Vera Blue Blooms for Summer
Ahead of her Ice Cream Factory performance this Thursday, we jumped on the line with the pop sensation to chat about her new LP, life on tour, and her favourite flavour of ice cream.
Photo credit Jason Henley
Recently releasing her sophomore album Mercurial and joining Flume on his national tour in between her own stunning headline album tour shows, Vera Blue has been nothing shy of busy, delighting fans with anthemic pop tunes that translate into breathtaking live performances.
Timestamping her personal journey so far and written with the experience of a live show in mind, Mercurial captures a spectrum of raw emotional depth throughout its 10-track duration, all the while showcasing Vera Blue’s ability to effortlessly translate emotions vocally through her powerful melodies. Returning to Boorloo/Perth for the first time in a while, the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist brings her new material and exciting live show to the Ice Cream Factory stage for their 2022 summer festivities this week Thursday December 8th, performing alongside Holy Holy, Coterie, Sloan Peterson, Luen, and Ndorse.
Between her busy live schedule we had the honour of jumping on a call with Vera Blue last week to chat about the new LP, all things touring, and her upcoming performance at Ice Cream Factory this Thursday.
Only because it came out yesterday, and all good if you don’t have spotify, but if so what did your spotify wrapped look like for 2022? Are there any artists or songs you've had on heavy rotation this year?
Oh yeah, oh my god. I spend a lot of time, whenever I get in the car, I have a specific kind of like, I don’t know whether it's because I feel stressed in the car, or whether it just makes me feel relaxed, but I always listen to a band called The War on Drugs, and pretty much all the songs were The War on Drugs. I guess if I’m in the car a lot, it’s the only music I listen to. There was definitely a lot of The War on Drugs, and there was a lot of Harry Styles. I love Harry Styles.
Oh who doesn’t.
I was on Instagram yesterday, and I was seeing, you know, what I get tagged in by other people, what their wrap’s were, and there was so much of my music in there, which was really cool. It was really nice to see.
Aw, that's always so much fun.
So you’ve been quite busy over the past few years working on your album Mercurial, and it's such an emotional and personal release
How does it feel to finally have it out in the world?
It feels so good. It took a long time, I hate saying the word COVID but I'd like to blame lock downs and stuff like that, because when I worked with my team, well Andy and Tom Mac, they’re brothers producer duo, we like to work in person. It’s just the best, we get the most work done, and it feels more real. So I guess because we couldn't be in the same room together it was a bit difficult to get it done. But I guess this year and a bit of last year was like, we really knuckled down and a lot of the newer songs came. I guess that was a good thing about covid, the only thing about it was I got a lot of new experiences, and new songs came out of it, like Mermaid Avenue, Lethal, The Curse, stuff like that. So there were some really amazing tracks that came up towards the end. But yeah, I feel so relieved and so happy, and really proud of it. It’s something that is just so different to Perennial, and it has its own little storyline, and different topics, and yeah, different sounds as well. I used my voice differently. So I'm really really proud of it, so it feels good.
We love to see that, the evolution and growth! So good.
And the sound is quite reminiscent of your live shows, so how much of the new record can we expect to hear at your Ice Cream Factory performance?
Yeah definitely. I guess when we were making I spent a lot of time touring over the last like, 5-6 years, and I've kind of learnt and realised what the audience really likes, and I have an amazing band with me who are like my brothers, and we create such an amazing life energy, and I think that's what it's all about when you see a live show. You don't want it to be like copy and paste of exactly what the album sounds like. We want it to be more. More subs, or more of a live feel. So when we were making Mercurial it was very, like, “I think the audience will love this moment” “I think it'd be great to have a really big bridge that’s kind of dark and heavy”. So I'm really excited to play Perth, it’s going to be a really awesome show. We've been doing a few shows already on the Mercurial tour and it's just been so much fun. It's just got such a good energy, so it would be really good to get back to Perth. We haven't been in Perth for ages. And to play Ice Cream Factory will be really sick.
It sounds like it’s going to be a great experience.
It’s a great lineup too.
Image credit @curdin
Yeah, and how do you approach coming up with a setlist for something like this? Is it a bit of a collaborative process with your team or do you usually have something in mind?
It’s a bit of both I guess. I work closely with my band, Dave and Ross to kind of create a set, but obviously we've got so many songs now. We’ve got all the old songs that people know, and then we've got all the new ones, and we want to kind of have a nice balance of all the upbeat ones, but still have the slower ones for the emotional moments. But this set is really cool. It's very colourful. Lots of ups and downs. There's lots more upbeat songs, which I really like, because it’s summary, we're into summer now and I really want people to have the opportunity to dance, and just feel like they’re having a really good time. So there's lot’s of dancey moments, and that's kind of where I'm at as well with my music. There's lots of dancing, I still feel like I want to dance. So yeah, lots of upbeat moments.
