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Hi Val! I found that any time I told someone about your music, and they asked for an album recommendation, I always leaned towards Slow Down Kid and Little Daggers. I figure they each have songs that have more pop/mass appeal (especially LD) and thus increases their chances of getting into your music (which has worked!). You have such an amazing writing range, from deeply introspective words & music (i.e. Buldozzzer) to pop as mentioned. Do you foresee writing a more "pop" type record again? -TM

Asked by
Anonymous

Thanks for recommending my music. I’m not sure I have the best perspective on my own material. I’ll leave it to all of you who listen to determine which albums are “pop” and which are not. Looking back, I think “Looking For A Feeling…” was a pure pop record. But that was five years ago now.

I never know what music I’ll make next, only that it will be different from the record that preceded it. I notice that my releases tend to zigzag in mood and I think that has to do with me constantly reacting to what I’ve just done and trying to push into some untested frontier. I hate repeating myself and yet I always do. It seems I’m always trying to figure out the same things: why am I here? what am I doing? how do I get more out of this? why are you and I not connecting? I want to be included and I want to be left alone. I want to be noticed and ignored. I, I, I, I. Help, help, help. Give me meaning, hold me, love me, stand for something, be pure, real, true, don’t fuck me over, don’t fuck all of us over, make me understand, make me feel alive. You get it.

More pop coming? Maybe, not sure, probably, we’ll see. I’ve been working on something for over a year now and I have no idea if it’s on the pop side or the experimental side. I’ve lost myself in the process. That’s part of the zigzagging: some releases are spontaneous and organic and pushed out without belaboring. Others are fiddled with over and over until they get close to some vision in my head. Little Daggers was a case of the latter. We shall see.

I can say this of the latest material: I’m trying to be new.

Do you watch tv show The Boondocks? It's anime-ish with elevator music and razor-sharp cultural satire/criticism. It's pretty great and depressing. Or Louie? I love a mix of comedy and despair. I think that's why I connect with you. Funny, lighthearted but also living in the space between depression and euphoria, or whatever the wording you used was.

Asked by
Anonymous

I’ve never seen The Boondocks but I LOVE Louie. This season has been particularly good. I’m honored to be mentioned in the same breath. Thank you.

It appears my lips are ever so slightly out of sync with my voice. Seems fitting.

Hopefully this video blog answers the two questions below. If not, I’ve also offered some words to read (and a graph).

michaelhbf asked a question: Hey Val-en-teen.. or was it Val-en-tine? It used to be in your About Me, I’m sure it was the first one. When is the next video blog / q&a? The last one was super.

VE: You can say it either way. The first way is the Russian way and the second way is how it was always pronounced in my household growing up.

Anonymous asked a question: First of all, how are you? Hopefully all is well. I sometimes feel like I know you from how raw and personal your music is and because there hasn’t been any new music, I feel I don’t know how you are these days. Although this argument is weak, since I don’t actually know you, but yeah how are you and do you have any new music in the works?

VE: I take it as a supreme compliment that you sense a real person when you listen to my music. Because how often do you feel that when you listen to music these days? For me, not often enough. I search and search for the person inside. I know it’s a cliche to pooh-pooh today’s music in favor of yesterday’s music, but it’s true. There’s more music being recorded today than ever before, so it should stand to reason that it’s harder to find the good stuff. So again, thank you for finding me and feeling something.

I’ve been making music on and off for a year and a half now. Most of it hasn’t been recorded. They’re just ideas. But I’ve got a good chunk of new stuff recorded and waiting. Waiting. The thing is I’ve become trigger shy and it has to do with what I just spoke of above—too much music being made. With Bandcamp and other tools, it’s so easy to put yourself out there. But I wish less people would put themselves out there or just be more discriminating about what they put out and how often. I realize this may be controversial to say. And I’m not even sure it matters. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the thing to do is just release everything and let the “people” decide if it’s worth listening to. I go back and forth. I’ve been so close to posting new stuff. I figure, fuck it, put it out there. But then I pull back. Because I don’t want to deal with what happens next: I’ll constantly refresh my page to see how many people played the song. And Bandcamp will show me how many people played it to the end, or stopped it, or clicked to something else. Or I’ll check YouTube or SoundCloud. Same thing. It drives me mad. I don’t want 100 plays or even a 1000 or even 10,000. I want everyone. That’s embarrassing to say. But it’s the truth.

J.D. Salinger kept writing for decades, but he didn’t release what he wrote. He tried to put the value in the work itself and not the reaction to that work. I don’t think I can do what he did. But I do admire it. Then again, he didn’t seem like the happiest fella. Just ask his kids.

All that said, I really am hoping/trying to get something out soon.

I love the random question on this site. I wonder if you would mind me asking you a two part question (beside that)? What type of computer do you use most often and what internet browser do you use?

Asked by
Anonymous

When home I use my iMac. Out and about I use my mini iPad (not a computer, technically, but I use it like one). My MacBook Pro gave out last year and left me for the first time in my adult life without a laptop. At times I feel it’s better this way. Maybe there’s no longer a need for a laptop. But other times I feel ill-equipped to handle simple tasks.

Browsers are a different story. I go through phases, fluctuating between Firefox, Chrome and Safari. There are things I like about each. But I don’t love one above the others. Lately, it’s been Firefox and it seems to be slowing down my whole system, making me grit my teeth in rage. Perhaps it’s the thirty tabs I have open.

Is your music style affected when you are working with other artists you have not before, (such as when you're playing together in a show)? After your wrote Posthaste, do you tend to open up to people more or stay untrustworthy, both, you don't know, or would rather not say? Have you heard of Linda Perhacs? If so, how would you feel if you were asked to work with her?

Asked by
Anonymous

A) Sure, it can be. It depends whether that artist is inspiring to me or not. All sorts of things affect me on a daily basis and come out later in my art. Different factors are at play: what I’m going through in my life, timing, mood, etc. I love to be inspired. I’m waiting all the time to be inspired. The more you experience, the harder it is to find those things that shake you. But I’m still looking. Always looking.

B) The writing of Posthaste didn’t have any affect on whether or not I trust people. Same as above. If the mood and timing is right and the vibe is happening, I’m open to the experience of sharing art with anyone. Yes, as the story goes, there was a time in the middle of my career when I was burned and thus grew suspicious of new people trying to steer or shape my music. But that was before I had full confidence in my abilities. That doesn’t happen anymore, because I know who I am.

C) I have never heard of Linda Perhacs. Are you Linda Perhacs? Are you asking me to work with you? If so, what a long build up, no? Or perhaps Linda Perhacs is some huge artist that I should already know and now I look foolish that I said I didn’t know her and I presumed that she’d have the time or interest to contact me directly. Damn. You’re laughing at me. Now I’m suspicious of you. I don’t trust you. Okay, not really. I’m just playing.  I’m also resisting the temptation to google Linda Perhacs. I will not do it. This I promise. Btw…feel free to email me at ve.newsletter@gmail.com if you’re inquiring about a collaboration.