Velvet River is a project by drummer Kārlis Roberts Kalējs (LV) and bassist Tauna Woolfe (UK). The musicians started their collaboration at the end of 2019 when both were studying music in the UK. However, shortly after the formation of the duo, the pandemic halted their ability to collaborate in person for several years until they reunited in 2021.
In music, the role of bass and drums is usually to support and complement other instruments, but Velvet River in their EP experiments with what they can create themselves in such a minimalist context. The duo’s sound and unique concept are inspired by the modern and contemporary world of jazz, combined with both musicians’ personal sources of inspiration.
“This EP was not planned. During the pandemic, we exchanged some ideas virtually. We agreed that we could try to write music using only bass and drums. When we met again, there was such energy flowing through us that we composed 4 tracks in one week”, says Kārlis. The musicians say that the so-called “lo-fi” atmosphere suits this EP, which only adds to the fact that the album was recorded with their own
resources at home.
“I had gone to visit Kārlis at his place in the UK. We played music every day in the living room, where Kārlis had set up a minimalist drum kit. Due to the pandemic, we didn’t have access to a proper studio, and we decided to record the compositions right there in the living room”, adds Tauna.
Perhaps, in unconsciously striving to create new musical forms, the emphasis throughout the EP’s tracks became highlighting the interplay between the bass and drums, as well as the musical freedom and space with which the musicians experimented in their compositions. “In such a minimalist context, there are so many possibilities of what to play, and just as many possibilities to not play anything and leave some vibey space”, says Velvet River.
EP “Casablanca” is produced, recorded and mixed by Velvet River and mastered by Toms Jankevics. Artwork and design by Tīna Alise Drupa. Listen to “Casablanca” on all major streaming platforms starting from 02.06.23.