Velveteen Pink
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Velveteen Pink

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The best kept secret in music

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"Local band gets airplay on Web site"

Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:00 a.m.

Local band gets airplay on Web site

By BECCA GOLDMAN
Avenue Writer

Local band Velveteen Pink catches a break, with chances to get its music heard by millions and to play a Spring Break show in Daytona Beach, all because of one Web site.

BreakThru Radio is an online radio station dedicated to giving unsigned artists exposure. Home to Velveteen Pink and more than 200 underground bands, the site relies on the expertise of five DJs to find unsigned music they like and put it on the site's daily Webcast. It was BTR DJ Matt Letola who picked Velveteen Pink's "Optimistic Love" as one of his top five favorite songs of the year. Now the band will be one of three acts to play a BTR concert at Fuel, a venue in Daytona Beach, in front of an anticipated 2,000 people in March.

Letola, a UF graduate and former Rock 104 DJ, said he first heard about the band after they played a show in matching pink jogging suits at Eddie C's during Battle of the Bands. He listened to their music on MySpace.com and contacted the band immediately. After the band signed the release, they became members of the BTR library.

With a growing 2 million hits a week, bands receive a significant amount of exposure. Letola said visitors could also expect a download store and an instant messenger player soon, which will create a greater sense of community among the bands and their fans.

"Record labels have this brick wall put up," Letola said. "With things like MySpace, it's definitely easier for bands, but you still need some kind of a filter. We have five DJs, all with different tastes; we pretty much play what we like."

Referring to his work for the site as a "labor of love," he said the entire staff believes in the cause and constantly searches for underground music.

"It's really good that people actually care about music they find rather than music they turn on the radio to hear," said Nick Robbins, drummer of Velveteen Pink. "I think people like [Letola] are incredible; I love what they're doing."

Letola said he was turned off by the radio business while working at Rock 104.

"I'm not too impressed with commercial music right now," he said. "There's more product than music."

Band members of Velveteen Pink agree that having venues like BreakThru Radio and MySpace make it much easier for unsigned musicians to be heard, especially in Gainesville where, they feel, there is a shortage of actual venues.

"There's, like, three places to play in town, and if you include the Shamrock, four," said Stanley Walker II, horn player in Velveteen Pink. "You have to space out your shows."

The band is doing everything they can to get noticed. Wearing matching costumes and experimenting with synthesizers and keyboards while using fewer guitars, members said they just want people to dance.

The band compares itself to Hall and Oates, Prince and Stevie Wonder. With a name like Velveteen Pink it's obvious the band doesn't want to be overlooked. They are currently working on an album that band member Alfredo Lapuz Jr. is mixing himself and will take the stage at the BreakThru Radio concert March 16.

"They bring this party vibe," Letola said. "It will go really well with Spring Break."

In the meantime, you can listen to Velveteen Pink's "Optimistic Love" and learn more about the spring break concert event at breakthrumusic.com. - The Independent Florida Alligator


"BreakThru Radio Artist"

It was a Wednesday night back in October when I first witnessed the joy of Velveteen Pink.

I was in a foul mood, unexcited at the prospect of standing through three questionable local bands in order to see the one I had come out to observe; The Treatment. They had made it into the third round of the Gainesville Battle of the Bands, and all my friends and co-workers were flocking to the Common Grounds that night in support.

I was having one of those “everything that can go wrong will go wrong” type of weeks. I remember coming home from work that afternoon, plopping myself into bed and burrowing deep into the covers only to emerge an hour or so late for my concert date. Upon this realization I believe I stayed in bed another 15 minutes or so before begrudgingly dragging myself to Common Grounds for the show.

I walked in late, and I remember stopping in the entrance, frozen in awe. A genuine smile crossed my face, for the first time that week. What I saw before me was not your typical rock band, it was Velveteen Pink. They were wearing matching blue polyester suits and playing their hearts out, with a stage presence hard pressed to be topped by most acts in Gainesville.

I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself. Having been born in the '80s I’d only been privileged to see such things on television reruns of the psychedelic '70s.

