PropertyOfZack had the chance to speak with Shane and George of Valencia not too long ago for a great interview. Shane, George, and I discussed the band’s recent and present touring, response to Dancing With A Ghost, hitting the studio to record a new album, and a bunch more. Read up and enjoy!
For the record, could you state your name and role in Valencia?
Shane: I’m Shane, and I sing.
George: My name is George, and I play bass.
The band finished up a brief run of dates on the 2011 Zumiez Couch Tour not too long ago with Forever The Sickest Kids and I See Stars. How was that?
Shane: They were good and fun. It was good to see Forever The Sickest Kids again. It was nice to meet I See Stars for the first time too. The shows were fun and everybody on that tour was super nice and accommodating. We had a nice time.
Valencia obviously isn’t on Warped Tour this year, but Zumiez is sort of similar on a much smaller scale. Was it a cool way to kick off the summer?
Shane: I think it’s special any time you get a chance to play outside. There were a few days it got above 100, but it was basically the same kind of stage that Warped Tour uses, so it really was reminiscent of the tour, which was fun for us, because we love doing Warped. We’ve done it four or five times in our career, and to be able to get back to doing an outdoor summer show was definitely fun.
George: The fact that it was free was also a really cool thing because we had the chance to get as many people as possible to go see the show. There were people who may not have known any of the bands, but because they were at the mall at the tour was at they had the opportunity to come and see the music and see some skateboarding.
You guys have really been busy all year so far including a long tour with A Rocket To The Moon, among other things. Are you happy with how everything has gone so far?
Shane: Everybody is in good spirits and we’re just happy to be in a band on tour who can survive with this as our life. It’s definitely special and unique. Regardless of how things go show-wise, I think we’re all just happy to be doing what we’re doing. Things have been going good though, and we’re definitely excited for the future and the present.
George: I was talking to Jonathan from Forever The Sickest Kids last week. We hadn’t seen each other in a while and we’re catching up and we started talking about how crazy it’s been that we have been able to maintain a steady career as a band for the amount of time that we have. It’s been a long time, and there have definitely been bands that have teetered out over the course of the past six years or so. The fact that we still have a chance to put out music is pretty awesome.
All of this touring is of course in support of Dancing With A Ghost, which was released last year via I Surrender Records. Have fans been receptive to the new songs live?
Shane: I think we’ve always been that band that people need to see live to understand. I love our records, but for some reason I think people give us more of a chance after they see us live rather then when they just hear the songs on a CD. I think kids are really receptive of the new material that we’ve been putting out. I’m stoked about how things have been going, and I think kids definitely dig it.
George: I’m definitely excited to see the growth from the Say Anything tour to the A Rocket To The Moon tour and to just see the way kids were reacting to the tour. It’s been a pretty overwhelming response.
The band recently released a music video for “Losing Sleep,” which we premiered. Was that fun to shoot?
Shane: Yeah, it was super easy and laid back. Our friend came out on tour with us for a couple weeks and shot some random scenes here and there. It’s fun to go into public and try to sneak around. There were some places weirded out by us bringing a camera in. It was definitely fun to do in public, where people are looking at you and thinking, “Why is he lip-syncing?”
There has been talk about there possibly being another music video in the mix. Is that still in the works?
Shane: It’s basically done.
George: Brendon sort of handles that whole thing. They’re still figuring out the best way to get it out there. I’m hoping in the next few weeks. If it’s not out by the time that this tour starts, I’ll be pretty bummed out.
In March, a 7” compiled of two of Valencia’s b-sides were released. Did fans seem to like them?
Shane: The fan’s that ad a record player [Laughs].
George: We ended up posting them online too so people could hear them.
Dancing With A Ghost has been out for about 9 or so months now. Have you guys been happy with the total reception to it?
Shane: Everybody seems to be pretty receptive to it, so we can’t complain.
George: It feels really good to put a record out and to get the kind of response that people have been giving it. If we went out and played a few songs and people were just staring at us, I’d be really bummed out because of the efforts we put into it. For the most part I haven’t really seen that. I think people really like it, and I’m really happy it turned out that way.
There’s sort of a small cult following for We All Need A Reason To Believe by many people. Were there nerves to try to match that?
Shane: I don’t think we ever really think about hat kind of stuff. We’re a band that likes to create and write music. How we’re feeling when we’re writing a record is what comes out. The life experiences is really what crafts the songs into what they are and the energy and emotion behind it stem from those life experiences. To be honest, we never thought that we had to match that record. That was never an issue for us. We try to write good songs and be proud of what we’re doing. I think that’s definitely the way it was supposed to go. I don’t have any regrets doing it that way.
George: Our records are chapters of our lives. We’ve never really set out to match something that we’ve done before.
Shane: I think also, Reason To Believe is about such a deep matter and we’re about three or four years removed from that subject. I’m not saying that that lessens what it means to me or the guys, but as you grow older and learn from that experience that you change as a person and you’re not as susceptible to writing the same record over again.
