VENTS Magazine interview (August 2015)

INTERVIEW: Pat Valley + The Population | RIYL: Muse, Faith No More, Misfits

Hi Pat, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hey! Doing great, thanks so much for having me. Always staying busy with music work, so no complaints from me.

Can you tell us more about the story behind track 1, “Samantha (in the Psych Ward)”?
Well, I randomly started coming up with vocal ideas that reminded me a lot of the Misfits records with Michale Graves, so I wanted to build a song around those. I started listening to those albums when I was 11, 12 years old, and I feel like music from around that age really digs itself deep into your brain. Anyway, I met up with my producer and close friend, Brad Cox, to get his take on what I had so far. He helped work through some parts that I was stuck on; after that, the song was pretty much finished. It was definitely the easiest and quickest of the three to write.

The song features Michale Graves – how did that relationship develop and what was it like to work with him?
It was actually fairly simple- we reached out to his label and started discussing a plan to knock it out. I sent a version of the song with my scratch vocals on it, so he was able to hear what I had in mind when writing it. We sent files back and forth online, and soon enough, it was all done!

That track comes off your new EP Triplicity – what’s the story behind the title of “Samantha”?
One day, while I was playing guitar at home, I started singing the melody and words of that chorus- and that’s it. It’s nice when you don’t have to labor over a part like that. Once I put a few of the lyrical pieces together, I realized that a lot of my favorite songs in that style are character-based, so it seemed like a natural fit.

How was the recording and writing process?
The writing process was mostly done at my place; I spent a lot of time experimenting with different ideas as I built up demos at home. The recording process wasn’t too complicated since I had those demos; Brad dropped them in the sessions and we were able to use them as guide tracks throughout the process. I was lucky enough to have some great players and friends of mine in the studio with me to bring those ideas to life.

The album is pretty diverse from fast-pace, in-your-face punk to groovy reggae music – were you looking to showcase all your different influences and styles you like?
I suppose that’s a good way of putting it, but it wasn’t a conscious thing- you know, “I’m going to show off everything I can do on this 3-song EP!” I just like a wide variety of music- some of it’s thrashy and dark, and some of it’s bubblegummy and glossy. I like to say that there’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure- you like what you like. I knew this would be a strange project from the beginning, with three different singers on it, so I decided to embrace my bizarre tastes. I definitely wasn’t concerning myself with marketing during the creative process. I like all three of these songs, and they certainly reflect some of what I dig…and that’s it!
With so many genres, was there like a selection process on which one would you be playing on this record or these three genres are the one you are mostly into?
Nope- again, it wasn’t a conscious thing. I just wrote these three songs, liked them, and brought them to life. This seemed like the perfect project to include that kind of variety instead of separating them out to different projects.

The album also features three different guests – we found out earlier how Michale got involved, but what about Brenda and Braxton?
Brenda’s been a friend of mine for the past few years- she’s busy with her solo records and her band, Feral Kizzy. She has a unique and interesting vocal style, and we come from very different places musically, which is something that I really appreciate about her. I think she did an awesome job at blending her style into that song. And Braxton’s a great dude. Brad and I met him about 7 years ago at a show in Atlanta that our bands were playing together. We hadn’t stayed in touch, but when I was trying to think of singers for that song, Brad suggested I look him up. Thankfully, he was totally down to sing on it, and he completely rocked it. That’s the oldest of the three songs, dating back to December 2014, so it was such a cool thing when I finally heard him singing my lyrics and melodies on it a few months later.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
A million different places. Sometimes, it came from an old song I loved, or a story a friend told me, or a guitar riff that just felt really good in my hands. Wow, this is such a crappy answer, I know…hard question. Haha!

Any plans to hit the road?
Not with this project, no. I’ll definitely be out there with different bands and artists I work with, though.

What else is happening next in Pat Valley’s world?
Music work, all the time- performing with bands, recording projects with other artists, putting on shows as a production director…if you can’t already tell by the songs on this EP, I appreciate variety! Haha, but I do hope to carve out time to work on more songs for myself soon.