As I glanced around the room, I saw that not a single soul was standing still. Even the Emo kids with their strange hair cuts and thick-rimmed glasses were tapping their Converse All-Stars to the beat.

I’ve heard Velveteen Pink’s unique sound compared to the likes of KC and the Sunshine Band, Rick James, and New Order - artists that all represent their own variety of upbeat and danceable pop. They are worthy comparisons, but VP has a unique vibe that's all their own.

They borrow from the funky sounds of the '70s (citing Stevie Wonder and Prince as two major influences) and give it their own twist, adding rocking beats and exceptional melodies. They manage to bring the funk forward to the 21st century with tracks like "Optimistic Love" and "Girls Who Abuse,’" keeping all the booties shaking.

Considering the fact that I can’t even play a basic beat on the drums (even playing air-drums is a stretch), I can appreciate the dual talents of lead singer Nick Robbins, who pounds out the beat while crooning. Sure, it’s been done before, but the coordination this feat takes always impresses me.

Also adding spice to Velveteen Pink are Alfredo Lapuz Jr. and Stanley Walker II. The two both take on the role of keyboard and help bring out the unique synthetic side of the group. The final man adding to the recipe is Timothy Deaux, who does double duties on both guitar and bass. All four of the guys combine on vocals, harmonizing their way to a standout pitch.

Though their sound is unmatched in the new musical mecca of Gainesville, FL, it is their stage presence that truly mesmerizes the audience. Since my first rendezvous with the band I’ve been lucky enough to see them live on three more occasions. Each time they were dressed to impress in matching outfits, my favorite being the pink track suits with matching sweatbands. You can tell that a lot goes into the preparation for their shows, and witnessing that coordinated head-nod can do wonders in brightening a person's day.

Their energy on stage is intense and watching them have such a wonderful time on stage brings a smile to your face. It’s no wonder they beat out 143 other bands to take the title and win Gainesville's 2nd Annual Battle of the Bands.

If you’d like to catch Velveteen Pink live, the perfect opportunity would be on Thursday, March 16th in Daytona Beach, Florida, as part of our BTR spring break concert. Also playing will be Beautiful Mess (Jacksonville, FL) and Bracelet (Gainesville, FL).

- Emily Smith - BreakThruRadio.com


"Velveteen Pink wins the 2nd Annual Battle of the Bands"

A man with only 6 teeth screamed “One Italian” as if the 20-foot trailer somehow spanned a nation. Maybe grease slows sound as it travels. I stretched out an arm to take the foil-mummified meal, illuminating under the heat lamps half a dozen various-sized mosquito lumps. I have arrived at the fair.

The finals for the 2nd Annual Battle of the Bands didn’t have much of a crowd. Just a miniscule core with a steady flow of befuddled passers-by taking an empty lawn chair.

Oh, circumstance.

Sure, it started at 8. Lunchtime for the under 25. But where better to pick up midday eats than at the deep-fat-fry tent? For chrissakes, they have deep-fried Oreos. I bet they’d deep-fry a shoe or a small pet for you, if asked nicely.

And at 8 at night, you get one of the best musical combinations available: musicians who can still recite the alphabet backwards.

The Frozen Cobra lads were (almost) sober and didn’t miss a beat. Maxwell Edison and Lyndon both had a bit of sound difficulty and still played great.

But who can listen to those Velveteen Pink kids and stand still? People who obviously had no interest in what was going on and barely turned their heads while walking by were stepping with the beat.

And their matching red 80’s exercise outfits: Hot.

To see bands put that much effort in to play well when they’re looking at a sea of empty seats is one of the better scenes in music. Usually, it’s a part-timer band that doesn’t even have plans to get “big” and never will.

To see 4 groups that can play that well in such a situation makes them, in my book, 4 groups that shouldn’t ever have to see empty seats again. - Gainesville.com


"The People Have Spoken..."

