Velvet Starlings’ Christian Gisborne Is Ready To Bring The Vibes Of The 60s To The Modern Day Watch A Live Velvet Starlings Performance From Madame Siam
LOS ANGELES, CA- When it comes to music, age ain’t nothing but a number. 15 year old Christian Gisborne is proof of that. His band, Velvet Starlings, is a trio that has him on lead vocals and guitar, Ronnie Weiderman on bass and keyboard and Michael Whitmore on drums. Blending indie blues with British Invasion era influences, their tight harmonies and catchy arrangements have already caught the attention of music lovers over seas getting radio play in Asia and getting tapped to play a few festival dates in Europe.
On August 4th, 2018, Blurred Culture and no season was able to host this young band at Madame Siam in Hollywood for a performance and I was able to chat with Christian a bit before they took the stage.
Velvet Starlings. How did you come up with that name?
Christian Gisborne: So as I’m in love with the 60’s… and we are a 60’s influenced indie rock band, super influenced by The Beatles, The Doors, The Who, Rolling Stones, all that stuff. The song “White Room” by Cream, in the lyrics is the phrase “tired starlings”. You know starlings. They’re pretty loud and wake everyone up in the morning. But I didn’t like that work “tired”, and I started thinking of something different, and you known the Velvet Underground? Velvet. Everyone in the 60s wore it. We definitely want to get into more of a psychedelic territory, so we thought that Velvet Starlings sounded fitting.
So you are pretty young, how did you get into all the classic sounds?
Christian: When I was like 6, I discovered The Beatles. A couple of their songs were on my parents computer and that got me interested. For a while I only listened to The Beatles and my parents were like, “You gotta listen to The Stones and Doors” and I’d be like, “No, only The Beatles!” I was super into them for a couple years. And I went from there and got into other stuff and then I really love new artists like Jack White, The Black Keys and Cage the Elephant and all of that stuff.
So when did you start writing music?
Christian: I started writing music about 2-3 years ago. I’ve always had a guitar in my room, but I just never played it. And then one day, I just picked it up and started playing a couple riffs and it worked out. It went from there!
And your dad works in the music business also, right?
Christian: Yeah, he is a songwriter. He’s been doing it. He’s definitely been an influence on me, his music, and yeah…
He’s not like a stage dad, is he?
Christian: No, no. He tries not to put too much time into it actually.
He was in his own band and I grew up listening to a lot of his music so a lot of his music has, let’s say, definitely influenced me. I’ve seen some videos where they’re on stage, and he’s definitely played a big … I mean, he’s my dad! He’s definitely played a big part in my life. But for music, I don’t know, there’s something about maybe because he’s my dad, I try to do different things than him.
How do people react when see you perform? Are they surprised because you’re so young?
Christian: I get that a lot. A lot of people think I’m older than I am, I just turned 15 in May. I mean, my bass player, she’s 18. I think the songs were received really well, I mean, a couple of them, the last one at Venice, we did 4 songs that we’ve never played acoustic, and we just kind of did it in the moment with a Cajon and it went well.
Do you guys have any music that’s coming out soon?
Christian: Yeah, we just – well, we’re releasing our debut EP, 7 song EP. It was mastered by Brian Lucey, who did Cage the Elephant, Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys. It hasn’t even been released and we’ve got radio play all over these different stations. This one in Japan that has 3 million listeners, and yeah, it’s being received well.
Once the EP is out, will you be back in the studio recording more?
Yeah, I think this one’s really just about getting the music out there. This one was actually… we recorded it a year ago, it’s been done for a while. It’s just been going through so much. The new one, we did it in 4 days. I played all the instruments and it was just like bass and keys in one day and …
Let’s talk about the new album…
Christian: Yeah, the new record, yeah, yeah, yeah.
So then, you said there were 7 tracks?
Christian: 7 tracks, yeah.
And are they all more upbeat? Or do you have some more down tempo tracks?
Christian: So the lead single that we’re really going with right now, we just did a music video a couple months ago down in Northern California, it’s called “If Life Ain’t Getting You High,” that song is more upbeat song, it’s kind of like, it’s a fun song. I figured that would be a better song to lead with. We have another song called, “Sold Down the River,” and it’s more of a political number, a song that has something to say.
Of the 7 tracks, is there one that speaks to you the most?
Christian: I’d say that one, “Sold Down the River.” That one really means a lot. Like a lot of bands, you know Roger Daltrey and the Who, he didn’t write any of the songs and he was still – there was some songs where he just didn’t connect with it because it was about an experience Pete Townsend had. A lot of these songs, I can always feel like I can connect to them and every time I learn new things about the song.
Sold Down the River, is that based on some personal experience for you?
Christian: Technically, yeah, it’s what I’ve observed just around in the world, watching the news and seeing what’s going on.
Oh man, so much going on in the news.
Christian: Exactly, yeah. And a couple of the songs, there is, you know, you got to have a relationship one on there, you got to have – we have a song on there called, “Coming Home” that’s uh, we have this girl and her band is called MOD, she’s really coming up in LA. There’s 6 people in the band and she’s really singing a new record yet. She’s featuring on one of the songs called, “Coming Home.” She’s been getting a lot of shows, she’s plays Hotel Cafe, she’s played there like 20 times or something. Actually, she’s playing there next week.
So parting thought, if you had to give readers and listeners one message, is there something you want to let them know?
Christian: I have. For this record, I really just want to get the music out there and have people listening to what I’ve been working on. I really love this record and I can’t wait for it to come out and for people to hear it.