This week we caught up with dream-team duo, Hollie Irvine and Jo Dargie, co-owners of The Velvet Lounge and Studio situated in Perth to discuss their new live stream event, ‘Velvet Sessions’, the local electronic scene and what it’s like being the only female lead studio in Scotland. Have a read below now…
The new live stream event ‘Velvet sessions’ started last Saturday, what influenced you both to start it?
Hollie: “Jo was the main driver behind the initial concept. She wanted to bring in Jordan Murray to the studio to do a live stream. He’s up and coming in Fife, and she knows her stuff. The initial concept was to do a Friday night stream with just Jordan and kick off a series, especially because of lockdown. We thought this could be something people enjoy. Me, being me, woke up one morning and messaged Jo and said ‘well if we do it, we may as well go all out and get a whole bunch of folk involved. Let’s just do an all-dayer virtual festival type thing.’ Clubs are shut, we work closely with the team at Ice Factory and have been involved for a year now. So we brought the boys along and made it a much bigger event. A classic Hollie & Jo move. Always pushing to do more.”
Saturday’s event included some of the top DJs in Scotland from Fife and Perth… how would you describe the electronic scene in Scotland?
Jo: “I’d say it’s really promising at the moment. It’s definitely in a growth period. Major festivals such as FLY Open Air and Terminal V launching a few years back definitely helped to spur on a younger generation of folk who maybe hadn’t thought of getting behind the decks or hosting their own parties before. Scotland has a really strong grassroots scene across all genres, and electronic music in particular thrives in that local supportive network. There’s some really cool DJs and producers playing local club nights who I can see going really far in a couple years once they’ve got that momentum behind them.”
There was a great mix of talent within the lineup for saturday’s event, from house to techno, who were your personal highlights?
Hollie: “I love them all. Seeing Jordan for the first time was great, and he was a great sport. However, there wasn’t one specific highlight I don’t think. Every DJ was brilliant in their own way. DJCJ filled in for us at the last minute and I am a BIG fan of Craig’s (DJCJ) releases. I had been listening to him before I realised we actually went to school together so when he came to fill in I was absolutely buzzing (sorry Kyle). Connor (Voyage) and Mark & Mike (Groovement) were excellent too. I love those guys, I am a big fan and it was great to hear them in an intimate setting rather than in a club. I think that was the highlight, rather than one specific artist just seeing them all in our studio, playing for what felt like just us, and a few pals, that was the best part. It was such a proud moment for us and I’m sure for them too!”
You are both owners of the studio… How does it feel to be the only female lead studio in Scotland?
Hollie: “Are we?! Haha. Nah, it’s really brilliant actually. Tough at times, with an industry predominantly led and owned by blokes. But everyone we work with really respects us, I think, and it’s a huge achievement. Even if the only song I can play on the piano is ‘Let It Be’ People value our input and the folk we work with generally trust us and let us lead the show. I hope it doesn’t define us, we want to be more than that but I hope we inspire other women to lead their own businesses in the Scottish music industry”
Jo: “Yeah, It wasn’t intentional. We didn’t even realise until a while after we came on board but I think it’s definitely a positive thing. You get so much more out of having a mixed team, that goes for backgrounds, skills etc. We have a really good mix of people driving the studio forward.
Saturday’s event was just the start of a series of Velvet Live Sessions, what can fans expect for future live stream events?
Jo: “Genre-wise, there’s no rhyme or rhythm to the series. Each stream that we host will change to cover a bit of everything. We’ll always strive to support local talent across Scotland. That’s really important to us. For me personally, if your tunes are good – be it indie, electronic or something super obscure, and you’re not an arsehole to work with. Then I’m open to chat!”
Will the studio just be based on electronic musicians / producers or are you hoping to have a wide range of bands recording in the studio?
Jo: “Bringing DJs into the studio was actually a new concept for the space. The studio has a huge history of indie and folk music and some urban stuff too. So, the stream having an all electronic line-up hopefully put us out there to other DJs and producers that we cater to all genres.”
What plans do you have for the future in regards to the studio?
Hollie: “I wish I had a set in stone answer for this but every time Jo and I have a meeting we diversify even more. Photoshoots & film shoots, more live streams hopefully and lots of different genres. We want to, of course, be Scotland’s biggest and best recording studio. With us at the helm, I don’t see that being too much of a challenge.”
Find out more about The Velvet Lounge & Studio…