Today is a special day. Today’s the day we unleash the interview that we were too damn traumatized to listen back to after it happened. A while back this music fan got to sit down with the humorous and sophisticated Dick Valentine, lyricist and frontman of…ah, you know who! And the conversation couldn’t be more baffling, comedic, and potentially offensive. As a big ‘No thanks’ to normal social etiquette, societal conventions, and general normality, here it is, as it happened. Adam Levine, stay out of here, you’re not wanted.
S] Dick! How’s the tour going?
D] “This particular tour? Oh. It’s been multinational, multicultural, we’ve been to Russia, we’ve been to Paris, saw Jim Morrison’s grave for the first time, so that was neat. Every tour you get to do a bit of sightseeing along the way, and that all adds up to your experience as a human being.”
S] What’s it been like touring the new album and getting the new songs heard?
D] “I think the new album is filled with positive energy. A lot of the new songs are fun to play, I wish we could play more. We always have this thing where once we learn four or five songs we tend to just stop learning new songs, so hopefully in the future we’ll do more.”
S] Were there any deliberate changes made? It’s a different vibe to the electronics of the previous album.
D] “Yeah, the big part of it was that we’d just done a synth record. We didn’t utilise our drummer as much on that one, and we wanted to make sure that he played on every track because he’s an amazing drummer, and he really took one for the team on the synth album so, we just wanted to make a guitar album, that was the idea going into it.”
S] Any live favourites?
D] “So far ‘New Shampoo’, that’s a lot of fun, as well as ‘Adam Levine’, those are the two that I’m really enjoying.”
S) That’s one of my favourites on there! It’s a heavy one.
D] “Well that’s the idea. He inspires those emotions. You look at somebody like that and you wonder how it’s possible. It’s similar to the thing where you’re dealing with your parents, sometimes the only thing you can do is turn up your guitar really loud and express yourself.”
S] Was it the man himself that inspired all that hatred?
D] “He just looks like a dick. He just seems like the kinda guy, where it’s like, who thought it’d be a good idea to sign him in the first place? Then he just becomes more and more of a D-bag. It’s routed in jealousy. He gets to be on the radio, so why don’t we get to be on the radio? But that’s the way of the world, you have to live your life and take it one day at a time, but if we can rationalise Adam Levine along the way it’s not just for us it’s for everybody.”
S] He’s one of the most frustrating things about the industry.
D] “That’s the thing about Levine, just look at him.”
S] Those videos of him singing and dancing are enough incentive to hate him.
D] “Oh yeah, start there.”
S] There’s been a lot of changes since the release of ‘Fire’, line-up alterations etc. how do you stay motivated?
D] “Personally I love touring. I really enjoy being around the people in the band, and really enjoy a lot of these songs. I have the perspective of getting a record deal later in life, so most of us had a decade of working shitty jobs and realising that with all the ups and downs of being in a band it’s still better than driving a forklift or working in a cubicle. So we’re very lucky to be in this position, that’s what motivates us.”
S] How do you guys throw a song together?
D] “It can go any number of ways. We have people in the band who write amazing music, who are also getting better at home recording and doing their own thing. A lot of the songs lately they just map ‘em out musically and then it’s up to me to write the lyrics, so a lot of the best songs I have nothing to do with musically, but it can be a collaboration of me and one other guy or the whole band…there’s no formula.”
S] I guess there’s a lot of bands out there who bring it together just through jamming.
D] “That’s one thing we don’t do. There was an attempt to jam for this album but we don’t get together and rehearse, the songs are more done on computers. We record them first and then learn to play them live. We don’t structure it at all. We put zero pressure on ourselves to do anything. For some people it works, others it doesn’t. Look at their body of work, look at ours. It all depends on who you are. I mean, clearly something’s working for Adam Levine, but it isn’t working for me. Whatever’s working for him isn’t working for me. What’s working for me probably isn’t working for him.”
S] Your lyrics are very interesting. What inspires you to write the kind of stuff you do?
D] “Thanks to having a little phone like this [shows phone], it’s easier for me to write snippets of lyrics when I think of them, then look at what I’ve written down. I’ve always said that I write about nuclear war and the devil and fast cars and tight teenage girls, because that seems more exciting, it makes me seem like I’m coming from a much more exciting place than I’m actually coming from, so it’s smoke and mirrors, I’m not an exciting person, but you can use lyrics to make people think you are.”
S] What advice would you give to new bands who are trying to get their foot in the door?
D] “Depends on the band and what your realistic expectations are. It’s really tough to make a band these days, I don’t know how it works over here anymore, we’ve been a DIY band for a long time now so I don’t know what record labels are looking for, but in this day and age to take a band to the next level you have to be marketed by somebody, because people are sheep and they need to be told what to like.”
S] What are your plans for 2014?
D] “More of the same. More touring, making a new album. Touring, make a new album. Touring, make a new album. I mean, one album, three tours, so how about make a new album, then touring touring touring?”
S] Nice and straight forward.
D] “There you go, it’s groundhog day, but it’s a great groundhog day. We’re definitely looking to doing album number ten!”
S] The big ten…
D] “The big ten! That’s it. Let’s at least get to ten then see where we’re at.”