￼(Photo above: Saints of Valory (l to r) Godfrey Thomson (guitar, vocals), Gavin Jasper (lead vocals and bass), Kenny Bozich (drums) and Stephen Buckle (keyboards/vocals) at Coachella April 12, 2014. Photo credit: Jake Gould)
Sometimes you hear a song and it instantly connects with your soul. Saints of Valory “Long Time Coming” broke all records surpassing my usual 20 second standard wherein a song is either discounted by me or grabs my ear and holds my attention. “A Long Time Coming” had me in the first five seconds with opening line, “Try laughing until life starts to make sense.” How could it not? A gorgeous arena sounding rock ballad mashing up the likes of U2 and Imagine Dragons, this song hits at the core message that hard work pays off with a melody that replays in your head and lyrics that hang on your heart.
One listen and you will understand why I added Saints of Valory, at the bottom of the Outdoor Theatre (the second biggest stage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival) lineup, to the top of my “must interview” list. With a new EP “V” out later this month, Saints of Valory is one to watch.
It was Saturday, April 12, 2014 on weekend one of Coachella when Saints of Valory opened up the day at noon welcoming the heat wave and the popular music festival’s crowd onto the Polo field. By the time we met up a few hours later, the wind was blowing something fierce and dust was edible. We hid inside the air conditioned artist trailer to chat about how the band’s “Possibilities,” their new music and inspiration for Saints of Valory’s “Long Time Coming.”
We begin to discuss their influences in music growing up that lend to the development of the band’s retro rock songs. They joke a bit about pop bands of their youth then says Stephen Buckles (keyboards/vocals), “I wasn’t allowed to listen to a lot of secular music, because my parents didn’t allow it. I had to like sneak radio. When I was choosing my music later on in my teenage years, it was Oasis, Coldplay, big rock bands like that whose music connected with me in some way.”
With music from their EP “Possibilities” entering the Top 50 on Triple A Radio*, I ask the band what they think are the possibilities for Saints of Valory moving forward. Says Gavin Jasper (vocals and bass), “I think the trajectory of a good band…it’s just a lot of hard work and writing really good songs. If you can accomplish those two things, the sky’s the limit.” Adds Godfrey Thomson, (guitar, vocals), “We’re a very ambitious band…we definitely have dreams and of course playing on a huge stage like this where we are sharing it with Lorde and other great acts is obviously an awesome thing. We’ve shared stages with Muse and Zac Brown Band, we’ve done that but we definitely have our sights set on going as far as we can go. That’s why we called our EP ‘Possibilities’ and you know our new single is ‘Long Time Coming.’ We feel like we’ve been at this for a while and things are starting to now go our way. So it’s exciting. It’s an exciting time for us as a young band to see doors open that we never thought were a possibility.”
Of the energetic huge ballad “Long Time Coming,” we chat about the long hours and dedication bands put in that fans often don’t see. I ask Saints of Valory what they feel has brought them to this level and what part of success is most validating. Stephen Buckles answers first, “The perseverance of course is what gets you anywhere, when you just keep going even though it doesn’t make sense financially, logistically, all of those things. That’s the extra 10% that separates the winners from the people that don’t win. Knowing that this is what this is what we’re supposed to do is huge because then you have the confidence that you can take some hits because you know you’re just going to pop back up, that’s all you know how to do is play and write music.”
The band has a fourth upcoming EP set for release on May 20, 2014 called “V” and of the new music Godfrey Thomson says, “we’re excited about the release. It’s going to be three songs off of the LP that will be on there. And there will be a new awesome version of ‘Long Time Coming’ cause that’s the new single. One thing about our band is we write a lot actually and we like to put out music. But when you get signed and stuff you kind of have to go with their schedule–them as the label–so we’ve kind of been ‘let’s put out music people want it and we have it’ so we’re excited about this new EP. Hopefully after that we’ll do the full length but there’s no date on that.”
INTERVIEW PHOTOS (photos taken by Jake Gould)
Gavin Jasper answers, “I think ‘Long Time Coming’ for me is…you know we’re a fairly new band, you know we’ve been around for four years, but we’ve been playing music since we were kids 7 years old. So that’s where the long road I think comes from not necessarily just this band but just in our lives. Just dreams of playing some of the stages that we’ve played in. Playing with some of the great musicians that we’ve played with, doing two Red Rock’s last year, you know best most beautiful amphitheater in the world. I think some of those things are definitely encouraging.”
Drummer Kenny Bozich says, “For me, my ‘Long Time Coming’ is, I’ve been touring for a while and I’ve been looking for a band to play with like this. I’ve been wanting to play music like this and find guys that are passionate about music and I found it. I’m brand new to the band and I love it. I love this. So that’s my long time coming, is playing with these guys.”
Godfrey adds, “We’ve been playing so long and been in many bands and projects…the years start to tick by and you’re like, ‘Well, we never really tried anything for real.’ So that’s when I called up Gavin and we’re like, ‘We should do something for real. We should give it a shot.’ …That’s what made us drop everything we were doing and flew to Brazil and took time to write some songs and see if there was chemistry. So all that to say it just feels like all our early experiences and all of the bands we’ve been in and everything we’ve learned has been for this.”
WE ASKED SAINTS OF VALORY
Q: What is the last album that you downloaded or purchased?
Kenny Bozich: Hammock
Stephen Buckle: Alabama Shakes “Boys and Girls”
Gavin Jasper: Kodaline
Godfrey Thomson: The 1975
Q: If you had to choose one song title to describe your personality, any song in the world, what would it be?
Stephen Buckle: “Satisfaction”
Gavin Jasper: “I’d probably go with a Beatles song.” Stephen suggests, “Fool On A Hill” and Godfrey jokes, “The Beatles entire body of work.”)
Godfrey Thomson: “I’m a double Gemini so that’s like four personalities and I’d need four songs. …But at Coachella, I’m feeling ‘Sex’ from The 1975 is probably good for me.”
Kenny Bozich: “Missing You Like Candy”
Saints of Valory is Gavin Jasper (lead vocals and bass), Godfrey Thomson (guitar, vocals), Kenny Bozich (drums) and Stephen Buckle (keyboards/vocals). Saints of Valory is signed to Atlantic Records.
on tour with Eric Hutchinson
Please check http://www.erichutchinson.com/tour/ and http://www.saintsofvalory.com/ for updates and changes.
5/7 Gothic Theatre Englewood, CO
5/8 Slowdown Omaha, NE
5/10 Wooly’s Des Moines, IA
5/11 Varsity Theater Minneapolis, MN
5/13 Magestic Theatre Madison, WI
5/14 House of Blues Chicago, IL
5/15 House of Blues Cleveland, OH
*”Neon Eyes” (Atlantic) debuts on Triple A at No. 27. The song appears on the quartet’s EP “Possibilities,” which bowed on Heatseekers Albums at No. 21 in July . [see more http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/5694956/bubbling-under-saints-of-valory-march-in-midnight-red-finds-home]
By Nicole Hanratty with Jake Gould
Posted May 4, 2014