Sometimes the way music makes us feel is inexplicable as it has the ability to bring us relief in serendipitous ways. I remember first stumbling upon VALENTINE's track "Her", a few months back. As extravagant as it sounds, upon initial listening, "Her" seemed to be aligned to where I was in life at that fleeting moment. The shimmering synths seemed to perfectly tesselate with my emotions and the nostalgic chords found comfort in mind. Following that stand out release, VALENTINE has showcased his skills in an infectious remix of Kid Froopy's "bb (four missed texts)", released via Moving Castle. Additionally, innovative electronic producers Xavi, halpe, NRMN and blake skowron added their own spin to the instant classic of "Her" in remixes. After "Her", I've been following VALENTINE closely and have constantly been blown away by his ability to construct synthetic beats that evoke the purest of human emotions. Today we present to you a brief talk we shared with the up and coming producer, as well as his sweet new remix of BASECAMP's "In Stone."
At merely 19 years old, VALENTINE holds a talent that falls far beyond his years. The producer hailing from Kansas City has a unique sound that would typically take years to master. He cites "Newjack" by French House grandmasters Justice as his introduction to electronic music. After playing around with GarageBand in 5th grade, VALENTINE evolved to using FL Studio and eventually Ableton to construct his work. The producer cites a handful of names both big and small as inspiration, including the likes of Rustie, Porter Robinson, Mr. Carmack, Halpe, blake skowron, Xavi, harris cole and more. When asked about dream collaborations, VALENTINE mentioned that Porter Robinson would be at the top of the list and added "I’m happy to say a lot of the collaborations I’ve dreamed about in the past are currently in progress, so just keep an eye out for those to come out in due time!”.
What makes VALENTINE's sound so appealing, is his consistent approach which makes his sound cohesive as he constructs an elusive identity. VALENTINE's musical identity is difficult to encapsulate in words. His electronic sound falls from tragic to sweet. It dawdles through kawaii melodies, your childhood Fisher Price piano and a heavy dose of distortion and bittersweet tones. It's dimensional and grand, but in turn takes you to a small intimate space. It's your childhood self meeting the current you. In simple terms, VALENTINE's aesthetic is ultimately a beautiful paradox. With each track he audibly draws out uplifting sounds while also extracting unfamiliar somber emotions.
"It's always been super difficult for me to describe. I would probably describe it as really emotion-inducing electronic music borrowing sounds from the 80s-90s as well as more glitchy sounds and elements of modern electronica.”
In regards to the producer's creative process, VALENTINE states that current events from both the outside world and his personal life feeds him inspiration. When observing the artist's overall aesthetic, it's evident that VALENTINE considers visual components to his branding. His Soundcloud page is riddled in a heavy dose of pink pastels and simple clip art graphics that reference a vapor wave approach.
“...Recently I've stepped out of my comfort zone a little and started experimenting with other mediums with the help of the my graphic designer Radimir Koch. That being said, I’m currently working on live visuals, music videos and such, all of which will come to fruition soon. I’m super excited about it.”
Simplicity also seems to be key for the artist when it comes to tools for production of music, he states, "I just like to sit on the couch with my laptop and my headphones. Lots of people think that a big studio with lots of hardware is essential to good production, but what really matters is what's inside your brain and how it translates to the project.”.
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In today's premiere, EARMILK presents VALENTINE's rendition of BASECAMP's "In Stone". VALENTINE completely flips the track by blanketing the original with a glitchy overcoat. The rework is a poignant disintegration, using striking frequencies to build emotional tension within listeners. The final drop of the work mimics a weathered down robot, attempting to deliver a message in his last moments. With this remix, VALENTINE takes on a more jarringly cryptic sound and mentions his desire to explore "darker and heavier sound since a lot of my songs recently have been lighter and more upbeat".
When it comes down to it, VALENTINE is so much more than another Soundcloud producer making quirky beats that are easily dismissed. His music touches our most vulnerable sensitivities and brushes upon strokes of nostalgia and reminiscence. Through his music, VALENTINE carefully curates sounds to titilate our senses at their full potential. Call it future bass, robot glitch, distorted beats or whatever you will. What's clear is that through the brokenness and glitch found in VALENTINE's songs, is an unearthed beauty of thriving human emotion.
“I think the message that I would like to convey would be that we as a society have become so numb, clocking in and out, paying bills, eating junk, and criticizing others, and because of all of this, the individual soul has died in a sense. We have all forgotten how the path of life works. Life is not simply an uneventful one-way ticket to death; we are individuals with ideas, concerns, dreams, and aspirations. We have the power to create our own paths and create a lasting impact on not only this life, but the lives of generations to come. In other words, be inspired, inspire others, and carve your own path, because there's never gonna be another you.”