Art is an all-encompassing experience; one that uniquely serves individual purpose, while creating community. When an artist produces, they & their mediums, are able to share a personal journey that will transcend to take on meaning for those who are consuming. Everyone seeks an outlet to find solace in. Val Astaire is just that for the man behind the moniker – music, visuals, & an ever-winding creative endeavor.
With a decade of musical projects & touring under the belt, it became evident that Val Astaire needed to explore the vision he had held within for entirely too long. A journey through inspirations & honest thoughts began to shape into sonic musings – hand-crafted visuals to accompany, soon following. With the ground work paved, it came time to build the next pieces with a carefully curated team of fellow creatives.
It was 2018 that saw the collaboration between Val & Christopher Curran (producer, guitarist). The two worked tirelessly on the songs that became the first official release, ‘yellow’. With no time to slow down & ideas continuing to flourish, ‘///,’ was released as the next offering to listeners in 2019. At the hands of the public, the EP has garnered over 300k streams on Spotify. For the next body of work, the two sought out Kyle Blamy (songwriter, producer), Brett Romnes (producer), & Gary Cioni (producer). Hunkered down at barbershop studios, the creative minds at hand have produced the most expressive chapter of material that Val Astaire has offered yet.
In the second half of 2019, “Say You Will” & “Kiss” were released via song, carefully captured video, & expressive artwork. The two singles have collected over 150k Spotify streams & show no signs of stopping. The following piece of the puzzle is, “3am,” – a song transcribing the emotions that come with being an artist. The single & visuallette, featuring photo work by Michaella Bloom, arrived February 7th, 2020. For the next release, a single + official video for “When The Lights Go Out,” will be available March 13th, 2020. These recent presentations are set to come together via the forthcoming album – Fever Dreams.
Val Astaire is here to participate in the creation, consumption, & interpretation of artwork that the world naturally craves. This is his experience, as much as it is everyone who decides to join.
Interview by Lexi Schnell
You are about to release a single titled When The Lights Go Out, what was the inspiration behind the song and the artwork created for it?
WTLGO is the final track on my debut album and I think from the very beginning it felt like it’d be placed that way. There’s a lot of tension in that initial build up in the intro and so I felt not only did it sonically need to feel relieved but also lyrically.
The song is about the last decade of my life. The hardships, the break ups, the friends and family lost, the shortcomings; it’s perspective. I can either choose to use those experiences as excuses, or lessons. I think if I’m going to blame something for the bad, I have to blame it for the good that came out of it as well. This wasn’t just the end of a decade, it was the start of an entirely new journey in my life and that’s where the artwork comes in as well.
The video was directed by Benjamin Lieber who is a phenomenal concept artist and friend of mine. I wanted a visually moving piece that captures the true essence of this song. The album was written while I was still living in NYC and I wanted that portrayed somehow throughout this video in particular. The time lapse of NYC morning to night, playing on the idea of beginning to end mixed with an interpretive dance to represent the freedom of letting go – is what I feel this song truly needed. Ben then came back with the added idea of reverse footage of a ball of yarn unwinding, and whether he had intended it to be this way or not, to me, it was the final piece to the display. It represents something literally and figuratively putting yourself back together. Out of all of the different graphics we tried out for this single artwork, the yarn felt the most appropriate and moving.
How has this solo project been different from your past music endeavors?
It’s more calculated. With everything that has come before this – I was young and ambitious and throwing whatever I could find at a wall to see what sticks. I had dropped out of school and jumped in the back of a van and started touring. The music almost was secondary. I was so focused on what’s next that before I knew it, my little garage band was international and gone 10 months a year. When I started to really reflect on it I realized I had been so preoccupied with running wild that I forgot the whole point of this which was to be something greater than myself. And that’s not to say that it was necessarily a bad thing, like I said I was fresh outta highschool and was living for the moment. But from the time I was 10 or 11 years old, playing guitar in front of the mirror pretending to be my idols, I always dreamed of being more of an artist than a “rockstar”. So becoming Val Astaire and restarting as a solo endeavour, while it’s had its moments of struggle, it has been the most rewarding experience spiritually. I feel like I’m finally doing 10yr old me some justice.
How would you describe your music style?
I draw a lot of influence from everywhere. Having both Chris [Curran] and Kyle [Blamy] heavily involved in this project as well and being primary songwriters on most of these tracks, the style really fluctuates depending on who’s hand is doing the work. Everyone from Whitney Houston to Nine Inch Nails were influential on this album so style wise we’ve tried to make it a point to funnel it all somewhere in between which I think falls in this New Wave/Indie Pop spectrum.
What can we expect from your debut album that will be released later this year?
A lot of confusion. Hahaha. There’s an array of sounds across the board on this album that we took a long time experimenting with and developing. This record’s writing process began almost a year and a half ago at this point, and we’re still as we speak shooting notes back and forth and tweaking. The album is a concept album lyrically in that, the theme is generally present throughout the entire run time, but sonically it was completely based on feel. There are ballads, dance tracks, EDM influenced tracks – we even had some straight down the line rock and roll Chuck Berry sounding tracks (which we’ve put in our back pocket for now) but the point is there was no territory we were afraid of dabbling in. I hope there’s a little something for everyone on this record.
Make sure you look out for Val Astaire’s new single “When The Lights Go Out” releasing March 13th!