After months of gruelling band battles, stage shows, fan voting and judging panels, Black Velvet have made it to the London Finals of Surface Fest 2012.

The band won the regional Scottish finals at the G2 in Glasgow last Saturday (8th September). I sat down with Lead Guitarist, James Bird to get his thoughts on their recent success and how they plan to make their London performance the most show stopping event of their young lives.

How does it feel to have reached the London finals of Surface Fest 2012?

It simply feels amazing!. Although it is a final of a pretty big competition, it’s more the fact that we’re playing the O2 in London! I’ve always loved O2 Glasgow and thought what an awsome place to play at; you can feel the bass drum go right through you. However heading straight for London’s O2 is even more crazy! I personally feel very proud. I’ve played guitar since I was 9 and feel like this is what I am supposed to do.

When you first entered, did you ever think you would make it this far?

We didn’t even think we would get through round 1 let alone to London!! We’ve only been a band for a year so it’s come as a massive shock!  No matter how good or bad someone’s band may be, in this competition what matters is how many people you know and can get to vote for you until the judges decide at the semi-finals & final. That was our weakness because we know a very small amount of people compared to most of these bands that have been in the competition.

How do you plan to make this last performance bigger and better than anything you’ve done before?

Well, we’re far from being a professional band but I definitely think that there is a lot of potentialfor us, especially with us being so young. We’re having a LOT of band meetings to discuss what we can do better  to top every other “Surface Fest” gig we’ve done so far. We’ll be rehearsing a lot in the next 3 weeks. We’re planning and planning and even if we don’t win, our goal is to impress people and show our potential.

How do you expect things will change for Black Velvet?
                                                                                                                                                    Things will change without a doubt. It’s our passion so having had this experience things will become a lot more serious for us but without losing the enjoyment and fun we have whilst doing it. Rehearsals will increase and things will start working around the band rather than the band being worked around things.It sounds as though we’re about to become a prison lock down but its not that at all. We’ll just take steps in order to become as professional as possible.

How has the whole “Surface Fest” experience changed you guys as a band?

As a band we have became more of a unit, we take the time to look at ourselves and constantly discuss what can we do to be better. It’s given us a drive to go on and make something of ourselves. For me personally, my song writing skills have improved. Over the course of “Surface” I’ve written two new songs, ‘Broken Son’ & ‘I Am Alive’ which we consider to be our best. Adams bass playing has improved along with his musicianship and Sean’s drumming is working more with the songs rather than just playing simple beats. Scott’s vocals are starting to make the rest of us look bad! He has an incredible, natural rock voice especially for being just 18. His voice is the perfect icing on the cake for my songs. Scott plays rhythm guitar which makes us sound bigger and heavier. Everyone is getting better and better!

Why should people vote for Black Velvet?

People should vote for Black Velvet because we’re a fresh, young, real and unique heavy rock band. I still haven’t came across a band in Glasgow that sounds like us. We have a good attitude and just love what we do and want to do it for the long term. People should give us chance to prove ourselves. If I wasn’t in this band I would definitely be a fan of it because I would see that it’s just a genuine group of guys playing good music to a good standard without trying to be someone else.

What would you like to say to all the fans who have supported you thus far?

I would like to say thank you so very much! Its great to see people taking an interest in us, it will never be forgotten. I’m very proud of the level we are at so far it would be nothing without the support we’ve had. Expect more to come!

Black Velvet will be performing at the London O2 on the 25th of September in the Grand Final of “Surface Fest 2012”.