When you’re young and full of hope (before the bastards grind you down), everyone wants to move to America and live the dream. Leave their small, normal lives in Blighty behind and set sail for the glitz and glamour of the country that gave us squeezable cheese. Of course, this isn’t for everyone, but one band from Cornwall took a trip to the States that could change everything…
You might not know the name Vales, but after a year-long break they returned this February with the mighty Wilt And Rise full-length on 6131 Records – who just happen to be based in Los Angeles. So the band upped sticks for a US tour and, while out there, took the time to do some work.
“We started talking [with the label] and it became a great opportunity to work with producer Alex Estrada,” says vocalist Chlo Edwards. “I’d heard the Touché Amoré and Joyce Manor records he did and we fell in love with how he captures a band’s live, raw sound. We wanted to work with someone that could capture that energy.”
And it’s easy to see why Vales’ live sound is so integral to the plan, as they’ve been honing the craft of touring and raising the game on stage for years – from tiny dive bars to big-ass tents at Reading and Leeds, there’s a reason Vales rarely sit still.
“I just love playing the music live,” Chlo notes. “It feels better to make that human connection with people and have them as part of the song as opposed to us playing in a cold studio.”
Cold being the operative word. Having signed to 6131, Vales were suddenly up against deadlines and wrote the follow-up to 2012’s Clarity record in three months in not-exactly-luxurious conditions.
“We wrote Wilt And Rise in the winter in a barn on sand dunes in the middle of nowhere. It was freezing. We were playing in gloves and coats and hats all the time!” admits Chlo. And it might be these conditions that led to it being such an abrasive record compared to the post-metal leanings of Clarity. “I think the sound is down to the atmosphere we wrote it in,” agrees Chlo. “It affected us emotionally.”
But then again, what would you expect from a band whose frontwoman is in love with one of the most erratic bands on the planet? “Mike Davies’ Punk Show introduced me to The Dillinger Escape Plan. I won tickets to see them, so I went to my first hardcore show when I was 15 and missed my GCSEs! But seeing Greg Puciato live, that made me want to start a band. Their energy compelled me to play hardcore.” Cheers for that one, Greg.
WILT AND RISE IS OUT NOW VIA 6131/o:p