Well, I got a chance to catch up with old friend Valery Gore over a couple large cookies a few weeks back, but right before the meeting, I had some dental work done, putting me in such a state, that I didn't record the first 10 minutes of the interview. But I don't think you missed too much. So, with out further adieu, here's my interview with the very talented Valery Gore.
Agh, Good start
Now we're going... OK, when you press it the first time it just sets the levels.. so..
Yeah, well, not tech enough to record what we just talked about... but... We were talking about the song "Angora" and you were saying that the original version you did was perfect, right?
yeah, It was recorded when I was sick, spur of the moment. I think that the vulnerability is in it. It's hard to recapture that, so I'm glad the record version appeals to people, cause it was hard to go back to that moment.
Who did you have producing the album?
You did it all by yourself? Did you have other people giving input, or is it something you kind of took the reins on?
Well, I definitely always have people help. The band always has input when we're doing the arrangements. When we're learning new songs. I definitely always ask for their opinions, That's sort of the way it always happens when you're recording, while you're listening to back tracks, or different takes people put forth their opinions, and that helps. And the engineer who I worked with is a producer, with people who are engineers, it's such a craft, and he played a big role in getting the right sound. He was just amazing. Sonically, he was the guy.
And I've noticed that between this album and the last one, there's much more confidence
Was the approach a lot different between the two?
Um, yeah. The approach was way different. But I also think that I had no confidence on the first record. It was always very difficult to listen to the songs, I always thought I sucked. So the first record was done with that feeling, pretty much all through out. So there was a long gap between the records. I had a lot of time to sit with the songs, some where taken off the record, some new ones where put on, I guess probably when I starting to consider to record, there was a year where, like, "Scared" came. "Worried Head was an old song that got re written. Songs like that started to come in and push out the not worthy songs that were for the album I thought I had to make. To me I think that was a turning point, where I thought, "oh, these are actually good songs, that'll make a solid record". I didn't want to make a record where I wasn't sure of every song on it. So all the songs stand on their own, they're strong individually.
You played more of an Editor on this album than you did on the last album
Yeah, and i mean, I used to write songs, and put them aside. I think with this album, I put them aside, I didn't get a grant or anything, so I brought them back over, worked on them more. A lot of the arrangements came later, there was more time for each song.
Yeah it seems to be more heavily arranged, and it seems to be a more rhythmic album as well. Do you think having Dan (Neil, drums) and Devon (Henderson, bass) opinions helped that?
Oh yeah, Rhythmically, I bring the songs to them, and they have their own idea's of their own, and the go with that. It's great to have a band like them, they're my closest friends. You just feel good!
And you've been playing with them for a long time too, when did you guys start playing together?
Well, Devon and me where playing together in college, second year of college. he was on the first record with Josh. Dan came into the band pretty much, maybe a year and a half before we had the new record out... maybe a year.
They're really great together, I love watching them... although you had Steve Dagg playing at the last show, cause Dan went to Germany or something?
Yeah, he went with Jimmy Bowskill or something?
Yeah, a blues guy right?
How was having a new drummer?
Oh, it was great. Steve's great. He's a good drummer and a good friend.
Where you a little concerned at first when I had to find someone?
I was super worried. Cause, I knew all those people coming out to the show. That was the month where we had CBC, and two Guelph shows, A lot of stuff to get through with a new drummer. But Steve came in knowing all the songs, he'd studied them.
There are a lot of interesting things going on...
Yeah, and you can't grab them all, but he grabbed quite a few.
There's a great drum part in "Consolation".
So, you switched labels, from Six Shooter which is more of a folk label to Do Right Music which is more pop, dance....
Yeah, it's not really pop. It's... I don't really know what to say about Do Right, They have IvannaSantilli doing her dance R &B thing... They have Elisabeth Sheppard doing Jazz... Abdominal doing hip-hop, Justis doing hip-hop... TMDP? TMDP which is like... they're DJ's but remix a lot of stuff. And Jun Miyake from France..