Yeah such fun, summer, festival vibes.
And will you be busting out the guitar or violin for your Perth show?
Yeah. I'll be playing a lot more, I have been playing a lot more electric guitar which has been really cool. I used to play a lot of acoustic guitar, but on this album there’s just so much more electric guitar, which is nice because it gives me the opportunity to do something different as well, and lean into a different part of my artistry. And it's fun, like I've always wanted to play electric guitar more. I even play electric guitar and some of the older songs, like All The Pretty Girls and stuff like that. But yeah, it's nice, nice to do something different and do a bit more. Really, I usually have a push that plays a lot of the vocal samples and things like that. This time I have a new rig that still has the push buttons but it also has a keyboard, so I can play a bit of keyboard. So yeah there’s some different things that I'm doing, but it kind of keeps it exciting and refreshing for us as well.
Yeah absolutely, I also love seeing women on stage playing guitar, it's just great. Needs to happen more.
It’s a good vibe *laughter*.
Yeah, what guitar do you usually play?
Yeah, I have a Strat. I do also have another guitar that's really beautiful and florally, but I just kind of, It's my special guitar that I don't want, it’s not very good on the road. I just want to make sure I don't break it. But I have my awesome Stratocaster which is like, white and then it has like a lime green kind of pick guard and stuff, which I can be a little bit more rock and roll with. And it's big garden stuff, which is gonna be a little bit more food a bit more like normal. Yeah.
What brand’s the floral one?
Uh it is a, oh my god my brain, sorry my brain is so foggy. Oh, it's tele! Telecaster!
Nice, I love it.
I played the Telecaster a lot ,I did an orchestral run, and that was really perfect for that kind of world. A bit more gentle, but still had a bit of a drive to it. But I feel like the Strat has a beautiful tone and I can kind of be a little bit looser with it. And its a bit more versatile. So yeah, it’s going to be really cool.
I am absolutely obsessed with floral guitars, I have one of my own.
Pretty, yeah it’s so nice to have something that feels like it was almost made for you, It’s just your thing. You just feel like you’re one with it.
It's just an extension of yourself.
And you always have incredible outfits on stage, I just wanted to say, I was just browsing through your Instagram and on Google. Is that something that takes a lot of planning, and can you give us any spoilers of what you’ll be wearing at Ice Cream Factory?
Yeah, it does. It's something that’s developed into a big part of Vera Blue and the live show. It’s like armour, once I put that kind of outfit on, or that colour, or that piece, I feel like I'm in the zone and ready to do the Vera Blue thing. It's like an extension like you said with the guitar, it’s an extension of who I am as an artist, and it really adds to the energy with feel. I've been wearing a lot of tulle, and a lot of kind of like bigger-ish outfits, in terms of a big skirt, or something that's quite flowey, if I spin it has movement. I think maybe I'll be wearing pink or blue. Who knows. I have a couple of outfits that I've been working on with Jana, who's my stylist. We just like to have fun. We love having sparkles, colours. Definitely colours because that's what this album is, very colourful.
That’s amazing, and it kind of segues into my next question, do you have any pre-show ritual or ways of getting into the right headspace to perform?
Yeah, definitely. When I’m with my band, we’ll just hang out, it's just like a really good energy. I like to have a throat coat tea, I don’t know whether it actually helps. I feel like it does help my voice kind of a little bit. It has like a slippery element that makes my throat feel a bit lubricated. But it's just kind of part of the ritual. I like to do my own hair and makeup. Once I have all that done, I feel like I'm ready. If I've got time, I’ll take, probably like an hour to do all of that, and then I’ll give myself half an hour before I go on to do some vocal warm ups, and then make sure I get that moment with the band before they go on stage to do a like, “wooo” kind of thing. It’s kind of like always the same, we try to make sure we have a really solid pre-show ritual.
Yeah, and it’s going to be quite warm, do you have a drink of choice when you’re singing on stage?
Yeah, just water. I find, like I haven't really ever performed if I’ve had a bit of alcohol, because I find I will forget my words, I already forget my words anyway, like my brain just goes “oh my god, like I’ve sung this a million times, what are the words?” *laughter* but luckily the audience will remember them, but I normally just drink water, because I just get so thirsty from jumping around on stage so much *laughter*.
Yeah you’ve got to stay hydrated!
And you mentioned the lineup is amazing, do you get much time to see them before you play?
