Vale-Smith: Exploring the artists diverse inspirations in electronic house music

Vale-Smith’s eclectic taste draws inspiration from a range of sources, including video games, films, and even his day job.

With a fresh take on the UK’s dynamic house scene, Vale-Smith is quickly becoming a name to watch. As an innovative artist with a unique sound, he is both paying homage to the genre’s rich history and pushing it into exciting new territory.

Buckle up for a wild ride as Vale-Smith invites us on a journey through his creative process, drawing inspiration from everything from cinematic scores to his day job as a learning support assistant in education. With an impressive ability to blend genres and break boundaries, Vale-Smith is truly a visionary artist worth listening to.

Vale Smith

One of his tracks, “Skip Scarlet,” was inspired by the indie game Super Hexagon, which throws the player into a fast-moving maze, providing an overwhelming plunge of excitement and challenge. On the other hand, “Dream State Indulgence” drew inspiration from the joyous feeling of “We Found Love” by Calvin Harris, with the chords screaming for a moment to last forever.

Vale-Smith also created “In My Real Time” while at work, featuring chatter in the background from students. The track reflects his happiness in the routine he has found himself in, with a melody that stays the same for the entire song, reflecting the track’s looping nature.

“Pristine Drifting” was influenced by “Jacket Weather” by Sam Gellaitry, as Vale-Smith is particularly drawn to the song’s melody created by the mixture of wildly different timbres. Meanwhile, “Insatiable, Laputa” was inspired by the 1986 film Castle In The Sky, which overwhelmed him with wonder, leading to a 2 and a half minute burst of intense eagerness.

Lastly, “Fantasy” was created to counter the heaviness of the album, inspired by “Everything Goes On” by Porter Robinson. Vale-Smith’s “Um Yo” is an album that shows his growth and experimentation in electronic house music, and this list provides insight into the inspirations behind each track.

Skip Scarlet – Super Hexagon (2012)

Super Hexagon is an indie game where you have to think on your feet a lot. It sort of immediately throws you into the deep end of navigating this fast moving maze and I love the overwhelming plunge of it. It’s exciting and very challenging, I was playing it a lot around the time of making this track so I think that ended up really influencing the way I wanted to start the album.

Dream State Indulgence – We Found Love Calvin Harris

That song to me has always been my benchmark for tracks that feel like instant joy. Something about the chords on it scream “I want this moment to last forever”. That’s the full ethos I approached this song with, I wanted it to sound instantly pretty, something that you’d never want to leave behind.

In My Real Time – inspired by my job on Tuesdays

This song features chatter in the background from students. In the moment of starting this track I felt gratitude for being around those people and being where I am so I just hit record and let my computer pick up the noise of the people talking around me. From there I built a track that aimed to chase whatever I was feeling in that moment. It was a conscious decision to not make this song as dynamic as my other ones too, as this one loops quite a lot. The lead melody stays the same for the entire track, and I did this because I wanted it to reflect the happiness I feel in the routine I’ve found myself in. I thought it’d be best to slow things down.

Pristine Drifting – Jacket Weather Sam Gellaitry

This is far from the first time this track has inspired a song of mine. My track “Delicacy” has a lead melody that is actively attempting to mimic “Jacket Weather”, but there’s a reason this song particularly does it for me. It has so many sounds on it that conflict and don’t make sense together, but when they work in harmony it creates such a stunning melody. The mixture of wildly different timbres gives it an effect that I find perfectly disorienting. Whenever I want to make something catchy, this is the first song I turn to.

Insatiable –  Laputa Castle In The Sky (1986)

An obvious answer given the title, but this film overwhelmed me with wonder. I had a bit of a crush brewing at the time too and there was a conversation with them that inspired me to watch the movie. All I felt that day was just extremely warm, excited, fuzzy feelings. I packed all of that into this song, a 2 and a half minute burst of intense eagerness.

Lovestruck – Living In My Head Friz

I made this track the day after I made “Insatiable, Laputa” so I wanted it to follow on from the emotional tones set by that song. A logical next step to me was to make it sound more manically excited, as if it could explode at any moment. The sounds on this track are a bit more lo-fi because I thought a slight touch of roughness would communicate that jittery feeling better. That’s where “Living In My Head” came into the picture, as that song is such an explosive display of unfiltered feelings. The distortion, lyrics and sounds on it all massively helped pave the way for the creative choices made here.

Fantasy Interlude – inspired by looking at distant cranes

A much longer song actually follows this one, it’s the first 100 seconds of a near 5 minute track that was actually the first track I’d made for this album after “Rekindle” had released. I was on a walk with a friend one night and they mentioned something about being on top of the crane we could see in the distance. This led me to a train of thought about how the phrase “on top of the crane” is almost a more humble and better place to be than “on top of the world”. It’s not quite the highest you could be, but it’s high enough to really enjoy and admire what’s around you whilst still giving you room to desire further growth. It ended up being a really lovely, funny moment that for whatever reason strongly stuck with me and it was a shame to say goodbye to it. The full track is called “On Top of the Crane” but “Fantasy Interlude” is the first 2 minutes of that track. The main emotion I wanted to capture when making it is the bittersweet feeling of saying goodbye to something really wonderful.

