Sunday 12 May 2013

Interview with VALFADER

Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing Valfader – The brilliant UK Sludge/Stoner/Post-Metal band who recently impressed me with their excellent debut album – Whispers Of Chaos
I recently described this album as -

“If you miss the good old days of Taint then Valfader are going to be right up your street. I loved this album from the very first listen. It’s already getting a great response from the Sludge/Stoner Metal crowd and its definitely a band you should all check out now before all the free downloads on BandCamp run out.

All in all Valfader have released a brilliant debut album that deserves your attention now. This will be all over the other blogs in the many weeks to come. But get a headstart now and check out this amazing band now."

Valfader kindly agreed an interview with me which I am more than happy to do since the band are big fans of the blog. Maybe as much as I am a fan of them. So lets catch up with these brilliant rockers.

Q1 – Hi Guys, Thanks for doing this. How are things with you guys today?

Yeah! We’re good thanks. We’ve got a few gigs booked and getting a good response to the EP so we are in a good place as a band right now!

Q2 – For people not in the know can you give them a brief history of the band and how it came about.

Valfader was born in 2010 at a local drinking establishment in Bath UK. Band members Dean and Gaz (Psycho Jack) decided to form a new band with a more stoner / laid back vibe. Deciding to be a 3 piece all they needed was a bassist. After trying out a few, Matt strolled up and a winning combination of long hair and van ownership clinched him the spot.

Since then Valfader got down to writing some tunes – during this time our songs got longer, slower and heavier to a point where all members felt we had found a sound that was ours!

Q3 – How would you describe your sound? As even I have a hard time describing it.

Yeah lots of people have said we are hard to put into a category. It’s not something we have ever worried about really. We incorporate a lot of sounds into our songs, which is probably why they are so long! We have elements of stoner and doom with some post metal and psychedelic parts, if we like the sound and it fits with the overall song – it finds its way in. Overall we try to have a mix of ambience with some heavier parts

Q4 – Which bands and artists influence you directly as musicians?

Matt loves Isis and has slowly sneaked some of this influence into our music over the last two years. He’ll play some on the way to practice and point out a riff or the snare sound. This is probably where some of our post metal parts come from. Gaz is a massive Sabbath and Zeppelin fan. He loves a more laid back groove and heaviness that we try to incorporate into our music. Dean likes a lot of music and genres but really likes Opeth’s songs and structuring. I think this has had a big influence on how he goes about writing our songs and the lyrics

Q5 – Are you all full time musicians or do you have regular jobs to pay the bills.

Oh yeah – we all have to have full time jobs to keep doing what we do! It would be amazing to be able to do Valfader full time but it is real difficult to be a full time musician nowadays.

Q6 – Are your family and friends supportive of your music.

Yeah we’ve been really lucky in that regard. We have amazing friends who have been really supportive in coming to our shows, saying nice things about us and helping with promotion. We really appreciate it all – thanks everybody!

Q7 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it a group collective or is just down to one individual.

It mostly comes from an idea that Dean has had. He’ll turn up to practice with something he’s been working on and then usually Gaz and Matt will try to slow it down and uncomplicate it! The lyrics are all Dean’s, he tries to write on themes that are very personal to him, to enable him to express as much emotion as possible through the vocals and music.

Q8 – Your new album – Whispers Of Choas –WOW – All I can say. What a brilliant album. Congrats on that one. Seems like it's causing a stir with our fans. No doubt it will catch on with the other blogs very soon. Too good to ignore. Has the response blown you away.

Thanks very much. Yep it’s fair to say the response has completely blown us away. It was the first thing we put out to the public at large so was very nerve wrecking but the response has been immense – thanks to everyone!

Q9 – Was it an easy album to write and record for.

It felt easy to write – the songs came together pretty quickly and naturally. Recording was a fun two days. It took a while for us to get it finished and in the right shape – but it seems worth it now. Have to say a big thanks to Jamie Fraser from Supermegaactionplus for recording us and mixing the tracks – the guy is amazing!

Q10 – How big of a help has BandCamp been in getting your music across to the masses.

Yeah – it’s been a big help. We wanted to have a bandcamp page for a while to get our music out there. It has definitely helped us do that, having nearly 2000 plays and downloads in less than 2 weeks!!!

Q11 – Now it has been released would you change any aspect of the album. Or would you leave it as it is.

Overall we are really pleased with the album. I think we have analysed it pretty hard to be fair, and sometimes think maybe we would change certain aspects, but when listening to the album as a whole we think it is a good reflection of us as a band.

Whispers of Chaos cover art

Q12 – Who designed the excellent album cover. Gives a great impression on what to expect on the album.

