At six; I also had a computer so I was downloading music off of the Internet, going deep into many artists’ catalogs – starting with The Beatles and everything evolved from there. I started experimenting on an old vintage organ and with some of my parents’ gear. The first songs I learned were by The Beatles, The Animals, and The Kinks and then I switched to guitar. I was really into The Who, Cream; The Stones, The White Stripes; Cage the Elephant and Arctic Monkeys.” When asked about the origins of the band name, Christian explains, “Velvet Starlings is derived from two songs, by Velvet Underground and Cream. In Cream’s song, ‘White Room, there is a lyric in the song that mentions “tired starlings” which was a contradictory statement because starlings are known to be loud birds. Velvet Starlings just came to me and it sounded like something straight out of the psychedelic sixties and that’s what we dig!”

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In their new single, ‘Sold Down The River’, features a combination of a soulful Hammond B3 organ, gritty guitars, and raw blues-inspired vocals. Gisborne reveals that the inspiration behind the single comes from the current socio-political climate, he says, “If you feel like your generation as well as other generations have been sold an idea of something that isn’t really real. Whether it be a political, religious, or the medical establishment’s idea of what you should be taking to heal your mind, body, and soul. Also, it can be an outdated idea of what is right or wrong when it comes to relationships and love between human beings.”

Wondering if the young musician had any further pearls of wisdom about our world, I asked if there was a single message that he’d like to put out there to make the world the kind of place that he would aspire to live in, what would that message be and why did he think that message is so important, he replied, “The only reason anyone is here is to make the world a better place. And the only way I know I can is to try and make an impact on the world and write about things that matter. If even just one person hears it and it makes just one person’s day better, that’s what every musician hopes they can achieve.”