Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Valet - Blood is Clean

From Jackie-O Motherfucker to Nudge to World to the Valet project you seem to have steadily gathered stylistic and aesthetic layers--- what do you feel you've brought forward from each group into this album?

I think the main thing that was culled from those experiences is the idea of freeform playing. A sort of running with what's happening at the moment. JOMF, Nudge and World all have strong roots in the jam being the important element. The songs that form out of the jams become these accidental happenings that sort of express what happened through voice.

There is a ceremonial element in some of the tracks that harkens back to the improvisational aspect of Jackie-O--- do you find it difficult to delve into that in a solo situation? Is there more of a push towards a "classic" singer/songwriter type of work when you record alone?

Not really. In fact, it's almost easier to get raw when it's just you and a bunch of gear. The possibilities are endless in a recording situation. Especially with a computer as your recording machine. My headphones are broken so i have to wear this tight wool hat that ties to hold them to my ears when i'm recording. It feels kinda like being in a space ship all locked in. It feels kinda like making 4-track music. You jam out on one track then you jam over that on another. Next thing you know, you have your own one-person jam band. I'm not a perfectionist so intense editing or over dubbing starts to get really boring. It's like whitewashing the original moment of idea-conception. Maybe due to the impetuous nature of blasting it out, the music might stay fresh and improvisational. Although occasionally i sit down and work out a song on accoustic guitar. That's a totally different vibe altogether.

In the title of the album and in some of the lyrics themes of purity and spiritual corruption are addressed--- do you feel these spiritual elements naturally inform or inhabit your art? Does the process of making art/music encourage philosophical ideas for your, or do your ideas encourage you to make art?

They definitely encourage eachother in the big picture. But from the day to day inspiration, it's usually philosophical ideas first then the music taking shape reflecting and reinturpeting the idea. For each record or each groupings of songs, I seem to have an idea that streams along some sort of metaphysical story. When i was making Blood is Clean, I was listening to a lot of Haitian drumming and Jon Hassell. also (Led) Zep II, ragas, Mahavisnu Orchestra and Velvet Underground. I was also reading tons of books on non-dualism and paying attention to daily symbols that would fall into my life. Becoming the witness to my life and to every moment became the songs. Who knows what it all means. I surely wouldn't try to pretend that I know or that I was responsible for it. It's just what was happening at that time. I hope that doesn't sound weird or dismissive. It's hard to explain the feeling without sounding like some sort of hippy witch, cosmic freak out lady.

How much of what we hear on the album is the result of ideas/single takes that are built up gradually, and how much is the result of a more "cut and paste" approach to song construction?

It's kinda like throw the clay then make a pot. Usually the songs are done after a couple tracks and a couple edits. Even the songs come out fast or they don't come at all. Whenever there is a struggle or a need to go back and work on something more, I stop. the songs that seem to need a lot of re-working or have too many questionable things going on don't usually make it off the hard drive.

Why Valet and not Honey Owens on the album cover?

When i first started Valet it was supposed to be my free project where i could do whatever i wanted. Then I met my friend Jason Frank who is an awesome video/experimental music dude. We came together and made Valet as a communication between visual and audio performance. There was midi and there was a limited edition dvd. The name came out of an absinthe evening. Valet was supposed to take the doer out of the picture. We were supposed to be the channelers. I guess it's kinda a weird name if you weren't there for the trip. I keep wanting to change the name because Jason isn't in it anymore for now but for some reason it stays.
Valet - Blood is Clean (Kranky)

Some of Valet / Honey Owens favourite things from 2007:

ummm let's see...

1. Hanging out at the Oak St. with Rob Walmart.
2. Boris song "Rainbow" (killer lead)
3. Tom Blood's latest book The Sky Position
5. Rad Summer (vibe store that i opened with my friends Charlotte, Jacob and Tom from JOMF)
6. Adam Forkner's killer leads
7. Playing in Adrian's band (Adrian Orange and her Lilys)
8. Astral Social Club (vol 1-6)
9. Atlas Sound
10. Listening to Ali Farka Toure and Love Joys Lovers Rock.

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