When you’re dubbed the “next Bright Eyes,” that’s a lot to live up to, but something tells me that Valaska is up for the challenge. The indie outlet out of the Windy City have been hitting the pavement hard in support of their latest record, Thing. It dropped back in February and since then they’ve packed up their trailer and headed to one of the Mecca’s of music, SXSW. Now they’re focused on weekend gigs, pizza and keeping things moving upward.
Kendra: How’d you hook up with Aaron Marsh when it came time to make your debut?
Dave Valdez: I reached out to Aaron via Myspace when I only had one song recorded. He liked what he heard so we set up some studio time.
Kendra: Being from Chicago and likely having done some travel due to music – can you honestly say you all have the best pizza?
Dave: I would certainly argue that we don’t have the worst pizza, it’s all subjective!
Kendra: You were currently out with Clairaudients. Any unexpected bumps in the road or was it smooth sailing?
Dave: It was smooth sailing until the Clairaudients van broke down in Jacksonville, IL and I had to do a couple of shows on my own. They bounced back quickly and we made it pretty easily to SXSW and played some great shows along the way.
Kendra: Also, how was SXSW?
Dave: It was a great time but it was pretty chaotic. However SXSW is much more fun when you are playing music rather than just sitting around in the blistering heat all day
Kendra: Back to pizza for a second. If you had to compare your newest record, Thing, to a pizza creation – what would the end result be like and why?
Dave: Pepperoni and Mushroom, cause it’s the favorite by popular vote of the band. It’s a characteristic of who we are. Thing is very much a personal reflection while still maintaining space for others to relate.
Kendra: Who came up with the concept for “Espejismo?” It’s very trippy.
Dave: “Espejismo” was a song I wrote the music to a while back and brought it to the table for this record. Matt, Zach, and myself spun it into what became. A plate reverb draped on an old Rhodes really set the tone for that song as well.
Kendra: Do you have any plans to tour the rest of the year?
Dave: Yes, we will be headed Northeast in June, in the meantime we will be playing a lot of weekend warrior dates in the Midwest.
Kendra: If you had to make a mixtape to thank Aaron Marsh, what five songs would be on it?
Dave: Not really a thank you list but, they are great songs that I think he should hear if he already hasn’t.
“Beginner’s Mind” – Bright Eyes
“Milk and Honey” – Arcade Fire
“Speed of the Sound of Loneliness” – John Prine
“Just Can’t Win” – Lee Fields
“Feel” – Ty Segall