Valencia Talk "Dancing with a Ghost"
Mon, 11 Oct 2010 12:36:29
Valencia's newest album, Dancing with a Ghost, is haunted with some of the catchiest melodies to come down the pike in ages.
Mixing a punk-y spirit with infectious hooks, Valencia conjures up some dreamy pop rock jams that never fail to take flight. "Dancing with a Ghost" rolls on a sweet refrain and danceable beat, while "Consider Me Dead" is vibrantly theatrical and simultaneously filled with a healthy dose of attitude. Valencia have crafted an enticing and often entrancing rock album that'll stay etched in your head.
Valencia singer Shane Henderson and guitarist Brendan Walter sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about Dancing with a Ghost, Catcher in the Rye's influence and so much more.
Be sure to pick up Dancing with a Ghost when it drops on October 12, 2010.
Did you approach the album with one singular vision for all the songs?
Shane Henderson: The tracklisting came about after we got done recording. However, the entire record was somewhat written with a vision of keeping the same theme and a similar message throughout.
Brendan Walter: Without thinking about it, sometimes you make music that's better than if you had thought too much about it. That's what we wanted to do.
There's a natural urgency to the music.
Brendan Walter: We always try for something that's passionate, urgent and exciting. In each song, we want to do that. When you do that, it creates an album that feels right overall.
What's the story behind "Consider Me Dead?"
Brendan Walter: That's a song that Dan [Pawlovich, drums] had a fully fleshed-out idea for. He'd been sitting on it forever. We used to carpool to practice together, and he'd show me his old demos. He showed me that "Consider Me Dead," and I was like, "This is unreal. We have to work on this!" At practice, we all started pumping into it. Shane put all of these different melodies and lyrics to it, and the song really flowed. It's just an idea that we couldn't pass it up. It's something new for us, and it's very interesting.
Shane Henderson: It's an awesome idea that Dan had. We worked on it together, and it ended being what it is.
Brendan Walter: It was actually supposed to be the last track on the album. However, a last minute audible was called, and it was thrown in the middle. I think it works really perfectly.
Where did the concept for the "Dancing with a Ghost" video come from?
Shane Henderson: We actually got a treatment from the director Shane Nelson. We liked it so much that we were willing to drive out to Minnesota right before we started tour. We had four days to drive out there, do the video and get back. We literally started the tour the next day after we got home. It's quite exhilarating to say the least. It's definitely our favorite video we've done so far. The concept takes you through these different eras—the '20s, '50s, '70s and '80s. We've got dancers in it, awesome lights and we're all dressed up. We're looking stud-like [Laughs].
Brendan Walter: My favorite part of the video is it's one shot. We ended up having to do twenty takes to make sure we got it right. It starts off in the 20s. Then, we have to change clothes real quick and go to the '50s. Someone else is in the '70s, and we're running around like crazy [Laughs]. It's not a fake one-shot where everything is edited together. We had to do it tons of times in order to get it right.
Shane Henderson: This was the first time I was able to settle into a music video and have a lot of fun doing it. I think it was because the video was one take. There was a continuous flow of improv, and it was fun all around for everybody.
If Dancing with a Ghost were a movie or a combination of movies, what would it be?
Brendan Walter: That's a good one! It's definitely a coming-of-age story. If it were a book, I'd say it be like Catcher in the Rye-type story. It's about getting out of your past and moving into who you want to be. I can't think of a movie that encapsulates it that well. Catcher in the Rye is definitely a starting point. Reading is something we try to do. It's important. Our name came from Slaughterhouse Five. It's one of my favorite books of all-time. His wife's name is Valencia in the book, and she's this obese annoying lady. He's making fun of her all the time. It's another place literature comes into our band.
Shane Henderson: "Dancing with a Ghost" is a metaphor for fighting your old tendencies and trying to become a better person through changing your old ways. It's about changing the things you don't like about yourself and growing. That's what the record's about. It's change for the better. You're taking a look at where you were and where you are at the moment. You're also appreciating the process that you took to get where you stand now, hoping you're a better person.
Who came up with the concept for the cover art?
Brendan Walter: We knew what the album meant to us. It couldn't be a faded picture of someone dancing though; it had to be something more in-depth and thought-out. The imagery of a lion and a kid sleeping is so powerful. It encapsulates what we were thinking of in terms of the title in a different way.
Which artists shaped you guys?
Shane Henderson: We're big music fans. Our taste goes pretty deep. I'm a huge fan of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty. We all love the classic artists. Then, we also love Jimmy Eat World, Green Day and Blink-182. Those were bands we grew up on and they shaped who we are and why we got in this business, in the first place. On this record, it was a combination of all those things we'd been listening to all our lives. Third Eye Blind wouldn't be too out-of-this-world. It was a combination of everybody's influences that helped shape the record.
Brendan Walter: Growing up, I was a huge fan of The Bealtes and The Rolling Stones. My favorite album of all-time is Rubber Soul. That's where we learned and where we come from. One of my other favorite bands is Radiohead. We like to take little bits from here and there.
Shane Henderson: We both go back to different bands, but we can still come together and write songs. He takes little pieces from the bands we love, and I take little pieces from bands I love. We combine them together, and that's what becomes Valencia. You've got to put yourself into your music and allow everyone to do the same.
Are you excited Dancing with a Ghost?