Starfish, meet rock - Regional News | Connecting Wellington
 Issue 194

Starfish, meet rock by Madelaine Empson

In 2018, vocalist Lorraine Taylor put up a bandmates wanted poster. Karl Jensen (guitar), who worked on music projects around Wellington for years with Seb Bishop (drums), responded.

“Karl borrowed Seb’s amp a decade ago, so maybe Seb’s playing the long game to get it back”, Lorraine says.

After Karl filmed Lorraine’s Fringe Festival shows with another music group, she realised he’d make an excellent, open-minded collaborator. Then Wayne Slater (bass) moved to Wellington from Australia and joined the band, which they christened Velvet Star.

“The band name came about when Karl, an avid south coast snorkeller, kept suggesting marine creatures as inspiration. I deep dived into research and found the velvet star (Petricia vernicina). It’s a starfish from Australia and the Kermadec islands, but the words also evoke heavenly bodies, eye-catching shapes, and rich textures.”

Since forming in 2022, Velvet Star’s music has been built on classic rock vibes – hard rock, folk rock, 90s rock, alt-rock, you name it.

“We like to be playful. If a song calls for it, we add dark surfer rock flourishes, a good handful of funk and danceable beats, some reggae, and weird spacey alien sounds. While there’s a good dose of sincerity in our songs, there’s also an ‘if we don't laugh, we’ll cry’ take on human neuroses.”

Velvet Star will perform alongside psychedelic hip-hop act Mokomoko and the Shwayliens plus indie-rock band Search for Yeti, at Moon on Sunday the 30th of April.

 “We’re looking forward to the variety of styles being available in one place, on one night”, Lorraine says. “It’s always interesting to see how other groups make music together, and the music community at Moon is really lively and supportive.”

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