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The SXSW 2010 Interview With…Codeine Velvet Club

Lyndsey Parker
Maximum Performance

A couple years ago, Scotland's Fratellis were one of the must-see bands at the Austin musicfest South By Southwest. And now in 2010, Fratellis frontman Jon Lawler (aka Jon Fratelli) is back in Texas, but this time he's returned to SXSW with his new cohort, chanteuse Lou Hickey, in his other project, Codeine Velvet Club.

Sounding extremely unlike the jaunty, Merseybeatish pub-pop of the Fratellis, CVC's ambitiously un-indie sound is lushly layered and film-noirish, evoking old Hollywood glamour, American gothic, and classic torch-singer jazz and R&B. While the Fratellis will eventually return from their hiatus, in the meantime it's refreshing to hear something so different and unexpected from Lawler, and his new duo's gigs at SXSW this week have been dreamy productions indeed.

I recently caught up with Jon and Lou backstage at the Austin Convention Center's Day Stage Café, where CVC did their best to transform their afternoon timeslot and fluorescent-lit conference-room setting into a wee-hours 1930s speakeasy (and they succeeded!). There--after girly-girl Lou and I bonded over off-camera chatting about Betsey Johnson handbags, Vivienne Westwood shoes, and Austin's fabulous vintage shopping--Jon, Lou, and I discussed CVC's distinctly American and old-school influences.

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