Velvet City

Velvet City

 Melbourne, Victoria, AUS

Sex and drugs and rock n’ roll, minus the drugs. They’re the potent ingredients which shaped the sounds of Velvet City. This year sees the buzz building for Velvet City, with a punching debut album in the can and a unit of seasoned rockers ready for the road. Velvet City are all set, and ready to go.
The force behind the Australian rock group is its frontman, Craig Heath. Craig is the first to admit, the ride which has taken Velvet City to the now has been anything but a smooth one. Heath’s sto


Sex and drugs and rock n’ roll, minus the drugs. They’re the potent ingredients which shaped the sounds of Velvet City. This year sees the buzz building for Velvet City, with a punching debut album in the can and a unit of seasoned rockers ready for the road. Velvet City are all set, and ready to go.
The force behind the Australian rock group is its frontman, Craig Heath. Craig is the first to admit, the ride which has taken Velvet City to the now has been anything but a smooth one. Heath’s story is the tale of the underdog, with a cast-iron spirit. He’s tasted many of the music industry’s highs, and all its bitter blows. None were so crushing than the indictment and incarceration of his one-time manager Glenn Wheatley, a scenario which threatened to rip-down all Heath had worked for. Craig got back up again. The knocks have made the man.
Craig Heath is headstrong, confident. Unapologetic. And these traits drip out of his music. Velvet City’s debut album New World Order is a tumultuous throw-down of love gone wrong, and hope. It’s a soundtrack of lessons learned. Of being knocked down, and rising up. Above all, it’s about rock.
“We stand for being true to yourself,” says Craig. “I’ve been through dark times.
I want to give people something sacred, something they can connect to on every level, both spiritually and physically. Velvet City is a fantasy world where you can escape just for those three minutes of a song.”
New World Order has all the tell-tale signs of a classic rock album. But it owes its creation to the marvels of digital technology. New World Order is the vision of one man, but its creation was channelled through an unorthodox partnership which crossed the Pacific Ocean. Celebrated producer Brandon Mashburn (Matchbox 20, Jason Mraz, Hootie and the Blowfish) embedded his DNA in the project, overseeing the recording process from his Studio 2100 facility in Springfield, Missouri. Heath and Brandon worked on the project 24-7, over a six-week period. It was a sleepless phase for Heath, who would stay up through the night writing and laying-down vocal and guitar tracks while a U.S. team led by Brandon would handle the instrumentation and mix the goods. The sessions were anything but orthodox, Brandon says. But it was efficient and precise. “Recording that album was such a blast. I wish I could do that everyday,” he says with a smile. “Anybody who knows me and knows about this project knows this is probably the most fun I’ve ever had making a record. It was an opportunity for me to really dig in deep, and to write and play and engineer and produce. Craig and I are on such a similar level musically. We hear the same thing, we’re driven in the same way. So it was a really cool experience to feel like I’m doing a project with myself.”
Through the continent-spanning project, Heath would come into contact with Brandon’s business partner Tom Whitlock, a master songwriter who penned the monster hits Take My Breath Away and Danger Zone from the multi-platinum Top Gun soundtrack. Whitlock would contribute his Grammy Award-wining skills to the Velvet City album. “With Craig, he really knows what he wants,” explains Brandon. “Craig and I, we’re both sensitive energy type people. We feel the world around us. We really wanted to tell this story that the Velvet City record is telling.”
New World Order was created in the aftermath of the disappointing episode with Glenn Wheatley, which briefly had Craig questioning the role of music in his life. A chance meeting with the Australian music industry legend at a concert in 2007 led to a deal for the aspiring rocker. An inductee in the ARIA Hall of Fame, Wheatley rose to fame as an artist with the Masters Apprentices and went on to guide the extraordinary success of John Farnham. Wheatley spotted a special spark in Craig, and signed the singer to a management contract. An album was recorded, and the route to the big-stage was mapped out. And then it all came tumbling down. Wheatley was arrested in 2007 for tax fraud, and would spend time in jail. The recording was shelved, and would never see the light of day.
Dreams were shattered. And not for the first time. Craig’s charisma and talents have brought all sorts of attention over time, not all of it desirable.

