Heart Shaped Rock – INTERVIEW : With Valentiine

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Valentiine are from Melbourne Australia and consist of Vanessa V on guitar and vocals, Erica E on bass and Shelly K on drums. They’ve recently unleashed their self titled début album in the UK and we can confidently predict it’s going to be amongst our favourite albums of the year.  Musically Valentiine hark back to a time when the likelihood of a country dancing band headlining Glastonbury seemed about as likely as George Osborne growing up to become a Jean Paul Gaultier poster boy. This isn’t polite twee safe music, this is visceral angst-ridden sexually charged grunged up rock n roll channelling the spirit of bands like The Breeders, Vercua Salt and L7.

Valentiine have that inherent knack for writing instinctive powerful crunching tunes and rather like Kurt Cobain, combine a fucked up sense of inner turmoil with a real ear for melody. The infectious ‘Chucky’ (replete with puke-fest video) is probably their most “pop” sounding tongue in cheek song to date celebrating the dubious joy of excess and the resultant come down. However its tunes like  ‘Love Like’ , which topped the Amazing Radio charts,  ‘Finch,‘Hates Me‘Birthday’ and ‘Animal‘ that best represent the bands fusion of noise, attitude, chunky guitar riffs and melody. It’s a perfectly judged album mixing slow burners with fist pumping adrenaline soaked anthems and after catching them live in Manchester we were convinced Valentiine are very much the real deal. So much so in fact that we tried to persuade them to move to England,because for one. they are fucking great but also perhaps by way of recompense. Because let’s face it, any country that allows Stefan Dennis to release a single in the UK owes us BIG time.

Album Rating 8/10

And with that in mind we used our persuasive charms and chatted to Vanessa during the bands whistle stop UK tour.

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 VP:  G’day , so there are a few stories about how you got together, one goes that you used to go to a karaoke bar and do a killer rendition of ‘Seether’ by Veruca Salt the other story is that Vanessa said “Shelley, Erica you have  a great band but it could be better with me in it

VANESSA: Ha-ha, well yeah they are all kind of true.  We were being young and irresponsible and doing some karaoke.  Erica and Shelly were already in a band and I was taking a break from mine, and to be honest we’d all been friends and lived together so I don’t really know why we didn’t play together earlier.  Anyway, when we did jam together it just felt right and we clicked straight away

VP:  Congrats on the album it’s, it is raw honest, melodic the antithesis of all that perfect polished auto tuned pop and all that horrible talent show rubbish.  Are you surprised at the steady buzz you’re getting here in the UK?

VANESSA: Yeah we’ve been surprised really.  Last year we did an independent tour of like 22 dates in eight weeks, which really hurt.  It was our first European tour and we had a blast but when we got home, we were very exhausted and we thought things would wind down a bit.  But we ended up getting a manager and then getting signed to Integrity records which resulted in us coming back to the UK much quicker than we’d anticipated .We  really didn’t except it to be back over so quick.  The support we have gotten in the UK has been amazing!

VP: So how did Integrity Records get involved?

VANESSA: Well our now manager Jamie Gambino told them about us.  It was all unexpected I mean Jamie had spotted a picture of us in a magazine, came to a show loved us and we just joked, “you should try managing us!

VP: How did you enjoy the tour in the UK this time around?

VANESSA:  Oh yeah it’s been great, to have people come to our shows, know us, and get support from the likes of Amazing Radio has been incredible.  Doing an acoustic session for them was such a blast and we really appreciate the support.

VP:  One band you site as an influence is The Breeders and you got to see them live when you were over here in London ?Did it live up to expectations ?

VANESSA:  When Jamie booked the UK tour he’d arranged we had that night off in London when the Breeders were playing so there was like no way we weren’t going.  It was just insane they played all of ‘Last Splash’ and ‘Pod’ and we got to meet them which was pretty amazing

VP:  Gotta mention that ‘Chucky’ – puke fest video – It appears the songs about the ultimate hangover and the video?  Who came up with the idea and what was used for the actual puke …

VANESSA: Pretty much, I mean it was a piss take, and we were a bit taken aback that people kind of missed that and took it so seriously!  The actual puke was made of food dye and sponge, it was quite a concoction, and we tried to make it taste quite nice for everybody involved!

VP:  You’re relatively new to us in the UK, but you’ve been honing your craft back in Oz a while and I’ve heard it said the scene can be quite cliquey, and not terribly supportive?

VANESSA: Yeah it’s like we are off the radar at times, I dunno maybe being in an all girl band in Australia just isn’t considered cool.  In addition, it’s a small amount of people who control the radio back home and if you’re not in with them, their friends or the clique… well you’re not in!  And we’re not willing to suck arse to fucking do it.  I mean we have a great following at home and they come and see us because they love the music, and yet we just don’t get why we seem to get zero support from the radio there.  It doesn’t make any fucking sense.  So to start getting support here in the UK has been beautiful.

VP:  Would you consider a move here, I know bands like Howling Bells made the move to London from Australia to kick start their career… and you could always go home in winter for the sun?

VANESSA : Definitely, it’s pretty easy to get comfortable in Australia,  I mean people do come out to see you and the crowds are fantastic, but sometimes you feel there’s only so far you can take it.  So to move to the next level it’s defiantly something we’ve talked about, as we are serious about this.  If it means slogging our guts out in shitty day jobs to do it then so be it.  It is expensive travelling over so it is on the cards!

VP: Weirdest experience as a band?

 VANESSA: Well on our last tour, we were grateful to stay anywhere we could.  And not naming any names,  but one night we were told we could stay in relative luxury at this one place, y’know hot showers comfy beds, the lot.  So we get there and the beds are literally covered in f**king blood!  But y’know what?  We were so fucking tired we didn’t care we just slept in our clothes and left our shoes on in case we had to make a quick getaway at any point.  Erica’s got dreds and she was convinced she was gonna get bugs and shit and so we just wrapped our heads in T-Shirts.  So yeah, that was…  erm…. interesting!

VP:  There’s a joke there about “My Bloody Valentiine” , which I won’t be making, ok so what’s been you highlight as a band so far?

VANESSA:  I think really it’s been the support we’ve had in the UK, this time around.  It’s been so good to get that kind of validation.

VP: Plans for the rest of the year?

VANESSA: Well we’ve got quite a bit of new material.  So it’ll be a case of resting after the tour and then back in to demo that!

VP: If you had a band motto, what would it be?

VANESSA: Erm…Don’t do drugs, erm do do drugs…?

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Andy Von Pip

ANDY VON PIP - Founder, editor, writer, reviewer, photographer and all-round good guy at the VPME.com. House photographer for The Academy Music Group, Zuma Press, Event Magazine and Rex Features worldwide. You can check out his photography at Andy Von Pip Photography Has been new music tipster on BBC6 Music, Amazing Radio, and DJ on Strangeways Radio (USA.) Can currently be heard on IWFM Radio. His radio work has been described as sounding like Ian McCulloch on ketamine fused with Ringo Starr. New music tipster on Amazing Radio, moderator for BBC 6 Music DJ Tom Robinson's Fresh on the Net, former member of "BBC's Sound Of" panel. Written and photographic work has appeared in The Quietus, Music Week, Record Of The Day, The Guardian, GIITV, The Sabotage Times, Bido Lito, The Skinny, Louder Than War. Media partner and curator for Liverpool Sound City.

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