Best known for their appearances on both the 's music combines modern grooves and textures with elegant melodies and rock power. They're a trip-hop band mixed with a rock band, a pop band, a jazz combo, and a funk band. One thing for sure -- they absolutely don't sound like any other band.
If you had to compare, you might say they're like a cross betweed and the . Or like mixed-up with and early . They are an intensely creative and unique pop band that manages to make music that's both eclectic and accessible at the same time.
Velvet Chain is fronted by award-winning vocalist, , and headed by composer-producer-bassist . The band's magic lies in the perfect match between Jeff Stacy's musical style and Erika Amato's voice and vibe. This combination is the essence of Velvet Chain's instantly recognizable, liquid-explosive sound.
Velvet Chain's most valuable asset is their lead singer; Erika has a confident and commanding stage presence, with a silky, hauntingly pure voice. She releases her vocal power with exquisite style and ease, singing with remarkable technical skill and versatility -- yet, her stage presence remains down-to-earth and gracious. Erika is a class-act, starkly beautiful, intelligent, sincere, and always in command of the room. She's an elegant rocker with a smokey-vixen kind of sex appeal that she owns like her voice.
When digital studios became available in the early 90's, Jeff established Freak Productions, and began producing remixes of everything from Herbie Hancock to local punk bands. But the most interesting productions were of his own music, which tended to combine slowed down loops with groovy bass lines, dark vocal melodies, and atmospheric sounds. This was about 3 years before the term "Trip-hop" came into form.
When Jeff hooked-up with Erika Amato, he knew he had found the perfect vocalist for his pensive, groove-based music. Shortly thereafter, he formed Velvet Chain (his third band), and molded the band around Erika's pure and powerful voice. It was a natural combination that has become the essence of the "Velvet Chain sound."
1996 - "Groovy Side" (demo) released
1997 - Velvet Chain appears in first season of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
1997 - "Warm" released
1997 - Velvet Chain goes on national college tour
1999 - "The Buffy EP" released
1999 - Velvet Chain included in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" soundtrack album, released on TVT Records and featuring groups like Garbage, Guided By Voices, and the Sundays
2000 - "Moody Groove Music" released
2001 - "Velvet Chain Live at the Temple Bar" released
2001 - VC track, "You Got Me," used on episode of "Sex and the City."
2003 - "Asteroid Belt" released
2005 - "Space Patrol EP" released
We haven't played a live show in about a year, (we're focusing on writing and recording right now), but when we did, our favorite local venue was the Key Club in West Hollywood.
We've also toured nationally, which was a blast. I think my favorite gig on the tour was when we played outside at the University DePaul campus (the Music Mart) in downtown Chicago. People were drawn from all around to listen to us...we were like the Pied Piper or something. Very cool.
Roxy Music, Portishead, David Bowie, Herbie Hancock, Beck, Radiohead, Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins, the Doors, the Pretenders, the Cure, the Smiths, Sting, the Police, Tower of Power, Depeche Mode, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gang Of Four, Ella Fitzgerald, Peter Gabriel, Robert Fripp, David Sylvian, Duran Duran, Joy Division, Eurythmics...
This is not a complete list:
Trace Elliot AH 250 bass head
Trace Elliot 4x10 cabinet
Vintage 60's Wurlitzer electric piano
Vintage Farfisa ogran
Kurzweil K-2000 keyboard/synth
Roland JP-8000 synth
Gretsch 6120 guitar
Velvet Chain is based out of Los Angeles, where they enjoy a large local following. The band has released 4 albums and amassed a fan database of over 10,000 worldwide. They are well-known for technical innovation, including the release in 2000 of a "super-enhanced" Live CD containing a 24 minute concert movie in QuickTime, and the "Custom Velvet Chain Album," where fans choose both the songs and the artwork via the VC website. Velvet Chain also appeared on the popular television show, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," as well as the show's soundtrack album, selling over 300,000 units worldwide. The band itself has sold over 20,000 units via the internet, gigs, and traditional distribution.