Yeah, we definitely will, I reckon. We’ll probably spend the whole afternoon there, and a couple of my friends are playing, like Luen is one of my friends. I haven't actually seen Holy Holy play before, so that would be really cool, and Sloan Peterson, I’ve seen her perform a couple times, she’s really cool so, it will be cool. Cool to hang out, I really missed that during lockdowns and stuff, where we go to festivals and it was just kind of like, a good opportunity for us all hang out and be friends rather than lik e”oh my god, we’re working” it’s just like “oh we’re here, we’re hanging out” and it’s just a really good energy. So yeah, I'm really excited.
Yeah, sounds like it's going to be a good time with friends, and making new friends.
And of course there's a lot, so much time and energy that goes into travelling and touring, do you get much downtime - and what do you like to do in that downtime?
Yeah, I guess we've had a bit of downtime in between shows, which has been really nice. Not this week, because every day there's something on, but I guess when I have a bit of time to relax, I like to get into a routine at home, go for a walk. I live near the beach, so I'll go for a walk at the beach. I have a sausage dog, I have to keep him entertained. He keeps me busy, which is really nice. And I also just watch a bit of Netflix. Yeah.
How cute! I bet you’re excited to go home and see him.
I really am, my partner Billy has been on the road with Skegss, he’s their audio engineering. He’s been on the road with Skegss in America for a month and he gets back tomorrow, so I'll be able to see him, I think on Monday, which will be good so he's gonna go pick up Texas tomorrow *laughter* the little dog. So I’ll be happy to see him.
Yeah, but while you’re still on the road there’s so many experiences to be had, do you find this inspires your songwriting at all?
Yeah, definitely. It's actually really interesting, like you can be anywhere and anything can happen. You can meet someone, you can go to a bar or a cafe and something can happen. I think it's about, the thing with touring is that you have to kind of just embrace the moment, and try and enjoy the moment. A lot of people can get really exhausted on tour, and I definitely have been there, but I try to wake up in the morning, do what I need to do. Go have some brekkie with the team.Because it’s lifestyle, you kind of just have to just lean into it and go with the flow. So when you're open and present, that's when you notice things are happening around you, or meeting people, hearing them say things. So lots of things inspire me when I'm touring. Especially when I was touring with Flume in America and Europe in 2019. That was the last time I did a bigger stage run. Yeah, and just so many things were happening and it was just really exciting. All these new places to visit that have different memories, so, yeah.
That’s amazing, and whilst you’re in Perth, you mentioned you haven't been here for a while, do you have any site seeing you want to do? Is there anything you’re keen to check out whilst you’re here?
Oh, that's a good question. I'm trying to remember the last time we were in Perth, because it was so long ago. We normally do have a bit of downtime because we fly in the day before so that we're all well rested for the show day, and then we fly out the day after. I mean, we always love visiting a cafe that we really like. I'm trying to remember which one we’ve visited, but we like getting an acai bowl. If there’s time we like to go visit the beach. Sometimes we even just go see a movie when we have some downtime, we like going to see a movie. We nearly went to the zoo yesterday. We had a bit of time in Adelaide before our flight and we were like “should we go to the zoo?” but then we just didn't, we had to go check in. We always like doing something.
Yeah yeah, especially in Adelaide, the zoo and botanical gardens are stunning.
yeah, I do love going to like a big park or garden. Like when we were in Canberra last, which was a couple of months ago, we went to the Floriade, the flower festival. So it was happening on the day we were doing a show, which was so convenient because I love flowers and we had time. So we got to check out all the tulips and stuff like that. So yeah, we try to do as many things as we can, when we can, and rest when we can as well.
Well that brings me to my final question, wish is ice cream related.. What is your favourite flavour of ice cream?
Oh my god. Always, my always favourite flavour of ice cream is chocolate. Just straight chocolate. Whenever I would buy, or my mum would buy when I was a kid like the tubs of ice cream that had the chocolate, the pink, and the vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, I would find myself only eating the chocolate *laughter*. Whenever my brother and sister would go to get some ice cream it would just be like the pink/ the strawberry, and the vanilla just untouched, and then the chocolates just all scooped out. It's either chocolate, or I really love rainbow flavoured ice cream. Delicious.
Thank you so much for joining me this morning. It's been an absolute pleasure, and congratulations on Mercurial’s release. I hope you have a great time at ice cream factory!
Thank you so much. Enjoy the rest of the day.
Ice Cream Factory - Thursday December 8th
+ Vera Blue
+ Holy Holy
+ Sloan Peterson
With 17 huge nights across Friday 2nd December - Sunday 1st January featuring Hayden James, Hermitude, Example, The Presents, Hot Dub Time Machine, What So Not, Peking Duk and Cosmo’s Midnight along with legendary supportacts, be sure to check out the full program here