Lower Hutt-born musician Vera Ellen Williams is about to get her own first album release with Flying Nun, and it seems she has getting stuck in Wellington due to Covid, while promoting her Los Angeles-based feminist collective Girl Friday‘s album, to thank. Gaol Bait and Maple Syrup are among her previous Kiwi bands, and the multi-instrumentalist has become a prolific songwriter since. NZ On Air Music took a shine to her album’s first single YOU!, a vivaciously simple yet hooky tale of unrequited love, including it on their NewTracks compilation this July.
I go by Vera Ellen. I grew up in Naenae, Lower Hutt. Primarily guitar and bass, and my vocal cords I suppose.
My “musical training” could be attributed to playing a bunch of shows to 2-4 people. I am always in training. Life is training!
Maple Syrup, Girl Friday, Sweater, Gaol Bait
Vera Ellen is just me. So in that sense, it would date back to my first song which I wrote for my mum on mothers, using the only two chords I knew. I was about 8/9 years old? Or perhaps when I played around with Garageband for the first time around 15.
I have some wonderful people who played on the album and in my live set, like my brother Albert River, the wonderful Ben Lemi and Samuel Austin whose dad, Mark Austin, produced the record.
My own delve into music and what I admire about the craft of songwriting has evolved. What I constitute as a good song, what I am drawn to lyric and sonically. In my mind, I am nowhere near the point as an artist I know I can be, and that point will only get further away as I get older. The impossible unreachable self-imposed standard.
My album ‘Beat Yr Name’ which I self-released in 2018. I pushed my own boundaries sonically for that record and trusted myself to produce it. I also had a lot of fun doing it.
It’s a fun tune.
It’s about the frustration of wanting something complicated to be simple.
I love playing the bass in that song. The bridge in particular has a fun bass line.
Mark Austin produced the single. We recorded it between Pyramid Club and Mark’s home studio. I wrote it a year or so before recording it and demoed the whole thing out myself. I might release the demo one day.
You can’t always get what you want.
Mark Austin, Flying Nun.
Girl Friday – we just put out an A/B – watch this space.
Myself and my friend Samuel made the video. Starring my friend from high school. We had a blast making it.
May the best dream win.