Oh yeah, he's crazy..
have you checked it out?
Yeah, I did
Do you have the new record? You have to get it. "Stolen From Strangers"
I only checked out the tracks on the website.
I've had this eye Twitch for like a month...
But he ah, he's on there. So, the label is all over the map. Definitely Jazz Soul R&B Dance...
So does that mean you're going to get some songs remixed?
yeah we're starting to figure out a remix contest, so we've got all the stems, and we're posting on the blog where people can post things and vote. We're planning on putting out a single of the remix, and as well I wanted to possibly, hopefully re-record "Delorla" and "Dancing", with the new arrangements that we've made for them. So yeah, that's the plan. Maybe an EP of remixes/ re recordings.
Great, so the label change, was that.... a label thing, or was it your choice?
I don't know. I could tell you for real.... but maybe not for your blog....
Fair enough! How'd you hook up with Do Right?
I was just recording the record and hoping to find a label. So when I was in between labels, John Kong came into the vocal booth where I was recording cause he was a friends with a guy...
Yeah John Kong. He's the label owner, of Do Right. And he came in, and I knew him from around the city. So he listened and came in another day, and Tim played him some tracks. He really liked it. and wanted to sign me for the record. It seemed like a good idea. He was the first one to take a passion to the project.
Great, so what's they're role? What do they do for you? Just release the album or..
Well, the do, hopefully what a label should do... Their job is to promote it, and, we haven't gotten on a steady tour, because, right before the record was produced, my agent and I parted ways. But now that I have a new management we're working on it. And John's totally supporting the release and is prepared to do anything... well not anything... but fully supporting the album. Now I'm getting excited about it.
So every thing's starting to come together now?
Yeah, I mean, I thought that with this record, I thought things would be together before hand, cause that's what the first record was like. But all this shake up and label changing made it all re-set. I felt like I was re-starting. Which was fine.
That was a lot of Cookie....
It was a good cookie. So when you were writing and recording, what where some of your influences?
Well... A lot of stuff. A lot more older music, I think my favorite year for music was 1969. It seems every album I've loved lately has been from 1969. I was listening to, in terms of the whole horn influence, I was listening to Jaga Jazzists. I wanted to do horn arrangements that were awkward? Not conventional. Like, harmonically, I wanted them to be really interesting. I don't know if you've heard Joe Henry, but his album Tiny Voices. I think he had a bass Clarinetist, Oboe, clarinetist, come in and improve over the recording So there are a lot of weird harmonies, almost, augmented... a lot of dissonant arrangements. Also, a lot of Laura Nyro, Nina Simone, Doris, this old Swede singer from the 60's. Another album from Cold Blood, also Swedish.
A lot of Swedish
Yeah, really into Sweden.
Jaga Jazzist, aren't they from Sweden too?
I think they're from Iceland. But I'm definitely into the swedes. A lot of new artists from there I like. So, then there are the regulars, Ben Folds, a lot of Radiohead.
Did Ben Bowen (Book of Gnomes) help you out with the arrangements on the album?
He just played just trumpet. I did half the arrangements on my own, than about 4 songs Devon and I did together.
There are some great horn arrangements. "Scared" for instance has a great little freak out moment.
Yeah, he basically kept recording, looping it, than taking different chunks of different takes.
So do you have any shows coming up?
We have a CMW showcase for the label and Exclaim at the supermarket. and I have a Joni Mitchel tribute coming up at Hugh's Room, I don't have a ton right now, because I've been so busy doing all the stuff I booked. But we're looking into an East coast tour for the summer. Summer is a ways away, but we're looking to do a full band tour. I just got accepted to the Halifax, East Coast Jazz festival. We're looking at Evolve festival. Trying to book a full tour out there. it's going to cost a lot of money. Logistically we're trying to sort that out now.