Interview: Saints of Valory
Thu, 16 Jan 2014 10:40:20
Saints of Valory churn out alternative music worthy of reverence on Possibilities [iTunes link]. Boasting international pedigree and serious songwriting chops, the Austin-based outfit channel Muse-size scope into delightfully catchy hooks with the right amount of indie panache. It's a good possibility, they'll be your favorite band soon.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Gavin Jasper and Godfrey Thomson of Saints of Valory discuss Possibilities and so much more.
Did you approach Possibilities with one vibe or vision in mind?
Gavin Jasper: Well, we were like, "How do we introduce this record?" We recorded the entire album, and we have the scope of the whole thing. However, we wondered how we could introduce everyone to it with just four songs. We wanted to keep it upbeat. It starts with "Kids", which is a more anthemic song. You have "Neon Eyes". I think it's a good introduction.
Is it important for the music to be visual?
Godfrey Thomson: That's the first time we've heard a comment like that, and it's interesting you would say that. I don't think it's deliberate or something we think about, but if that comes through that way, that's awesome.
How does a song start for Saints of Valory?
Gavin Johnson: I think it's cool you asked about the visuals and the cinematic theme. We write about life. We write about what we're going through. It's an extension of our personalities. It's cool when someone connects with the lyrics and the songs. It's like they interpret it into their lives because it's like a story.
Godfrey Thomson: As far as the songs being different, that might be credited to the fact that we all come from different places. We're a real international band. Everyone brings with him a slightly different flavor from his part of the world. Together, that makes up what Saints of Valory is. You can tell each song shows attention to a little more of one influence than another, while a different song touches on something else. You get a totally well-rounded record that goes on a journey, if you will.
What's the story behind "Back Up"?
Gavin Jasper: When we first got signed to Atlantic Records, we rented this really cool adobe-like house by the lake here in Austin, TX. We wrote for about ten days. The song really talks about what we were going through. It's a tough time when you're in that middle area of being an independent band and doing everything yourself and just hitting the road on your own. All of a sudden, you have that backup from the label. It was an interesting time. It definitely was inspiring for us. That's where that song came from. It's a song for risk takers. Life is a fight, and it's about how you get back up and keep going. The most important thing is to keep going.
Where did "Long Time Coming" originate from?
Godfrey Thomson: We'd been talking about writing something with a Brazilian flavor to it because most of us in the band have spent quite a lot of time there and Gavin is from Brazil. I lived there for about fifteen years. Stephen [Buckle] was there for about fourteen years. We all have that in our blood. One day, I sat down in my workstation in my bedroom and came up with that beat and guitar riff. I sent it to Gavin. He flipped out about it and wrote a whole melody and lyrics to that. The next day, we all met back in my bedroom and finished the whole song. The actually recording you hear now is fifty or sixty percent the demo. We imported all of those files and the drum beat. We added some other things in the studio, and that's what you hear.
What else inspires you?
Gavin Jasper: I'm addicted to watching live gigs and listening to a lot of music. I'm happy someone invented YouTube for the whole world to go on and see all types of weird shows. It's even watching the camera work from someone else's point of view in the crowd is inspiring.
Godfrey Thomson: For me, it's about finding time to stop what I'm doing, pick up my guitar, and just write. Inspiration comes that way. It flows out of you.
What artists shaped you?
Godfrey Thomson: My parents were a bit strict, and I was sort of sheltered in that way. Once I started rebelling, I began finding things I wanted to listen to. I know it's weird, but when I was really young, I listened to a lot of classical music or instrumental music. As far as music we bonded over, I remember us all discovering Phoenix a couple years ago. We found MUTEMATH and Sigur Rós. Kings of Leon was coming out around then. We were like, "That's pretty cool!" There was also Muse. If I had to pick bands we all collectively agree on, maybe Oasis…I remember we all dug The Temper Trap's first album a lot.
Gavin Jasper: Everyone has different things he gravitates to. It can change.
Have you heard Saints of Valory?