A week before they drop their debut EP, we caught up with Valen for a chat

If you’ve never experienced Valen live, you’ve been missing out. The four piece belt a no-nonsense brand of rock n’ roll that’ll kick you straight outta your boots.

Next week, the band will be dropping their debut EP… but before then, we caught up with band members Isaac Matos and Thomas Rusin to chat the stories behind their new music. 

A week before they drop their debut EP, we caught up with Valen to chat influences, wild live shows, and what it means to be a “Midnight Guest”.

HAPPY: Hey guys, how are things? What are you up to at the moment?

TOM: Yeah things are good, keeping ourselves busy. Got a lot happening these days but having heaps of fun. A lot of gigging and rehearsing at the moment what with the new EP and all that, as well as writing some new material

HAPPY: Midnight Guest really kicks some ass. Has this been a crowd favourite when you play live?

TOM: It definitely got a good response when we first started playing it. We’ve tweaked it here and there over time, but it always seems to find its way onto the set list for every gig. Crowds seem to always get into it. It’s also a tune that the band really enjoys playing, there’s a lot of personality in all of our parts.

HAPPY: Why the choice to have this song as the opening track on the EP?

ISAAC: We think the EP as a whole reflects the bands energy and range of influence quite thoroughly, and Midnight Guest seems to emphasises that the most. We put it first because it’s no nonsense, straight into it. It kicks off the EP on a high altogether.

HAPPY: Could you talk us through what the tune is about?

TOM: Well straight up it describes the experience of a sexual encounter escalating pretty rapidly but doesn’t seem to last very long in the end. And basically sums up the fact that a relationship was over before it even started. Kind of like the experience of a one-night stand, only being a bit more confused afterwards. “Woke up and found myself alone” – was it real? Did it happen? Was it all a dream? Who knows and who cares.

HAPPY: I’m getting a big 70’s, stadium rock vibe. Who would you call your biggest influences?

TOM: All our influences combined just goes on and on, but definitely our sound draws near to that of the loud and proud rock sounds from the 70’s and 80’s…

ISAAC: To narrow down our influences, the biggest ones would have to be The Beatles, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and The Who for Asher and myself. Toms guitar sound comes from growing up on a lot of 70’s and 80’s era rock and metal, and Vanessa comes from more current artists getting her inspiration from the likes of Twenty One Pilots and Paramore.

HAPPY: I hear your stage antics are “questionable”. Care to elaborate?

ISAAC: Questionable stage antics seems to come mostly from Tom. After playing together since school his stage antics are still unpredictable. He just wants to climb anything he can balance on, and put his guitar in places he shouldn’t. One of the funniest sights was witnessing Tom climb the bass drum at the end of our last song when we played at The Metro back in 2016, and jumped off and stacked it when we hit the final chord. Good times.

HAPPY: What questionable things do you have planned for the upcoming tour dates?

TOM: On the contrary, we don’t actually plan all the “questionable” things we get up to. We seem to just take is as it comes. However it will be Vanessa’s birthday when we head to Newcastle, so we might have to do something special on that trip. Hard to say what that’ll
be at this point, probably smash some apple juice or something.

HAPPY: Inevitable pun question: tell us about a time you showed up at someone’s house as a “Midnight Guest”.

TOM: Well some of us have probably rocked up to a mates place as a “midnight guest” before, but not in the same context of the song. But you know, we could have woken up not remembering much thinking it was a possibility.

HAPPY: Thanks for the chat! Hope the tour goes off.

ISAAC: Pleasure is all ours. Take it easy.

Valen’s Bottoms Up EP will be released August 19th.

Catch the band live on October 4th at The Factory Theatre for their EP launch show. Find out more here, and grab tickets here.