Local Produce: VELVET the label.

Local Produce: VELVET the label.

Max Came is the frontman of indie rock band Hot Sauce Club, and has recently created VELVET the label., alongside Will Georgeson of Pool House and Max Hackshaw of Frank on Tap. VELVET exists to promote artists around New Zealand and the world, currently made up of the three bands but looking to eventually expand. Critic Te Ārohi caught up with Max to talk about the future of their new project.

When asked about VELVET’s goals, Max explains that, “The overarching goal is to operate as a self-sufficient entity and eliminate the need for outsourcing to other organisations,” promoting, managing and marketing artists independently. Hot Sauce Club hails from our very own Ōtepoti Dunedin, while Pool House are from Ōtautahi Christchurch and Frank on Tap are based in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. While these bands all reach a similar demographic in the New Zealand music scene, their nationwide scope allows each band to promote one another in their respective cities. “We wanted to create a combined resource pool so we could take on a strength-in-numbers approach and promote and collaborate under a larger and more credible industry entity,” says Max. 

VELVET has been in the works for over 8 months, with its announcement coming on the 30th of January and a national launch tour beginning in Christchurch on the 16th of February. The process of launching a label has been a bit trial and error, as Max shares, “The industry is pretty tricky to navigate, and you can get all the advice in the world, but at the end of the day you just have to get out there and do it to see what works.” A major blueprint for VELVET is Wellington-based group ‘A Low Hum,’ who have been organising tours and their own festivals since the early 2000s. “We were fans of how they wanted all ages to experience live music – especially since the younger generation are the future music lovers. We plan to do all ages circuits where we can. We hope the approach can bring in more people and new people with free gigs as well”, says Max. Another inspiration for VELVET has been Garbage Records: “They have a neat DIY approach, doing it all themselves with recording, release, and creating a whole art scene.” Max also added, “We are hugely inspired by Flying Nun for the same DIY attitude that paved the way for New Zealand music.”

VELVET operates as an indie/alternative rock outfit but is willing to expand into other genres in the future. Currently, they are continuing their New Zealand tour, having played shows in Christchurch, Dunedin, and Queenstown. They are also in the process of sorting out merch and physical releases, with Max stressing the way in which “physical releases are an important part of New Zealand music history that still needs to be held onto within the digital age”. On the experience so far, Max concludes, “We didn’t know what to expect, but it has been some of the sickest shows we have played yet. The crowds knew the words to most of the bands’ songs, and were super supportive of, and receptive to, the idea of the label. I’m buzzing.”

To keep up to date with future shows and releases you can follow @velvetthelabel.nz on Instagram, as well as Hot Sauce Club (@hotsauceclub), Pool House (@poolhouse.music), and Frank On Tap (@frankontap).

This article first appeared in Issue 2, 2024.
Posted 5:11pm Saturday 2nd March 2024 by Jordan Irvine.