Velveteen Pink is the winnder of the People's Choice Award for the 2nd Annual Battle of the Bands. - Gainesville.com


"Velveteen Pink @ The District 4/22/06"

So here comes a band from Gainesville invading the indie scene mecca Poplife @ The District. I heard about this band from a friend who lives in Gainesville and speaks pretty highly of them. I visited their Myspace page to check them out and get a feel for the type of music they would be playing this Saturday night at Poplife. I’m pretty incredulous about any band that comes out of the “G” being their indie scene is pretty small and all their night clubs play the same generic, “DJ push play” music (with the exception of a new indie party called PopRock I had the pleasure of attending and enjoying very much). I am an objective writer however so those biased thoughts of g-ville were quickly expunged from my trained journalistic mind.

I must admit their electro funk style had my feet tapping the moment their music started playing. Their style is unique. I couldn’t really place it in a genre but you have to think of it as a mixture of Prince, Jamiroquai, and Stevie Wonder…..It’s pretty eclectic and fun to listen to, a good fit for The District crowd. The band wore matching pink track suits and headbands, making it the more enjoyable to watch as they jammed. The venue was full and the people were dancing, and bobbing their heads to the music. The set was held in the courtyard which is a nice change from your usual shows in a dark, sweaty local. Though their style of music doesn’t scream million dollar boy band success in our American Idol driven society, they can definitely scratch out a sizable niche and make themselves known.

Da Band:
Nick Robbins - Drums, Vocals
Timothy Deaux - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
Stanley Walker - Juno, Casiotone, Vocals
Alfredo Lapuz Jr. - Minimoog, Electro, Vocals - MiamiNights


"Local bands advance to top 50 in mtvU contest"

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 1:00 a.m.

SUNDAY IS THE LAST DAY TO VOTE ONLINE FOR THE BANDS

By ASHLEY PACK
Alligator Contributing Writer

Two bands from UF have made it to the semi-finals for the third annual mtvU Best Music on Campus contest after judges ranked them among the top 50 bands in the country.

The bands, March to May and Velveteen Pink, each had to submit three original songs as well as pictures and biographies.

The winner of the competition will get a record deal with Drive-Thru Records, which has an approximate retail value of $20,000, according to the official rules.

The first round had hundreds of applicants that a panel of judges narrowed down to 50. The second round, which will whittle the competition down to 25 artists, will be decided by votes from mtvU.com. The last day to vote is Sunday.

People can rate the bands on a scale of one to five, as many times as they want, so both bands are encouraging the support of UF students in their cause. If the bands make it through this round, they'll face three more before getting a deal.

"We hadn't anticipated going this far, so we are excited," said Tim Deaux, a UF art history graduate student in Velveteen Pink. "We are trying to get better as a band."

March to May sent out an e-mail to fans asking them to vote.

"It would be really gratifying to know people are interested in our music," said Michael Boynton, a sophomore in political science and history.

Boynton plays keyboard and does vocals for the band. The other members are Carl Nyberg, a microbiology sophomore who plays bass, Mike Pensky, a finance major who does back-up vocals and guitar, and Aubrey Way, a journalism sophomore who plays drums.

They entered the contest last year, but did not make it into the top 50. As for this year, they are hoping for the best but don't want to get their hopes up.

"It's not an easy business to make it in," Way said. "It takes a lot of luck and patience."

The second band, Velveteen Pink, has been together for about a year and has a pop sound that was influenced by Stevie Wonder, Prince and Midnight Star.

"I think we are different from other bands," said Stanley Walker, who plays keyboard. "I think that is a good thing."

The other members of the band are Alfredo Lapuz Jr., a computer engineering graduate who plays keyboard, Nick Robbins, a psychology major who plays drums, and Deaux, who plays guitar and bass. All of the members of the group perform vocals.

"We are hoping for the best," Deaux said. "This isn't going to make or break us."

To vote, visit bestmusiconcampus.com. - The Independent Florida Alligator


"Gainesville bands shoot for mtvU"

By ALICIA PEREZ

Special to The Sun

Two hot Gainesville bands - Velveteen Pink and March to May - have a shot at a record contract and a music video premiere on mtvU, the 24-hour music video network geared to universities nationwide.

And Gainesville devotees could help one of them win it.