“There have been broken promises. Meeting Glenn, I thought we’d hit the big time. Then that happened and it sent me down again. But I got back up. And kept writing.”
Born to parents of South African and Spanish origin, Craig carries both nations’ characteristics in spades. His work ethic is tireless, his heart is passionate. Following the emotional vacuum left by Wheatley’s incarceration, Craig tapped into both of those qualities.
“I was in a down spiral,” the performer admits. “But I wasn’t going to sit there and sulk about it. I got to work. I went straight back into the studio. That’s my best way of dealing with it. I have that underdog attitude. I do not give up.”
Craig set about building his dr


Over: The opener Over is a bass-heavy hit to the senses. Written with feted rock producer Brandon Mashburn, Over should appeal to the rock-hungry American market. “I wish you could see a better side of me. I think this life we had is over, over now,” sings Velvet City frontman Craig Heath in its anthemic chorus. Over should resonate with anyone who has experienced loved and watched its time-line expire.

Dirty Bitch: Grinding, gyrating and writhing, the album’s second track Dirty Birth simply oozes sex. Craig Heath is playful about how Dirty Bitch came about. “It’s a dirty old stripper song,” he laughs. “It’s about getting it on sexually. Tantric-style, not the brute way. It’s all about the foreplay, the build-up.” Dirty Bitch captures AC/DC and Stone Temple Pilots at their most erotic.

The Way You Love Me: On the Way You Love Me, Velvet City has teamed with some big guns. The song is co-written with Brandon Mashburn and Grammy Award-wining songwriter Tom Whitlock, the hitmaker behind the Top Gun soundtrack. Whitlock has another high-flier on its hands with this, a tale about the girl that got away. “Despite all the debauchery in my life, I’m a romantic at heart. And I want that love. Everybody connects with that,” explains Velvet City vocalist Craig Heath. The Way You Love Me is an instant classic, a polished rock ballad with all the ingredients of a radio hit.

Sanctuary Love: A love worth fighting for is the message behind the album’s fourth track. Sanctuary Love takes the foot off the pedal, and delivers another slick, radio-friendly take on romance – Velvet City style. Discussing the process behind the song, Craig Heath explains, “You see it and have to have it, but there’s a strong Biblical message behind it. You have to sacrifice for that love. You wouldn’t care, you’d go mad otherwise. You’d drive off a bridge for it.”

Stand Up: Tight, unified, strong. Stand Up is a call to arms, a shout-out for people to step out of the gloom and stand-together as one. It’s about risking it all and taking the plunge, whatever the cause. A soaring guitar solo rocks at the heart of this track.

Home: Life on the road is a lonely journey for any musician. But it’s the road home which forms the theme to this emotionally-charged track. “When your world is falling apart, and I don’t know where to start, you bring me home,” sings Velvet City frontman Craig Heath. Home is a special place.

You’re Not Alone: In life, Craig Heath has taken more hits than most. And each time, he’s bounced back. The Velvet City frontman pours it all out in You’re Not Alone, a song about refusing to compromise. “Many people are walking through the motions, not living their true calling,” explains Craig. “We should be on Highway 1 in life, but many people get stuck down a side street and go round a roundabout. They’re so off-track.”

Lost and Lonely: “Getting rid of the girl in your life, it’s a dark place,” admits Craig Heath. Like many songsmiths, the Velvet City frontman has written about the thing the hurts the most, and in doing so has set about healing his wounds. And that’s the case with Lost and Lonely. “It’s a dark place where you do feel alone. There’s no-one around and you don’t feel connected to anybody. It’s about writing to help a lot of people at the same time, and getting that message across.” Lost and Lonely has a positive message to share with others. “You can come out the other end. There’s light at the end of the tunnel,” says Heath. “You can do it alone, all the answers are inside you. You’ve just got to break down the walls and go forward.”

Break Me Out: – “Hey, I saw the news today,” sings Craig Heath in the opening line of Break Me Out. The Velvet City frontman tackles the increasingly blurry new world, where the lines of information and deceit are treacherously difficult to navigate. Break Me Out identifies with the soldier, caught in a war built on lies and greed. It’s about the warrior, looking for some tenderness in his misery. Just wanting to break out.

Without You: The hurt of love. It’s a hurt that stops you in your tracks. It’s a pain that tears away. In Without You, Velvet City’s Craig Heath explores the torture of losing love. “I don’t want to breathe without you. And I don’t want to live without you,” sings Craig. “I’ve built me whole life around you, and I don’t want to live without you.”

Follow You Down: A complex, masterwork of rock, Follow You Down is as strong as any of the works on New World Order. Another tale from the dark side, Craig Heath sings, “If I follow you down, I’d so foolishly drown…I might end up like you.” Follow You Down carries an undertone of anxiety, and wraps it into a meaty, nugget of rock.

Electric: New World Order finishes off as it begins -- in a blaze of sex and throbbing guitars. Channelling the sleaze of Motley Crue, Craig Heath reportedly wrote Electric after a night at the Spearmint Rhino strip club. Heath admits Electric is the “ultimate strippe