The release of the record also marked the band’s return to I Surrender Records. Has the switch back proven to be exactly what you guys wanted it to be?
Shane: We grew up on that label. We were freshly out of high school when Rob signed us. He put faith in our band, and the fact that he was willing to take us back was awesome. Gaby and Mara and everybody, they’re great people to work with and are talented. It was really nostalgic for us to be able to do that as well as refreshing and exciting.
So many people were sort of annoyed with the fact that Valencia were not much bigger after We All Need A Reason, and most people seemed to blame that on Columbia. You guys have sort of regrouped since with a great record and a lot of touring, but are you happy with where the band is right now?
Shane: I think it’s always important to want to progress and to want to be bigger than you are. At the same time, I think it’s very important to appreciate what you have and to not sit there and think that our band isn’t selling out 2,000-cap rooms here and there. When we get to a show and there 200 or 300 people there, that’s 200 or 300 people who decided to spent their $10 watching our band play when they could easily spend that money on going out to dinner. That was their choice, and that means the world to us. We can’t thank them enough for supporting our band. We all really want to succeed more, but we appreciate what we have. People should always want to progress while appreciating what they have at the same time.
George: I think the opportunity to be able to express ourselves through this outlet with everybody is something that we’re all extremely grateful for. No matter what happens, I’m really thankful and appreciate of everything that we’ve done so far and will do in the future.
The band leaves tomorrow for the Do America tour with Anarbor and Conditions. How stoked are you guys to co-headline that?
Shane: I think we’re all excited to have a decent set where we can get up there and play and not be constrained to 30 minutes. We’re all excited to just have that time to really perform and to play a bunch of songs. We’re a band, and that’s what we love doing. To able to headline is definitely something special. Being with Anarbor is an amazing time in itself.
George: We got along with them so great on the A Rocket To The Moon tour, and I’m so excited to hang out with them again.
Should we expect the set to be pretty similar to what it’s been like this year?
Shane: I think you should expect a pretty similar set. Basically because those are the songs people want to always hear. It’s always hard for us now that we have three records. We want to play what people want to hear, which is why we did the Poll Daddy thing on the last tour. I’d say it’ll be pretty similar.
George: We switch stuff in and out, but it’s tough when we have so many records. We’re also going to have a cover song, but that’s a surprise.
There are about a strip of four or five dates that the band is missing. Is there a reason for that?
Shane: We just added those shows. Long story short, we couldn’t announce them.
George: It was because of the Zumiez tour and they’re close together. We didn’t want to take the risk of hurting either show.
Following this a tour has been announced with The Wonder Years and Such Gold in September over in the UK. Think that’ll be a blast?
Shane: I think so. I spoke to Soupy just a couple of days ago, and he said three of the shows are about sold out. That tour’s going to be crazy, man. I’ve been a really big fan of The Wonder Years for a long time. I’m so happy to see everything that’s going on for them lately.
Will we be seeing any more dates before then?
Shane: We’re going to write some songs before we head out to the UK
George: We’re spending a lot of our down time working on new music.
The band updated fans and said that you were demoing in May. How far is the writing process along for the next record?
Shane: There are a bunch of skeletons, and then there are about eight demoed out songs. We need to flush a bunch out.
How would you compare the writing for this to Dancing With A Ghost?
Shane: This one’s a little bit more stripped down. Brendon, Dan, George, and I literally sat down in my garage for a week to run through the ideas we all had and we’re just flushing songs out. I think it’s a little bit more relaxed.
George: It’s been pretty exciting to see how it’s been coming out. Almost all the ideas came from his garage acoustically. We’re finishing up a couple full band demos, and to see those songs evolve from a skeleton has been pretty awesome.
Dancing With A Ghost hasn’t even been out a year yet, but was there just an urge to make new music?
Shane: We always want to write.
George: It never really stopped if we had a little bit of time between tours. We want to do it when we can because this is what we really love to do, and to be able to continually put out music is what we love to do. I always feel weird about bands taking a really long time between records if they can avoid it. I know there’s always a case where they don’t have a choice and it takes too long, but if we have the opportunity to get out music as fast as we can that we’re excited to share, then we’ll take that opportunity.
When do you guys want to hit the studio?
Shane: Whenever we’re ready, to be honest.
George: I hope by the winter, but it all depends on the songs and where we feel we’re at.
Would you like to have the release out this time next year if time allows it?
Shane: We don’t want to hesitate. Whenever we’re ready we’re going to put it out. When we get a chance to get in the studio and actually physically do the record, we’re going to put it out as soon as possible.
George: I would never say an exact timeframe at this point, but in a perfect world it’ll be the best record we’re ready to make when it’ll be out.
Have any tours been booked in the US past this current one?
Shane: Not as of now, but we’ll see.
George: The new record is definitely the focus after these tours are done.
Will that be released on I Surrender again?
Shane: We’ll see. We’re figuring all of that stuff out as we go.
George: This is the beginning, so there is not a lot going on. There are songs, and they are awesome.
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