Recently named ‘Best Alternative Artist’ at the 2022 Aotearoa Music Awards, Wellington-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Vera Ellen has announced her upcoming album, Ideal Home Noise, which is out digitally and on both red or black vinyl on Friday March 31st, 2023 via Flying Nun Records - and pressed locally at Holiday Records.
PRE-ORDER THE ALBUM HERE.
Alongside the new album announcement, Vera has shared the first single from the album, ‘Carpenter’ with a Sports Team directed video — plus, Vera Ellen and her band will take to the road on album release for a four-date tour of Aotearoa, playing headline shows in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. Tickets onsale now from Banished Music.
Ideal Home Noise is a record unearthed from much introspection and an attempt to find some comedy and lightness in an otherwise dark period for Vera Ellen. With two "voices” battling throughout the album, the instrumentation is sometimes light — featuring synths and electronic drums — and sometimes heavy — with ballad-like piano and raw vocals.
After the critical success of her 2021 album, It’s Your Birthday — which earned the artist both the ‘Best Alternative Artist’ award at the 2022 AMA’s as well as a 2022 Taite Award nomination — Vera’s momentum is unstoppable with her new 13 track album raring to go. “If It's Your Birthday was about relationships and love and strife between myself and others; then Ideal Home Noise is about love and strife between myself and myself.“.
The record was tracked at Wellington studio, The Surgery, with the talented multi-instrumentalist Ben Lemi (of Trinity Roots, French For Rabbits and Dawn Diver fame) on production and engineering duties. “Ben helped bring the record to life from my initial demos in a very organic way” says Vera.
Of the new single from the album, ‘Carpenter’ Vera has said “We are all quietly fighting our own battles. There is a feeling I get about having to fight them alone, keeping them close to my chest in shame. But I think we really all need to learn how to lean on each other. We would be more compassionate people, if we had the slightest window into someone else's experience; their pain, their fear, their life. Carpenter is inspired by that. It's a desperate cry, but there's a triumph in being able to ask for help.”
The ‘Carpenter’ music video is the first in a series of three; and introduces Vera Ellen in a vampiric youth-sucking role. All three videos in this series will be directed and produced by prolific film-makers, Sports Team.
About the video, Annabel Kean of Sports Team has said "It's been a total dream working with Vera Ellen and the band on the visuals for their new music. Sports Team are massive Vera Ellen fans (I was the person crying tears of joy when they opened for Marlon Williams at The Civic last month) and have been hankering to do a music video series for an artist for ages. Please enjoy our ode to Near Dark (1987) in the clip for 'Carpenter' - we hope it leaves you confused enough to want to see what happens next, but not so confused that you feel like you've just watched Tenet (2020) for the first time."
Also featured on the upcoming album, is the recently released ‘Homewrecker’ single - which was named one of Radio New Zealand’s Best Singles of 2022. The video for ‘Homewrecker’ sees Vera cheerfully crooning amongst a cast of gorgeous models, despite the bleak and introspective undertones of the song's lyrics.
On the name of the upcoming album, Ideal Home Noise, Vera explains that she came across the phrase in a book, while house-sitting a Malibu property formerly occupied by The Beach Boys. Since then, the words have been recycled through various notebooks and phone apps, somehow remaining in the artist’s subconscious all these years later.
In a very personal statement about Ideal Home Noise, Vera Ellen has summarised “My songs have been my friends, my lovers, my enemies. I have been their biggest critic and fan and they have been mine. And as for this album, you will hear my pain up close, but you can take comfort knowing I wouldn't trade it for the world. So here we go, to another album. One of many more (I hope).”
Ideal Home Noise is out digitally and on both red or black vinyl on Friday March 31st, 2023 via Flying Nun Records.
We had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Vera to discuss the new album and her relationship with vinyl. Catch is below.
Tell us a bit about yourself - Where are you from? How did you get into music? Who are your favourite artists?
My name is Vera Ellen. I grew up in Naenae, Lower Hutt and spent a brief time in Llanrug, Wales. My family is really big so I was around a lot of chaos and noise. Culturally we were raised very Polish and singing into the early hours was a staple of our family get-togethers. I was writing songs by the time I was 11/12 and entering into competitions, playing in the school band and what not. I felt emotions very deep and it was my way of processing. To this day, I tend to have no idea how I feel until I have a song about it.
I almost can’t bear the question because it will exclude so many artists I love. I think in general my biggest influences are songwriters who’s back catalog spans decades and who don’t play it safe/aren't afraid to experiment.
One of my discoveries of the last year is Dengue Fever.
Tell us a bit about the album - What were some of the inspirations behind its creation/of the album itself?
The album is called Ideal Home Noise. I wrote most of it in my last few months in America before moving back here (and some of it in quarantine.) It’s an album of great introspection written in a heavily depressive and existential spell. It’s a record about self doubt and processing pain but I’m also poking fun at myself. Like crying into a mirror and realising how dumb you look so you burst into laughter instead.
Tell us about the album artwork - What was the inspiration? Who is the artist/photographer?
My brother Albert River took the photo, we were wandering around the area we both grew up in and he took a few photos. In all honesty I was not wanting my face to be in them so I was sort of hiding. The pictures that made the front and back ended up capturing the feeling of the record on multiple levels. I worked with Tom Shackleton to design the layout. One night in his studio we probably painted ‘Ideal Home Noise’ about 50 times before coming up with the right one.
Tell us why you chose to press it to vinyl - What do vinyl records mean to you? Why did you choose Holiday Records? Any reasons behind the colour vinyl choice?
I work in a record store so I’m surrounded by vinyl everyday. I think there is an entire culture around vinyl listening that centres on having a focused and high quality music experience.
It’s one of the only spaces in music that really allows for long form listening and is an activity in itself that demands your attention for the length of the record. As an artist that’s really exciting to me, to think someone might sit and listen to the record and notice all the subtle details. I chose red because it’s the color of passion!
Any upcoming gigs we can plug?
Ideal Home Noise Tour!
31st March - Dive in Dunedin w /Riot Gull
1 April - Wunderbar, Christchurch w/ Pickle Darling
14th April - Whammy, Auckland w/ Wellness
15th April - San Fran, Wellington w/ Rachie Andie
Buy tickets so I don’t go broke bringing my 6 piece band around the joint!
BUY TICKETS HERE.