INTERVIEW: Burning Velvet



PHOTO CREDIT: Silas Risbjerg Terkelsen

Burning Velvet


THE Danish artist Burning Velvet


PHOTO CREDIT: Silas Risbjerg Terkelsen

has been talking with me about his new single, Fragile (released on 3rd August), and what it is all about. I ask what the music scene is like in Denmark right now and if he can reveal anything about his forthcoming album – Burning Velvet reveals which three albums are most important to him.

The songwriter discusses what he hopes to achieve before the end of the year; which artists he grew up listening to; whether there are going to be any gigs coming up; if we might see Burning Velvet play in the U.K. – he selects a great song to end the interview with.


Hi, Burning Velvet. How are you? How has your week been?

I’m doing real fine. I am having a holiday from my day-job…so, I am having a good time with my family and playing a lot of guitar and writing new songs.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

Well. I have been performing under the moniker ‘Burning Velvet’ for about six or seven years now. Burning Velvet came into being just after I moved with my family from my hometown of Copenhagen to the small town of Svendborg. In 2016, I signed with the small Danish label Celebration Records. In 2016, I released a digital single and a vinyl 12” with two tracks recorded mono, straight-to-tape. In 2017, I released my debut full-length titled Night Light//Slow Grass as a double-vinyl L.P. (three-hundred copies) and also on streaming services worldwide. The album is written, produced and recorded in my home and is my own take on lo-fi Folk - with inspiration from traditional American music genres such as Bluegrass, Country-Folk and Blues.

Following the album release, I went on a large tour in Denmark, Germany and Switzerland; give solo shows alongside Long Tall Jefferson (Switzerland) and Poor Nameless Boy from Canada. After recording, mainly solo, I decided to make a new sound and I put together a band with my good friends and great musicians from Copenhagen. So, the current direction for Burning Velvet is less traditional and uses synths, female vocal and a whole bunch of other tricks.

Fragile is your latest single. Can you reveal the story and how the song started life?

Yes, that’s true. I wrote the first drafts on the song about two-and-a-half years ago. I was having a condition with my left shoulder, meaning it popped out of the socket every other minute. So, I had to get it stitched back together again and this meant many weeks of not being able to use both hands. So, I couldn´t work, play the guitar or anything much really. But, I have this old electronic ELKA organ with a cheesy rhythm section So, I could make the music on this using just my right hand. Back to the theme of the song…this little setback of mine made me think how fragile we really are and how quickly things can change.

In a broader sense, I just wanted to bring thought to changeability and that we should really appreciate whatever good we have around us. Things can easily fall apart – and, for the human race, I think that social cohesion is of very big importance as an agent of keeping a balanced world situation.

It is from your forthcoming album. Are there particular themes that inspired the record? What can we expect?

The record is titled LISTEN. That is meant in a wide sense of the word. Of course, I hope people will listen carefully to my music and, especially, I hope that my lyrics somehow will inspire thought for the listener. But, the title is meant to reflect that we all could benefit from listening as opposed to just hearing what is happening around us; that we should understand what really happens in the world before we judge or take action. I think a true understanding of the state of things is very often bypassed in these times - overflowing with information coming in large from the big social media platforms.

The songs Standing in the Sun (released in May) and Never Mind Me have been written with today’s children and young people in mind - and the need of keeping this planet a good place for generations to come. Also, a central theme in the songs is changeability and the responsibility of adults to keep peace and make the world a progressively better place for their children.



As a Danish artist; can you tell me what the music scene is like there right now? Are there a lot of great artists coming through?

I think the Danish music scene is quite interesting right now. When I was young, most Danish bands did not really catch me. But, I think the scene has developed quite a lot the last ten-fifteen years. There is a lot of original, high-quality music coming out. There is a big underground scene with Punk kind of things; there is a good Psych-Rock scene and we have good Electronic names.

Also, where I live - in the small town of Svendborg (only twenty-seven-thousand) - we have a good music scene keeping up with around seven/eight-hundred live music events a year. I was a little anxious of moving from Copenhagen to a small town but Svendborg has proven to be a great music city to me. There are so many great musicians and people are very open and try new constellations.


