Tuesday, December 29, 2015
A Ripple Conversation with Paul Valle of the Chiefs
When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.
What have been your musical epiphany moments?
I love hearing people talk about growing up and how they're parents played Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, Led Zeppelin, etc... As a child, I had absolutely no music in my household or any sort of musical direction. It wasn't til 6th grade when I had my first musical epiphany with a Black Flag cassette, discovering Punk Rock. The fast, aggressive style was addicting as a young teen, perfect for skating Phoenix suburbs and breaking windows. A band like Black Flag inspired me to start playing music as I thought, "if these guys can do it, I can do it..."
Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?
No process is set in stone but usually we'll come up with a riff and build from there, adding lyrics after the song structure is formed.
Who has influenced you the most?
Musically its almost impossible to say...I have been influenced by so many different types of music and artists but if I had to pick a direct Chiefs influence, Fu Manchu is certainly up there.
Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?
I am a bit of a nomad and have been inspired by moving and living in different cities. Seeing music and doing music in all these places, meeting so many great musicians all over has really inspired me. The community in heavy music has itself been very inspiring. Not only do we take inspiration from great bands but great people and leaders also. Although we do not focus on "politics" in our music, we are very inspired by people who stand up for truth. People who risked and gave their lives for their beliefs and struggle. Our society and world has been diseased with toxic business culture, with profit over people, with poverty and inequality. We are inspired by truth seekers and the ones willing to fight and the ones that have fought for a better future of humanity.
We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?
Growing up in Phoenix, it was a love/hate relationship that is definitely reflective in our music. There wasn't much to do. Attending/playing shows usually kept me out of trouble and provided me dreams and hope. Dreams to get out and see the country through music. Phoenix is a great place but there is a lot of struggle in the desert. A lot of racism and inequality that was very noticeable at a early age. Phoenix has a direct influence on me when it comes to "following my dreams" of being a musician and also in the way I see and treat people as a whole.
Where'd the band name come from?
The name Chiefs reflects on our commitment to truth and a toast to all the greats that influenced me as a person. Again, coming from PHX I was influenced by pre colonized life, the indigenous people who inhabited the area and the history of the land itself. It's a salute of respect to many greats.
Tell us about witchcraft, what it means to you and your life?
The band or the practice?..hah we dig the band, the practice or term means nothing to me.
You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?
"There Will Be Blood."
You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?). You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?
Black Sabbath "War Pigs" simply for how revolutionary the music itself was let alone the message of the song. There's a lot to say for that time and sound, as history just keeps repeating itself...
What is you musical intention? What are you trying to express or get your audience to feel?
It is mainly self expression. I don't write lyrics about bongs or doom metal concepts, rather about personal struggles, world struggles, and simply on how i feel. I think people can relate simply because everyone struggles to find their way in life or the true calling of their destiny.
Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?
Probably the best Chiefs spinal tap moment was when I was briefly in LA. Jeff had just joined the band and was playing bass for one tour (as we were still a three piece then). He was in San Diego while I was in LA working with a new drummer at the time and I told him the wrong tuning for ALL the songs, so when Jeff arrived in LA to prepare for tour with us he had to relearn ALL the songs in a few days. Needless to say, I fucked up but Jeff was hardly phased and no one would've ever know. Haha
Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?
Performing live is without a doubt my favorite part about making music. For me, it is a release of emotion and demons I can't rid anywhere else. It is a euphoric state where I cant feel the world bearing down on me, nor can I think about anything at all. I am purely lost in the moment and the music. Because of this too, I couldn't really tell you what Chiefs fans see or feel.
What makes a great song?
Passion. We've all seen bands "going through the motions" but the bands with true passion and fire, you can tell. Fire, passion and genuine emotion are needed.
Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?
It was a one minute, punk rock jam written when I was in my first band as a young teen. Simple, mean and fast.
What piece of your music are particularly proud of?
Our newest recording (not yet released) is our most proud. Five songs for a split LP with our good friends Desert Suns set for release on Ripple Music, mid 2016.
Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?
There are so many bands in the heavy music scene that are writing killer stuff. There's a lot of good stuff out in the "underground" right now but unfortunately theres just as much trend and clicks to it as well, which really kicks my ass. Also the fact that nothing mainstream is good anymore. Like in the 90's there were a selected few...now it seems to be all bullshit in the mainstream.
Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?
Of course as a music lover, vinyl is the most rewarding. Sounds the best and looks the best but I'll take whatever I can get.
Whiskey or beer? And defend your choice.
Whiskey, no doubt. I can't drink beer without getting gnarly hungover. You can call it, "the Caroline curse". Beer just doesn't run in my blood.
We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?
Phoenix Arizona! Revolver Records and the heavyweight champs, Zia Records. Of course there's also the legendary Eastside records in Tempe.
What's next for the band?
We just finished recording our newest material set for release in 2016 and couldn't be happier about it. We are also currently booking Chiefs' first full US tour set for June 2016. Dates will be posted soon.
Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?
Thank you and rock on!
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