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Red Revenge

Velvet Arrow got lost during the New Zealand lockdown of March 2020 and beyond... lashings of existential crisis mode mixed in with writing, playing, singing and creating music - nothing particularly unusual for us.

And we came out of it with a dark and twisted fairy tale called 'Red Revenge' - written in one long lockdown night.

Living isn't easy at the best of times for some of us; and motivation is an elusive creature that has a bad habit of running scared when we need her most.

A worldwide pandemic has intensified the impact of this unfortunate truth...

Endless time on our hands and all we have is questions - what if anything has meaning?

Nihilism comes knocking at our door and is harder to turn away than the well-meaning religious folk who show up from time to time...

Despair lurks in the shadows of every corner.

For creative types, this can be crushing and beyond difficult to overcome.

And yet somewhere underneath it all, I know I want to be heard - in whatever way my voice best travels.

In 2020, the world online which had been something of an introvert's haven became a sea of noise impossible to fly above...

So we withdraw, and I just keep writing...

Even if nobody can hear my mind, finding words for it gives me hope I will reach somebody someday.

'Red Revenge' is a song I wrote in my head while doing dishes one night in the thick of it all...

An idea, a lyric, a phrase fell out me over and over until it's tune got locked into my memory and it felt as though I had stumbled on something good.

As I scrubbed cutlery and soaked pots, I pressed record on my phone and saved the audio file as

'A Dark And Lonely Path'...

Later when my children were all asleep, I fumbled around with my guitar to find chords for the melody I was singing and rhythm mostly to know how many words I had to sacrifice from my story.

And then I started writing.

And I wrote and wrote... and I began to edit my words to fit the lyric within the boundaries of the song... and I wrote and edited some more.

For me, this is the most joyful part of the process - the part where I lose myself completely and the hours are no time at all.

I then videoed myself singing what I had written, and sent it to Dan over in his solitary bubble just down the road from me.

He said he loved it, and within the hour he'd sent me a voice message of an instrumental track which delighted me no end. I then sang over his guitar isolated on my little Tascam recorder Dan bought me years ago, and sent it back to him...

He layered my voice onto his guitar and banjo tracks and sent it all back with harmony of his own which was a lovely surprise to hear.

I recorded a harmony and sent it back to him...and then he worked his magic and created a beautiful song for us.

All in the space of one night!

One verrrrrry late night we spent days recovering from ;)

...what else were we to do during lockdown but survive it any way we know how?!

No matter what is going on in the world or the chaos of our minds, this is the way we quietly continue creating how and where we can.

Some time later, we created a successful Boosted crowdfunding campaign that raised enough to shoot our first ever Velvet Arrow music video which was a lot of fun to dream up and execute!

Shooting Red Revenge - behind the scenes ❤

This bath shot was so much fun for me!

Filmed at the end of a really long day of music video filming from what felt like the crack of dawn (for the magic hour of light??! somewhat of a vampire I can only tell you what I was told! )

Was pretty cold out there in early spring - beautifully hot bath though, and the many wee sips of Pinot Noir over multiple takes due to all the laughter helped keep me warm ;)

Two years later, Dan bought himself a beautiful Lauten microphone to add to our collection of toys... so obviously we recorded new vocals the moment we could, and Red Revenge was complete at last!

As for the lyric... it fell out of me while washing dishes. Just a few lines over and over, and they made me cry, and moved me enough to get it all written down.

What hit me in the beginning was

'A dark and lonely path, you lead me down, a dark and lonely path, never will be found'

...which morphed into the chorus - as ultimately it's these words that transport me to another place in time, and are the heart cry of the whole song.

The rest of it is a sequential tale I'd just as soon forget, if PTSD would ever allow me to. Anyone who has suffered a trauma understands this.

It's easy (painful) to write a story when it has a beginning and an end - but with this song I went beyond what was and fell into a kind of vigilante justice fantasy that helps redeem some sense of freedom and balance to the order of things...even if only in my mind.

As always, I feel my words cut me like fresh wounds - and it's a little too much to bear.

So after writing it all down, I go through it with a metaphorical scalpel and cut out the obvious for the obscure, the singular for the universal and the literal for hidden imagery... not to run away from meaning but to soften the blow somehow.

After that, my story becomes something disturbingly poetic.

As I start to sing a line of melody, it begins moving along its own pathway and the story is submerged in song... only then can I imagine singing it one day without falling apart.

But it's always a fine fucking line.

...and that's the way a song is born.

We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams. Roald Dahl


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