Monday, 8 March 2010

A few minutes with...Northern Valentine

Monday, 8 March 2010

Robert from the psychedelic/dream-pop band Northern Valentine talks about the band making their own film, visiting waterfalls in Iceland and an interesting first record...

How did Northern Valentine come about?
I used to work in radio and was hearing a lot of great music every day. It made me want to make my own music, so I started getting gear and finding things that could make the sounds that I was hearing in my head. Before I knew it, there was a core group of people in Northern Valentine, depending on who is around at any time.

I love your band name. Where does it come from?
This is a terrible story...but it started by me saying I loved the word Valentine and that I wanted to use it somewhere in the band name. The Northern part actually came from a random word generator! We liked the sound of the two word together and it just stuck. Not very interesting I know...

Where do your rehearse?
We have a room in our house where we play, rehearse and record.

What was your best gig so far? why?
I think my favorite show so far was when we played at Vi├░eyjarkirkja, which is a very small church on the island of Vi├░ey, just off of the coast of Reykjavik, Iceland. We were some of the first notes of music heard in the church since 1774. People took a ferry over to the island to see us, and it was a magical afternoon.

And the worst gig? why?
We drove 8 hours to a show in Virginia, only to find out that nothing had been promoted, the headlining band had dropped out of the show, and the other supporting band didn't feel like playing. We wouldn't have minded so much, if it hadn't have been an 8 hour drive and then another 6 hours back home!

Your song "Gullfoss" has such a dreamy, wonderful sound to it. What was the inspiration behind the song?
The inspiration for that song came to us after our first trip to Iceland. Gullfoss is a huge, beautiful waterfall in Iceland and it takes your breath away when you see it from a distance and then get right up into the water.

When your band is just hanging out, what music are you probably listening to?
We have a lot of different musical tastes between all of us. Some of the band favorites that we all listen to include Sigur Ros, Pink Floyd, Mew, Godspeed you Black Emperor!, and some of the music we've recorded that we haven't put out yet.

What was the first album you ever bought?
This drags out some skeletons from the first album was "Make It Big" by Wham! I was 8 or 9 years old and I had heard them on the radio the day before. All the kids at school were singing it, so I caved to the pressure.

Any weird phobias and/or band superstitions?
I guess my only real phobia or superstition would be trying to make sure we show up way too early for shows because I like to leave room for the unexpected to happen.

What's your band's fashion sense/style? Any favourite clothing shops?
We're pretty much a thrift shop, jeans and t shirt kind of band. I love rolling into a new town and finding the Salvation Army and looking for local t shirts.

Describe your fanbase in 3 words:
Relaxed, Intelligent, Respectful.

If you could be any other person for a day, who would you be?
Someone who gets paid to sleep all day, so I could catch up on some sleep and still make some cash. Not kidding, that would be great!

What's better - downloading, still buying CDs, or collecting vinyl?
We're going to be releasing more digitally in the future, which I appreciate because it takes up less space in my physical world. However, I still love putting the needle on a record from my collection of vinyl. I guess I'm old fashioned in liking to have a physical release with great artwork and the experience of having that in my hands.

Best band you've seen live?
Sigur Ros still manage to get me every time I see them. There is so much emotion built into their music, and it is often not overly complex. Simple is beautiful to me.

Is there anything (previously unknown) about your band that you'd like to share with the world?
In September 2009, we released our first film, "Leopard's Mouth", as part of our live soundtrack project for our 2005 album of the same name. That film almost ended up costing us over $25,000 to make, because some of our film crew were on the verge of being arrested for trespassing during a location shoot.

Tell us something interesting about your hometown.
It is very small...with two traffic lights and 5-6 pizza shops (for some reason), General George Washington stayed there for a bit on his way to Valley Forge and we've had the pleasure of playing our music there a few times.

And what are your plans for 2010?
We have another festival performance and a special show in New Jersey coming up in May. After that we're in the studio working on putting the finishing touches on a follow up to our 2008 album, The Distance Brings Us Closer, on Silber Records.

Thanks Robert! x

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