MEB staffer Austin Gordon recently caught up with the guys of Denton TX indie-rock outfit Valise to discuss their experiences recording their Dreamcatcher EP, their upcoming new full-length record, brotherly love, and more.
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MEB: How did the line-up of you guys assimilate together?
Vince: It actually started off in the studio, we didn’t think we were going to be a band until we recorded these songs. Then afterwards, we were like “we have to do something with this”, and so from then on we decided to be Valise.
Tell me about your practice sessions, how do things usually come together when a new song is being formed? Is there a usual sort of “schedule” or is it relatively freeform?
Jared: Usually what will happen is Vince will come up with the bare bones of a song, or he’ll have a riff or an idea. He’ll show it to us at practice, we’ll start fleshing stuff out. Over the course of a few practices we’ll get the basics of a song written. As far as practicing goes, we either go to Casey’s house or my house, just set up in a room, and go for it.
Casey: Make some noises.
Pretty much throw down, right?
Tell me about recording with Matt Wilbur of The Vanguard Room and the whole process itself.
Ricky: He’s the worst (laughs). It was awesome. We went down to Lakeland to do this, several of us were really excited because Matt’s partner is Aaron Marsh and we were big fans of Copeland, and we had heard of Woodale, which was Matt’s old band. They had some success in the southeast. We got down there, and none of us really knew Matt. I feel like from the first 10 minutes we were there, it was just like we had been friends for a long time, over some biscuits and gravy (laughs). It was fun. We all went in there with specific ideas with what we wanted on certain parts, things here and there. We had this idea that these songs were set, we had figured we had thought about everything. He brought so much to the table, like “what about this”? Really quality stuff that helped shape these songs up. It was a really good experience, it was really fun.
Do you plan on recording with him again or is there someone else in mind for the full-length?
Casey: We definitely plan on working with Matt again, for at least the next full-length. We’re just so pleased with how the EP came out, I feel like it’d be silly to stop what we have now. In the future for future albums, we’re all open to working with different producers and getting different sounds. For right now, definitely Matt, definitely Vanguard Room.
I can definitely agree with that. Was there a general theme underlying the Dreamcatcher EP?
Vince: I can’t say that there was a general theme, there was just a few songs that I had written and once we got them all together they just cohesively matched up.
Casey: I feel like that’s where Matt came in, we blended them all together and gave them a theme.
Casey: Yeah, yeah.
When thinking about the next record, what sort of elements are you working towards? Maybe more experimentalism or just further developing your sound?
Vince: In one of our newer songs, it’s called “Monster”, we’ve already experimented with some trumpet in it. As far as the full-length goes, I think we’re just trying to better what we did on the EP, and we’re just trying to get a little more dynamic with the songs. At least for me.
Casey: I definitely feel like the 4 of us are just growing as people, and we’re getting a lot closer to each other, and becoming better friends. And because of that naturally, we feel more comfortable with each other and we feel more comfortable with trying new things.
Ricky: I think naturally as artists, we want to progress and constantly be doing something better than what we were doing before. Constantly just growing musically, bigger than the last record, softer than the last record, faster and slower, everything in between. Continue growing as a unit.
That’s exactly what you’re wanting to do. Stay cohesive, stay tight, and further move. Keep exploring. What sort of topics do you guys plan to cover on the record?
Vince: I don’t really just choose a topic, usually it’s kinda just whatever hits me.
Casey: The topics choose us (laughs).
Vince: Yeah, I never thought Dreamcatcher would be what it was beforehand and it just came out. I definitely think the Dreamcatcher EP has a little bit of a different feel for each song lyrically, and I think I’ll continue that on the full-length.
Can we expect a possible release time later this year, maybe next year?
Casey: December 21st, 2012 (laughs).
Vince: There’s no way we can know.
Jared: We have no idea. We haven’t even set any date for recording a full-length yet. So there’s not really any way to tell.
Casey: As soon as we finish it.
Probably more or so next year?
Ricky: It’ll definitely be a 2013 release date.
Where do you draw your music and style of songwriting influences from? Any major, particular people?
Vince: I think it’s fair to say that each of us have a completely different taste in music. We all have the same appreciation for similar bands. For me, I’ve listed As Tall as Lions, and some Death Cab for Cutie, as a bit of an influence for me.
Ricky: I grew up listening to Stevie Ray Vaughn, and a lot of blues; Robert Cray, stuff like that. I was always a big Copeland fan. Just, so many different areas of music.
Casey: God, I like a lot of stuff. Radiohead, Bjork, Portishead, Tool, I love what Puscifer is doing; I love everything that Maynard does. The Flaming Lips.
Ricky: Casey can go all day (laughs).
I knew Radiohead was coming!
Casey: They’re just the greatest (laughs).
Jared: I’ll listen to anything that can catch my attention, really. Favorite bands have to be Thrice and The Dear Hunter. I listen to them a lot.
The Dear Hunter, yes finally! I was waiting for that. Oh my god, amazing. You guys have a very varied style, but it all comes together in a way in the root. All the music just blends, and that’s what makes your music blend so well. So looking at the future, what is definitely next for Valise? Give me a large goal collectively.
Vince: We’re just gonna try to tour as much as possible. I think we owe it to ourselves to get this EP in as many hands as we can, and from there it’s pretty much just taking over the world (laughs).
Just going all out on the planet.
Ricky: We just wanna keep making music, because we love hanging out with each other and the music we write with each other. We love what we do.
Casey: And we love each other, as long as we stay true to that.
Ah man, he’s splurging right now (laughs). Any last words for the fans?
Vince: Come see us at a show.
Ricky: Buy our record.
Casey: Give us all of your money.
Ricky: Tell your friends (laughs).
Jared: On a serious note, we all just want to say a big collective thank you to everyone that’s supporting us though, because you can’t do anything without people supporting you.
Thanks so much guys! Make sure to go check them out!