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It's a funny thing, growing older and feeling that age. It's kind that kind of weary that settles in on some days when you're wondering when something, despite all your best efforts in trying to make it happen, is gonna change. I just wanted to say it's been a pleasure having your albums when one particularly needs them. (Boy Who Cried Wolf is still as raw and meaningful as ever.) Will we be seeing more of you in the near future?

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I’m going to combine this with another question I recently received from an Anonymous user: "Your music never fails to make me happy and watching you perform live is like chrismukkah. When will you grace the stage in New York or Philadelphia again? (Soon please!)"

I’m flattered that my music means something to you both of you. I feel lucky. And I totally relate to the idea of waiting for that breakthrough. So much of my life I feel like I’m just repeating myself. Which is why I haven’t released music in a while. I’m trying not to repeat myself and part of that involves forging into new territories. Then again, sometimes more of the same is a good thing. You see how my mind fights against itself?

I’ve been getting the itch to play again. But I haven’t been able to follow through. You’ve encouraged me. I will try.

Where can i buy a poster of you? I want you on my wall :)

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I have a few different poster designs somewhere over here. I can send you one if you don’t happen to live on Mars. Email me at ve.newsletter@gmail.com.

"You’ve typed me this question, you reached out, so you’re already on your way." Are you on your way? When you answer us, is that you reaching out? We want you to be ok, too.

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I’m peachy. Don’t worry about me.

Hey Val, I was wondering what you do when you feel like your life has been shot to hell?

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I wish I had an answer. What do I do? I think drastic thoughts, feel too restless to sleep, too disillusioned to put on clothes, want to rip somebody’s fucking head off, my own included, and then time goes on and I slowly share with others and they remind me that so many have it much worse (if you widen your circle enough) and I get some distance on “hell” and “hell” seems more like a bump than a valley or a chasm or a hole that can’t be dug out of. I survive, is the short answer. Because I don’t know what else to do.

You’ve typed me this question, you reached out, so you’re already on your way.

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

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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.

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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.