Fantasy – Everything Goes On Porter Robinson

“Fantasy” exists to counter the previous track’s expression. Porter Robinson I think often encompasses this feeling of basking in the delight and beauty of what’s in front of you which I felt really nicely played off of the bittersweetness of the interlude. Surrounding myself with his song at the time helped me bring my own approach to it, I tried to bring the feelings I get from “Everything Goes On” into more of a chaotic, controlled burst.

Neat Tricks All Day – Elden Ring (2022)

A friend of mine picked this game up for the first time and it inspired me to replay it alongside them. To me, this song depicts the experience of struggling and overcoming which is obviously a huge part of playing Elden Ring. I wanted to make something explosive and challenging here that leaves you self-assured and empowered.

Dian Keto Mitsu – Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 (2020)

Playing this game always successfully puts me in a zen-like state that makes me feel unstoppable. It makes me feel capable of more than I ever imagined. This enchanted confidence is what I wanted to permeate this track.

New Universes – Gravity” by Ferdous / Wonton Soup Lil B

There was a phase during the making of the album where I was particularly into hypnotic, catchy loops. “Gravity” was my most played song during this time and in the moment felt like the epitome of the sound I was gravitated to the most. I wanted to make something that had the same addictive blissfulness but in a more explosive way. Lil B’s music unlocked for me how to accomplish that. There was a similar blissfulness in how chaotic the production is in a lot of his music. With “New Universes”, I aimed to combine those two worlds.


The Real Bright Blue –  teeth brakence

Both this track and “Itinerant but Still Nothing” have production ideas that I think were informed by the sprawling directions of brakence’s recent music. I grew to love how those songs would slowly fall apart and disintegrate into unrecognizable beasts that, despite their grotesque lack of form, still managed to maintain the same clarity and definition of the core song that had come before it. It was enchanting to listen to and really inspired me to try similar ideas in this song.

Soul Absence – Bound Ball Teebs

There was a painful moment in 2019 that was soundtracked by this Teebs song. It’s a really joyful and happy song that sadly I’ll never be able to disassociate from that moment, and it was the mix of emotions that the track always brings to me that motivated the musical direction of “Soul Absence”. It sounds like trying to push through a bad day and desperately hoping to enjoy the good things but not being able to, which is something that “Bound Ball” represents to me personally so hearing that song helped bring “Soul Absence” to life.

Waiting – Langsette letherette

My vocal chops are normally quite frantic but for “Waiting”, I was interested to see if I could apply that approach to something more solemn. There’s a really downtrodden and hopeless tone to sample in “Langsette” that I was addicted to, it made the song feel vulnerable and supportive. It helped steer me towards the emotional angle I was aiming for with “Waiting”.

Precipice – CZ3000 Dub Skee Mask

The drums on this song were playing in my head one day endlessly. It’s such a uniquely catchy song, and “Precipice” has my favourite drums on the entire record. The shimmering quality it has came from Skee Mask, one of the most legendary rhythmic masters I can think of in electronic music. He leaves my head spinning every time.

Sure – Cloudy Daphni

Piano dominates this track because at the time, I could not put down this Daphni track. The second half of “Sure” has maybe the exact same bass line, if not extremely similar. I was really trying to study what it was that made “Cloudy” so effortlessly catchy but I’m convinced it just comes from some cosmic force that only Daphni has.

Full Moon above the Abacus – Owlboy (2016) and one particularly pretty sunset

The moment I started playing “Owlboy”, I was utterly mesmerized by it. Within seconds, I loved the game. It felt lovely to play something that struck me as instantly inviting and familiar, yet still full of new adventures and secrets to uncover. This song was fully driven by that wonder. The title comes from an unbelievable sunset I was taken by surprise with after work once, it gave me all of those same feelings. There was a full moon poking out amongst a wash of warm colors and clouds, so I called it “above the abacus” since it was towering over a college.

Don’t Get Hurt – Tethered To Us Vale-Smith

This is the only track I’ve ever made where I’ve looked at one of my older songs and said “I want to do that again”. It’s a track of mine I come back to more than usual, I was interested to see what would come about if I tried the same kind of sound again. Much like “Tethered To Us”, I managed to make “Don’t Get Hurt” in one quick sitting. I got the sample ready and the song sort of wrote itself.

Itinerant but Still Nothing – Cock/ver10 Aphex Twin

It was a plan to make this track 8 minutes long before I had started it. I was interested in making something that constantly evolved and by the end reached somewhere unrecognizable from where it started. This is something I’ve always absolutely admired about Aphex Twin’s music. He has so many long winding tracks that are so meticulously detailed and go through whirlwinds of emotions, and this was simply my attempt at this. “Cock/ver10” is the song I’ll credit here though for having a specific sound in it that I tried to recreate in “Itinerant but Still Nothing”. It plays at about 1:53, it’s this descending bassy square synth that just makes my heart skip a beat every time. I was inspired to include that during the transitional moments of the song.

Sister What – End of the Road Festival 2022 & Never Enough kryptogram

Musically this track was really inspired by the loose and delightful tone of a lot of kryptogram’s music, but none more than “Never Enough”. The arpeggios and chords on that track are pure heaven to me. I wanted something similarly danceable but with a hint of sorrow. My time at End of the Road festival last year was something that my mind kept pondering over, it felt like for a while I’d give anything to go back. I’d never had an experience like that and I was happy during every moment of it. I tried to channel those feelings into this track as best I could. Ending the record on an excited tone of bereft joy and desire felt appropriate as that’s something I think I feel quite regularly.

Listen to the full Vale-Smith album here.