Valise have had an interesting year. They've released Young Bloomer, done a headlining tour surrounding the record, and tour with Macy Gray (yes, THE Macy Gray) to name a few. In addition, their most recent endeavor involves them releasing the music video for their song "Clover". I spoke with the guys about the recording process for Young Bloomer, touring with Macy Gray, and more.
Can you talk a little bit about the music video that you guys just released?
Yeah! We just released a music video for our new song “Clover”. It’s basically a performance video. If you have seen one of the other music videos we did, called “Charlie Gray”, it’s kind of like a montage of footage from this happy relationship. Based on the lyrics of that song, you’re supposed to connect that things didn’t go well with the on-screen relationship. With filming that, we had a bunch of extra footage. We decided to use some of that footage to project over our bodies performing, and add a full-circle effect on the two videos. It’s actually footage from the same trip. It’s kind of hard to tell, but we thought it was special and made it more cohesive.
Can you talk a little bit about the concept for the music video itself?
(Pauses) Let’s see. It’s kind of a performance video. I think it was just kind of a continuation of the “Charlie Gray” video. I’m trying to think of a more meaningful way to put it, but we really just wanted to get into a room and have a video where people saw us performing. I think, connecting the two videos together just kind of tied the story of those two songs, lyrically, together. For some people that are really interested in the band and take that time to notice, they might get a full experience of this relationship. Both songs are two entirely different aspects of a relationship that people will encounter.
You were direct support for Macy Gray on her recent tour this past fall. How did that initially come about?
It was just as crazy to us as it sounds to you! Our booking agent pitched it to us. We were all like scratching our heads, thinking, “is she still around?” (laughs) But we saw that she released some new stuff, and I think she’s trying to do an indie kind of thing. We were like, “absolutely”. She’s won a Grammy, we could learn a lot from her. Plus she was in “Training Day”, so we could ask her what Denzel Washington was like in person. (laughs)
Even though this was released back in the spring, I wanted to talk a little bit about Young Bloomer. Since this was your guys’ debut album, what was it that, after going through the entire writing process, you were able to walk away with experience-wise?
The recording process for this album was monumental for us. We probably spent like a true six months in the studio, hashing and rehashing things. The one line that stands out to me that our producer Matt Wilbur said to me was [in the middle of a song], “so do you think this is as good as Coldplay or Phoenix, or Death Cab For Cutie? Do you feel like this in on par with those bands?” Your first instinct is to say, “of course not!” Those guys are legendary. But he was like, “well, if it’s not, then what are you even doing? What’s the point? Those guys believe in what they’re doing. They think it’s that good. Let’s get it to where we feel like it’s that good, because we can.” That’s what essentially ended up taking things forever, because we just tried everything.
I think that now, we’ll be a lot more efficient at doing things. We explored the studio to the fullest extent. I think we’re all just a lot better writers and a lot more democratic in the process. Making your first debut album can be pretty daunting, especially when you have four dudes with totally different opinions and totally different musical influences. You get into a room, and then everyone is fighting over which drum part should go where, stuff like that. We kind of realized that if you just allow it to be this mashup of all of our desires, it ends up being something a lot more special than you would think.
What kind of message, if any, would you like fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
Sometimes, I feel silly trying to be overly earnest, and being like, “we have a totally unique perspective on things!” Because a lot of it is just relationships, growing up, and shit that you have to go through. But I think one of the things that I think inspires us to write and continue being in a band is this concept of not being a niche band.
I think, right now, the way I see it, is everybody really likes to know what they’re getting into beforehand. You want the media that you take in to just be very obvious. People want to be like, “oh! Mumford and Sons! They’re wearing the overalls, I get this.” You know what I’m saying? I think that we kind of wanted to push back against that. And no offense to Mumford and Sons or anything like that, but we just didn’t really want to be known for that sound.
I feel like Arcade Fire does it really well; they can almost do anything. They have the license to put anything on a record, and people will go, “this is genius!” I think we just want the freedom to do whatever we want, and for people to be excited about that. I don’t know that we have an overall theme to inspire people, but I do think that, and this is the worst way to put it, but we’re not trying to be the next “hipster” band, or the next “phase”. We’re just aspiring to be really broad, if that makes sense.
What does music mean to you?
I have deaf parents. Growing up, music was like this totally exclusive thing that I had to myself. It was nothing that I could even, like, explain to them. My family would listen to music with me anyway, but I had free reign to listen to whatever I wanted as a kid. I think that, just through that independence with music, they put a piano in front of me, I just started playing and writing music at seven years old. Terrible music, but still… I was trying to write my own stuff.
There’s something special to me about my parents not being able to experience that, and then me getting to live that out and be passionate about it. To have them come to a show and be supportive…it’s a very rewarding experience. Growing up with deaf parents is definitely a challenge. There’s some silver lining, and I think that music is one of them.
For more music from Valise, visit www.facebook.com/valisemusic
This has been another Shameless Promotion.