We were really lucky with this. A really good friend of ours John Blackshaw who is an amazing graphic designer sent us the cover just as a present a while back. We were absolutely thrilled when we saw it – exactly what we wanted. You should have seen some of our attempts – they were hilarious!

Q13 – Is there a scene in your home town for you guys to gig regularly. Or do you have to travel further afield to perform live.

We’ve done a couple of shows where we have had to travel, but are fortunate that there is a good music scene in bath and a even bigger one down the road in Bristol so we haven’t had to travel much to get a gig. I think with the EP out now we would like to tour a little farther to support it.

Q14 – In five words what is the Valfader live experience like.

Loud, intense, interactive, emotional, epic!

Q15 – What are your favourite bands around at the moment. Do you listen to modern day rock/metal or do you just listen to the classic era of Stoner/Sludge/Doom/Post-Rock/Post-Metal.

Dean – I absolutely love the last two offerings from the stoner band Elder, highly recommend. Also adore Opeth as has been said, otherwise I listen to loads of different stuff from Pearl Jam to Clutch to Dream Theatre.

Matt – Really enjoyed Converge’s latest offering and Meshuggah’s Koloss is an absolute beast! Also listening to Cult of Luna, Mouth of the architect and Rosetta but ISIS is still number one! Been listening to a lot of Slayer again since Jeff passed away – they were what got me into metal! Also Deftones have been a big influence – oneloveforchi!

Gaz – I like the old school Sabbath, Ozzy and Dio years, can't go wrong with a bit of Led Zepplin. Then anything and everything goes, I love Crowbar, Down, Eyehategod, Kyuss, Neurosis, Orange Goblin and anything else that floats my boat.

Q16 – What are your views of blogs such as Sludgelord featuring and reviewing your records

We think they are so important for up and coming bands to help get noticed and get their music distributed. We already really liked the sludgelord blogsite so were so thrilled when you reviewed us – thanks so much!

Q17 – What are your views record companies shutting down blogs and websites due to illegal downloading. Some people are for it and some people are against it.

We think it depends on your point of view. For us, our EP was never about making money, so we were happy to release it for free and pleased if blogs and websites picked it up to spread the word. If the purpose is making money to support artists to make music then I guess it’s different?

Q18 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band. Obviously the reality of how expensive it is being in a band could be considered as a negative aspect.

The most rewarding is the live experience. When you play a great gig, and you're all vibing off one another it is literally one of the best feelings there is. It is also enormously emotionally cathartic, I would definitely recommend as a form of therapy! Recording as well is great, though it can be frustrating, to hear your music back so clearly, without having to focus so much on your own parts is massively rewarding!

The least rewarding has to be all the irritating details, such as coordinating days off work together to rehearse, having enough money to buy or replace equipment or to record; and trying to book gigs when promoters don't get back to you! It would be lovely to have more time and help to step this up a notch!

Q19 – What pisses you off most in music today. And if you could what would you change.

Laziness – both of musicians and listeners! I may be wrong but it seems to me that there are a lot of ‘musicians’ who seem to want to do it just for fame or to get their name out there. Shows like X factor and pop idol where people queue for 8 hours to blast out some shitty cover of an already shitty song – and be judged by a panel of shit musician business people? Then this is rammed down the throats of the public through constant media so they believe it’s good, buy the crap and get it to number one!?

Also people playing music that has not only been written for them but produced purely for the purpose of making money. There's no fucking heart or soul in it, and these poor people are exploited for their talents; whilst missing the whole point and joy of playing music in the first place. Self Expression!!

Meanwhile there are soo many truly talented bands and musicians existing in the underground who are working hard and paying lots of money just to get noticed and some opportunity to play gigs – it winds me up

The public need to invest more time into seeking out and supporting local bands and musicians rather than just accepting what is pushed on them by the media and going to big stadium gigs. Get on bandcamp, go to local shows, support artists so that if they do make it you can brag about how you saw them before they were famous!

Q20 – What words of wisdom would you give to a band starting out or some friends wanting to start a band of their own.

Definitely do it! Buy any instruments and equipment you can afford and start making some noise! Don’t worry about sounding like someone / fitting into a genre or if you are any good – just have fun, make noise and you’ll find something you like! Always remember to focus on the music you make rather than any of the other bullshit that comes with it!

Q21 - Finally, Do you have anything to say your fans

Just a huge huge thanks! We really are so appreciative of all the support, kindness and generosity shown by everyone that we have a hard time putting it into words but we are so grateful! See you all soon!

Well guys thanks for talking to me. Been great in talking to you guys. Good luck with your excellent album. All the best from Sludgelord.

Check Valfader from the links below: