Music News

Black Keys Frontman Dan Auerbach Produced the Next Velveteers LP

The Velveteers' fall album, Nightmare Daydream, was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys.
The Velveteers' fall album, Nightmare Daydream, was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. Ivey Peacock
Prior to the pandemic, the members of the Velveteers — a heavy-hitting, two-drummer, three-piece rock band — were soaring sky high. Their music was thrilling, and their live shows some of the sweatiest and heaviest in Denver. They secured multiple slots at the Underground Music Showcase, a Bluebird Theatre gig, management from local powerhouse 7S Management, and tours in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

Then in 2020, they went mostly silent. Publicly.

Behind the scenes, though, bandmates Demi Demitro, Baby Pottersmith and Jonny Fig were laying the groundwork for a new record.

Just before COVID-19 upended the music industry, "We were just sitting on our couch one day and got a call from our manager that Dan Auerbach saw videos of us on Youtube, and he wanted us to come to Nashville and hang out with him," recalls Demitro.

Auerbach, frontman for popular blues-rock duo The Black Keys, has produced major albums for Cage the Elephant, Ray LaMontagne, Yola, Lana Del Ray and many more.

How did a scrappy, young Denver band like the Velveteers catch the attention of such a Nashville-based giant?

"What we recently learned," says Pottersmith, "was Dan heard us and watched a video of us and said, 'Go find them.'"

Within two weeks, they'd been found and flew to Nashville, where they met Auerbach at his studio and realized he wanted to produce their next record.

Why the Velveteers?

"I instantly dug them,” explains Auerbach. “They’re amazing live, and their videos are so creative. And they just sound so powerful. Any time you doubletrack drums on a record, it’s going to sound so heavy. Then you put that together with this baritone guitar player who is so unique, and it’s so bombastic. There’s nothing like them.”

At first, COVID-19 bungled the recording plans, and the bandmates feared the collaboration had fallen through. But soon they were back in Nashville, recording.

"It was really all surreal getting to go to Nashville, and working with Dan was really special," says Demitro. "Dan was such an amazing producer. We were all really nervous. We’ve never worked with a producer before, let alone Dan Auerbach."

On July 9, the Velveteers dropped the first track off the new album, Nightmare Daydream, slated to come out October 8 on Auerbach's label Easy Eye Sound. The release will be followed by a headlining slot at the Gothic Theatre, a feather in the camp of any local band.

The new song, "Charmer and the Snake," is a retro rock take on an even older theme: being stuck in a relationship with a toxic, yet charming, person. It has all the passion of the Velveteers' prior work, along with Auerbach's polish that only reinforces the act's gritty sound. It's a hell of a reboot on classic rock, a headbanging track with a Demitro guitar hook that's as catchy as it is jostling.

As the band gears up to release the album, its members are focusing on building up their music careers as they scrape together money however they can. Fig is working at a car wash, and Demitro and Pottersmith, who are laboring full-time on Velveteers business, are collecting a little extra cash as test subjects for a CBD/THC- infused drink.

The same day they dropped the album, they had their blood drawn for tests. So far, they're not suffering any real side effects.

"We felt a little crazy when we announced the album," admits Pottersmith.

But who wouldn't?

Follow The Velveteers on social media, and pre-order the record online.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris