This dude was telling me, ‘They’re like early ‘90s stoner or grunge music man, you’ll love it’, and he was right. Valentiine draw heavily on a sound synonymous with that period. Think L7, Breeders and Veruca Salt and you’re half way there. Catching them live for the first time is like a (mild acid) trip down memory lane; but more than that, their songs stand up so strongly they’ll be buzzing around in your head for days.
Love Like, the first single from their about-to-be-released self-titled debut, was launched to a packed Old Bar as a sweet little seven inch earlier in the year. The audience on the night was like a sliding scale of age and musical fancies from old rockers banging away at the rear of the room (including a couple of noted local via Tasmania hardcore exponents) to the cutest bunch of barely legal rock girls dancing circles in the front row. For the band, the leaning towards a known period of rock’n’roll was more a case of saluting what they love than trying to replicate the past. “We’ve all got the same influences,” says singer/guitarist Vanessa V. “I started playing guitar because of Veruca Salt. It’s always gonna come through but with each song we write there’s more of us there if that makes sense. The roots are there, you can still hear where we’re coming from but there’s more of ourselves in there.”
Recorded at Brooklyn Sound by – fellow lover of all things 1994 – Malcolm McDowell, the record is shaped to translate this timelessness of a known aesthetic whilst allowing the quality of writing to shine through the wash of nostalgia. For the band, Vanessa continues, it was hugely important for the recording process to be as light hearted as possible. “The record came off sounding exactly the way we wanted it to sound. We were really worried about recording with someone who’s pushy or that we didn’t feel comfortable with, but we just gelled. It was always fun, the sessions never dragged and were never boring. We just fucked around really and somehow made a record.
“I don’t think we’d record with someone that didn’t like the music we like. I couldn’t imagine as an engineer sitting through hours and hours of music that you didn’t even like. He was passionate about the stuff we laid down. It wasn’t audacious; it was just laid back and really cool.”
Having packed out the Old Bar for the single launch, Valentiine are stepping it up a notch for this Saturday’s album launch at Melbourne’s veritable home of rock’n’roll the Tote. With a cluster of worthy bands on offer on the night, it already smacks of one of those, not infrequent, all-killer bills the venue is famous for. For Valentiine it goes hand in hand with being based in this city – the diversity and quality of acts on offer every week is unsurmountable. “I don’t know if Melbourne’s always been this way, we feel really privileged,” she continues. “Yes there are a lot of bands but there’s so much really great stuff happening, it’s buzzing. The venues, especially places like Old Bar or the Tote really know how to put together a good bill.
“The reason we wanted the Tote for the album launch was that the first time we played there was a Tuesday night and we felt like absolute rock gods. There was no one there, like five people or something. Then we played there a ridiculous amount of times. I think they have this rule where you can’t play there twice in one month, so we’d change the name of the band and play second time. It just became a second home like it is for a lot of bands I guess. The Tote is so a part of the record, it wouldn’t feel right anywhere else.”