Interview: Valours

Hailing from the musical hotbed that is Leeds comes Valours. The quartet have spent the past 12 months refining their sound and are now set to release a double A-Side single next week. Both ‘Drag’ and ‘Alien’ show glimpses of Valours versatility. The former is a boisterous blast of soaring hard rock whilst the latter leans to a more focused, alt rock sound. Nevertheless both showcase Valours ability to leave you wanting more.

Although the four piece are just finding their feet, they realise how tough it can be for any young, up and coming band to be noticed. However with songs as strong as ‘Drag’ and ‘Alien’, they are going about the right way of changing that.

As Valours prepare for the release of the double A-Side single and it’s hometown release show, Already Heard spoke to guitarist Max Gibson. Max discussed how the band have developed since the release of their debut demo last year, the double A-Side single, and their future plans.

Already Heard: Hi Max. Can we you bring us up to speed on the history of Valours?
Max: I used to play drums in a band, for a pretty long time too! We played lots of gigs with some pretty reputable bands and I had the best times. I just couldn’t seem to find a creative input in the end. I’ve always played guitar, badly, so I figured I’d follow that up. In a nutshell, we all met through various friends of friends and started jamming out some ideas I had. We got super excited about what we were doing, and wanted people to hear it, so we did a couple of weekenders and small tours and released a demo. We’ve been gigging since and more recently doing some writing/prepping for our March/April Tour dates.

AH: Here’s a simple one. How would you describe your sound to new listeners?
Max: We’re not emo enough for emo, not Punk enough for punk, and we’re definitely not metal, but we play in Drop B. We’re rockier than rock, and quite a way off indie. So yeah, check us out and see for yourselves.

AH: Last year you released a demo (‘Stranger Tongues’ & ‘Dreams/Metaphors’) and now you’re set to release a double A-Side single. How has the band developed over the past 12 months?
Max: When we first started out, our key interests were that what ever music we made, collectively it had to be upbeat, punchy, hard hitting and catchy. That’s definitely stayed consistent in our ‘new direction’. We have definitely matured though, both as people and as musicians, this is reflected in our sound. We’re not trying to be anything, we’ve found who we are and that’s that. We’d like to think we have a more professional approach to our writing, compared to 12 months ago.

AH: Having heard both songs, ‘Drag’ and ‘Alien,’ they certainly differ from each other in style. ‘Drag’ is fierce and energetic post-hardcore number whilst ‘Alien’ is more refrained and focused. Do they have a connection in anyway?
Max: ‘Alien’ is a song we recorded a year or so ago, but we didn’t seem to capture it how we’d like. We totally rushed into it, we were excited… The writing process was very thorough for it, but the song changed a lot as we played it. We pretty much re-wrote it for this single, and we’re super proud of it! It’s a very psychologically thought out song, lyrically. It’s basically about being overwhelmed by feelings that you initially didn’t have, but wish you did.

‘Drag’ is a song that was written slightly further down the line, it’s definitely the “poppier” of the two, it’s really fun to play live. It’s catchy, heavy and a generally angry song, it’s pretty much about people you may be close to in some way, but they piss you off and ‘Drag’ you down…

AH: Do you think these new songs show how the band have developed in the past year?
Max: They represent and contain everything we’ve developed and learnt about our music in the past year. We’re a lot more ready than we may of thought we were a year or so ago.

AH: For the single you worked with producer Chris Coulter. How did you find the experience of working with him and what did he add to both songs?
Max: I’ve worked with Chris before in previous bands, and having worked with various producers since, I know that, for me personally, he’s the best we could of gone with for this. He pretty much put the icing on the cake for us at the stage we’re at. When we finished the AA-Side with him, we were hit by a massive realisation of who we actually are as a band, in comparison to what we thought we were, or even wanted to be. The four of us have a completely different range of influences, and they independently yet collectively shape the final product. Chris was practically a fifth member for the week, so he added a completely new dimension to the tracks. He’s worth way more than his weight in gold, he’s only little…

AH: I also understand there’s going to be a music video for one of the singles. What can you tell us about that?
Max:
We wanted to keep it simple to suit the track, so we shot it on a farm, with some nice lighting, and out our serious rock faces on! We chose Drag for the video, as we didn’t want to dampen the depth of the meaning behind ‘Alien’ with a video, that potentially wouldn’t do for it what we want. What we did for Drag works well, we’re happy with it and can’t wait to get it online! (March 1st!!)

AH: You’re going to be following up the single release with UK and European shows. What can people expect from a live Valours show?
Max: An upbeat, energetic, loud rock gig. Europe has been great to us before we’ve even got there, so we’re excited to play there! As for the UK, we’re trying to pan out as much area as we can. We’re doing absolutely everything ourselves, booking, money – everything, so we’re keeping it simple! South, North, Mids & a show in Wales. We had to pull out of a weekender with Forest Fires in Scotland last year, so we’re going to aim to get that reorganised asap! We’re playing a few gigs in Feb/early March leading up to the tours, with some pretty exciting bands!

AH: Is this double A-Side single just the beginning? Can we expect even more new material in the coming months?
Max: We’re hoping to get another our later in the year, we were working on new stuff before we even got the mixes back for ‘Drag’/’Alien.’ We don’t want to rush into it though. We’d like to get some kind of mini-album together this year/next year, the only thing in our way are our finances. It all depends on what happens throughout the summer following these tours. For example we opened for some local bands at one of the most reputable venues in London last year, and struggled to get more than £20, despite taking a good solid headcount. That didn’t even cover fuel to the next gig – you know how it is. That being said, at this stage, we’re definitely not “in it for the money,” but it has to come from somewhere…

AH: Any final words to share with the Already Heard readers?
Max: If I didn’t bore you on the 2nd question and you’re reading this – THANK YOU! Check our Facebook, give us a like, keep an eye out on March the 1st for the video and release. Check out the tour dates, if you like: get to a show, have some fun! If you don’t like us, it’s cool, just make sure you support the bands you do like!

‘Drag’/‘Alien’ by Valours is released on 1st March on Spoken Records.

Valours links: Facebook|Bandcamp

Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)

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