PHOTO CREDIT: Silas Risbjerg Terkelsen

Which artists did you follow when you were growing up?

Well. At a very young age, I indulged in my father’s vinyl collection with The Who, Led Zeppelin; Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young; Lou Reed, Velvet Underground; Pink Floyd and all those '60s and '70s greats. I was a teenager in the '90s, so there was a huge development in the music scene when I was in high-school. But at the time I listened to Nirvana, Sonic Youth; Red Hot Chili Peppers and Primus.

Then came Trip-Hop and I was very much into Portishead, Massive Attack; Tricky and Morcheeba. I also was, and still am, a big fan of Morphine (from Boston in the U.S.). Calexico and Sixteen Horse Power; Mojave Three, Red House Painters; Dirty Three, Nick Cave; Giant Sand, Howe Gelb and those great American Recordings - Johnny Cash also influenced me quite a lot.

What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?

I am releasing my sophomore album and I hope to start recording my third album this fall. I already have songs for a couple of albums – they are taking in new directions. Also, I hope to get some good live shows.


PHOTO CREDIT: Silas Risbjerg Terkelsen

Do you think you will visit Britain this year at all? Do you like music from the U.K.?

We don´t have any dates in Britain as for now. I like a lot of the music coming from U.K. The Stone Roses are a favourite of mine - and all the Trip-Hop bands have had a great impact on me.

Will there be any tour dates? Where can we see you play?

Burning Velvet will be a special guest at the only Calexico (a U.S. band) concert in Denmark this year. That will be August 20th and we are playing a new very intimate festival in Denmark called Høst Møn in August. We are currently working on a getting a showcase at Reeperbahn Festival (in Hamburg) in September - that might be the show closest to Britain this year. Hopefully, we will get a chance to play somewhere in Britain in the future.

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?

I have a lot of good and bad memories – but, what comes to mind first is when I was in my twenties and had a Trip-Hop band called Tibitinas. Young and full of hope, we went to Bristol with our three-song demo...hoping for Tricky or 3D to be hanging around the next corner and see our talent (smiles). Of course, that didn´t happen. But, we shopped around with our demo to all the small labels in Bristol and then went on to London.

We ended up in Glasgow where we met the drummer from Teenage Fanclub who liked our music and had a small label with a friend - and he was eager to put out our music. So, we rushed home to Denmark and made a full album. But, for some reason, nothing came of releasing in the U.K. and we ended up releasing it ourselves.

This might sound a downer of a story but, to me, it is a great memory of travelling the U.K. with my best friend and being all worked-up with our new sounds just taking in the world.


PHOTO CREDIT: Silas Risbjerg Terkelsen

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

The most important album to me would be Yes by Morphine

I heard them live in New Orleans and it was a very special evening seeing Mark Sandman - and me discovering the album at a very open stage in my life.

Sweetheart of the Rodeo or Easy Rider (soundtrack) by The Byrds

That introduced me to the Country genre, alongside Neil Young’s Harvest.

Also, the album Weld (live album) by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

It is just the greatest Rock record I know. Those guitar sounds are so great.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Neil Young would be a good bet. Including a chat with his guitar tech (smiles). But, supporting Calexico this August means a great deal to me. I have a been a fan since their first record, Spoke, so that is huge for me too.

As for the rider; a friend of mine told me it should always hold Prosecco (wine).


PHOTO CREDIT: Silas Risbjerg Terkelsen

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Make art! Put some depth into the art you are making. Play live whenever you can; write great lyrics, write great music and play with feeling to the best of your abilities.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

I have a full-time day-job, too; a family and two beautiful kids. So, playing and writing music is my kind of unwinding.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Sometimes, I play with my friend, Jeppe Højgaard. He is a very gifted musician playing Free-Jazz/Free-Folk. He makes some pretty artsy Folk. Give it a go if you have your ears open to something out of the ordinary


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