Valient Thorr transcended through space to bring their party-metal to the masses with their latest album Old Soul. The band, who hails from the planet Venus, are on the Vans Warped Tour this summer and we were fortunate enough to sit down with singer Valient Himself at the Denver stop to talk about the new record, partying, and changes in perspective.
GTV: You guys have been a band for nearly 20 years. What do you attribute your longevity to?Valient Himself: I think one of the biggest things is the meaning behind the message. We had so many questions during interviews about life on Venus and asking why we care about American politics. Well, we’re here now so that’s what we care about. You talk about where you are and what you do with your time while you’re there. As you go along, you find what’s important to you. There are tons of examples of bands who have prolonged their career never having radio play just because they had fans that believed in what they were doing, whether it was the music or the message. I think we have a good combination of those things; they’re either in it for the rock and roll or they’re in it for the whole idea.
GTV: Valiant Thorr has always been a very politically charged band. How do you plan on using your time here on Earth to change or influence the political atmosphere?
VH: Like I said, we’ve been around for a long time. The whole time leading up to 2000 it was banging your head for world peace. Then up into 2012, it was that the world is going to end in, lets get everyone to stop war at the same time. If you could get everyone in the world to pause for just a minute and really think about what they are doing using something that crosses languages like music, the world would be a more peaceful place. In the politically charged climate we have today, you have people that care now who haven’t given a shit in years now that they see that it affects their lives. You could throw out politics or religion and just say that this is a humanitarian thing. It’s about being on this planet together; you have to find your own place.
GTV: Your album Old Salt came out about a year ago and the sound seems to be a culmination of all your previous albums. Was it a conscious decision to incorporate the more straightforward style of the older albums with the heavier style of the newer albums or did it come naturally?
VH: I think it makes sense to see the album like that. We haven’t toured in the States with this album, but have done three European tours. We’re super proud of it, it’s our seventh, it’s the first album we did all by ourselves. We recorded it at a studio in North Carolina. It was kind of by design because the first song has no intro, it comes right out of the sixth album into the seventh and it starts off like a typical Valient Thorr song. From there, we divulge back through our catalog and see what our strengths were. There are heavier metal parts, more punk parts, all the things people have said we are. Through the last few albums we’ve thought more about song structure and as you get older and have influential people in your life pass away, it puts things into prospective and gets you to think about something in a different way. For example, Lemmy Kilmister asked me if I liked Tom Petty. When I said no, he made me listen to two albums in a row. Years later, I played a New Years show with The Avett Brothers and we covered a Tom Petty song. It opened my eyes to the song structure that I wouldn’t have listened to otherwise. You have to put your personal perspective aside for the art. Even things you don’t like, you can figure out why people like it and use it in your own song structure. We paid attention to things that we hadn’t necessarily paid attention to before; there are more chorus driven songs on there.
GTV: Your previous label shut down shortly after you released your album Our Own Masters. How did this poor timing affect the band?
VH: It was a bummer because the record came out and we were on a four-month tour. In the middle of that, my father passed away, and then everything started to fall apart. We all just needed to take care of our own things. A couple of guys had babies, I’m getting married; life shit happened that we had gone 10 solid years with none of that happening. We had a guy chase us and keep us on this thing. We knew we wanted to get back on it, just in our own time.
GTV: Valient Thorr’s performances are known for being a metal party. Has the band been living up to the party lifestyle on tour?
VH: I think we used to, I don’t know about now. We sometimes do; it’s all according to timing. When you’re younger, you don’t give a shit. As you get older, you get more responsibilities and you have to come through with those; people are depending on you. And your body is not meant to party all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to shit on anyone’s party. I love to party, but you have to take care of yourself if you want to party for a long time.
GTV: You have toured with some big names that were influences on you. Do you get star struck anymore when meeting one of your idols or have you adapted?
VH: Absolutely! I get star struck by people who aren’t even famous that I just admire, whether it’s a comic book writer, or an artist, or a musician that I’ve been a fan of since I was young. What blows me away is when someone you admire comes up and tells you that they’re a fan of your work. It blows my mind. I try to save notes on my phone to somehow try and remember them; some of the shit that happens out there is incredible if you just keep going.
GTV: You’ll be touring the rest of the summer on Warped Tour. Does the band have any plans for the fall that we need to know about?
VH: I will entertain any offer that comes after this, but I’m getting hitched up to my Earth sweetheart in September. We’ll see what happens after.
GTV: Just one last question; do you think you’re ever going to make it back to Venus or are you really stuck here forever?
VH: You never know what’s going to happen. If we are here indefinitely then I’m okay with that. I like it here and I have made it my home.
Catch Valient Thorr on the Vans Warped Tour
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