The two groups were selected as quarter-finalists from more than 300 bands and will now battle it out with 48 other bands in an online music contest that allows listeners to vote for their favorites.

To vote, go to www.bestmusiconcampus.com.

University of Florida sophomore, Michael Boyton, lead singer and keyboarder for March To May, couldn't contain his excitement when he learned his indie band was among those selected as quarter finalists.

"I was on the fifth floor in the Marston Library when I checked my e-mail and read the word 'Congratulations,'" the 20-year-old said. "I was so excited I jumped up and shouted, 'Yes!' Everyone around me just looked at me as if they wanted to yell 'Shut up.'"

The "Best Music on Campus Contest" looks for college bands from all over the United States, profiles them on a Web site and the fans vote for their favorites, David French, mtvU spokesman said.

"We are really interested in finding a diverse lineup of talent on campus," French said. "We really want to demonstrate to the national audience the talent college musicians have."

Stanley Walker II of Velveteen Pink said he thinks the whole thing is pretty "cool."

Velveteen Pink - you can't miss them, the members wear matching pink jumpsuits at their shows - are a funk band featuring two keyboard players. Its sound is synthesizer pop with some punk.

Walker said he considers Velveteen Pink's brand of music, and March to May's for that matter, a plus in the contest.

"I looked at all the other contestants, and almost all of it is rock," said Walker who does vocals, synthesizes and keyboards for Velveteen Pink. "March to May and our band seem to be the only two bands that stick out, we are completely different from the others and from each other."

March to May is a piano-based indie rock band.

"We are indie rock, but much more melodic," Boyton said.

The members of both bands agree that there isn't any combativeness between them, just appreciation for each other's music, Boyton said.

"We are friends, and we have performed together," Boyton said.

In fact, both groups will be performing over the weekend in UF's Dance Marathon, the 32-hour fund-raiser for Children's Miracle Network.

"In the end if they win, then great and if we win, great. We will be happy with whatever outcome," he said.

Velveteen Pink and March to May must now wait to find out if they make the next cut. Online voting began Monday and will end Sunday, April 2 at midnight.

Boyton said he feels very confident about the band and wants to encourage the Gainesville community to vote for March To May because he appreciates everything the city has done for the band.

"I love Gainesville," he shyly said. "We want our fans to vote over and over and over again."

As for Velveteen Pink, the outcome of the contest will not stop their rising popularity they have achieved thus far, Walker said.

"We want people to vote for one of us," he said. "This isn't about who wins, but supporting the music scene in Gainesville. If one of us makes it, that would be the true prize because people would finally recognize the talent around here." - The Gainesville Sun


Discography

Velveteen Pink EP 2006

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

In only a year since the band's conception, Velveteen Pink has quickly created quite a buzz for themselves. Since winning the Gainesville Battle of the Bands competition in late 2005, the four-piece synth/pop group has not only been recognized by mtv, but has enjoyed the privilege of traveling and performing with such nationally acclaimed acts as The Whigs, Family Force 5, World Leader Pretend, and Hot Hot Heat. After gaining the attention of more than four million viewers at mtvu.com, Velveteen Pink has found its way to the ears of listeners around the country and into the Top Five of mtvU's "Best Band on Campus" Contest. Surprisingly, their success has occurred without having completed their first full-length album. While the young band has released their self-recorded/produced 5 song EP, Velveteen Pink has depended primarily upon the strength of their live performance. Be on the look-out for their studio debut sometime in 2007.

"Experiencing a Velveteen Pink show is like being wrapped up in a cotton-candy cloud with polyester lining that rains down platform shoes onto a dance floor crowded with angels wearing bell bottoms who won't let you leave until you have danced all night."
- Gainesville Sun:

In a popular music culture screaming for something to break the mold while remaining palatable, Velveteen Pink is bringing something very exciting to the table.
- Reax Music Magazine, Tampa:

mtvU's "Best Band on Campus" Top Five finalist 2006

2005 Gainesville Battle of the Bands First Place Winner

"Optimistic Love" in Top 5 of 2005 Breakthruradio.com.