Velvet Trip is the psychedelic music project of Wiradjuri multi-instrumentalist Zeppelin Hamilton, performed live with Nick Savvas (Charlie Gradon), Clayton Allen (Julia Jacklin), and Sinj Clarke (Horror Show).
Born and raised in Byron Bay on Bundjalung country, Hamilton’s musically formative years were shaped by the blues musicians that were regular visitors to his family home. Robert Johnson descendant Super Chikan, Jimi Hendrix collaborator Ironing Board Sam, and Blues Hall-of-Famer Ardie Dean were some of the legends who befriended the Hamilton family over the years. They’d stop in at the house, mid-tour, and share pearls of wisdom with young Zepp, with jams starting in the
morning and overflowing into the night.
As a teenager the guitar-obsessed Hamilton would hitchhike to various jobs in the Northern Rivers area, taking whatever work he could get in order to save enough money to eventually move to Sydney and share his music with the wider world. He sold jeans, washed dishes, picked up acting gigs, delivered pizza, and modeled, while the desire to perform simmered within him.
After finally reaching the city, armed with little else other than his Stratocaster, Hamilton would meet band member Nick Savvas at a party and see the fruits of his labor begin to blossom in the form of Velvet Trip. Freeform jams, led by Hamilton’s smooth baritone vocals and wah-soaked guitar, gave their early live shows a transcendent feeling - as though Hendrix was still alive and howling.
Their debut EP ‘Velvet Trip & the Six Moon Skies’, which was recorded live at Parliament Studios in 2019 by Phan Sjarif, was a further indicator that the group had captured something special. The EP would go on to amass hundreds of thousands of streams thanks to Spotify’s ‘Blak Australia’ and ‘Original Storytellers’ playlists.
Heavy rotation on FBI radio and sold-out shows up and down the East Coast landed the band features in publications like RUSSH, Happy Mag, and LWA. Velvet Trip was extended an honorary invite to showcase Maton Guitars' historical display at Sydney's Powerhouse Museum and has further gained an endorsement deal with Fender.
Collaborations with other First Nations artists have seen Velvet Trip performing at the Sydney Opera house alongside Wiradjuri poet Jazz Money, and performing with Emily Wurramurra in the ABC series ‘Going Country’.
Despite suffering a devastating injury to his hand while skateboarding a year later which doctors told him would most likely mean the end of his guitar playing, Hamilton’s determination to create music remained unwavering. Gifted a MIDI keyboard by a friend, he began writing songs without his guitar for the first time, opening up a new portal of expression that sparked a musical avalanche.
Spending all of his savings on microphones and plug-ins, an inspired Hamilton converted the garage of his Northern Beaches house into a home studio and practically moved in there, calling upon housemate and band member Clayton Allen to bring the demo’s to life - recording ‘much better drums than Kyle, the Logic drummer’.
The resulting body of work is Velvet Trip’s debut album Electric Dreams. Slated for release in 2023, it delivers all of Velvet Trip’s magical psych-rock trimmings distilled with precision, forming a vessel of sonic delight that begs to be experienced.
Over the course of the 10 tracks co-produced by Hamilton and Sjarif, falsetto harmonies and ethereal melodies blend with shimmering synths, pushed forward by waves of potent energy.
With his hand healed and a lineup of Sydney’s highest caliber musicians by his side, those lucky enough to catch Velvet Trip live will be left spellbound.
What's next for Velvet Trip?
Catch them touring around Australia with their latest single ‘It’s Only Human’, supporting Parcels on their sold-out Australian tour in October, and performing original tracks on the Netflix series Heartbreak High 2022.
It’s onwards, upwards, and into the next dimension.