Saints of Valory is one of those bands whose music just seems to flow naturally when their members are together. With the members hailing from three different continents, their arena-ready rock is filled with elegant pop hooks, catchy rhythms, and shimmering guitar lines that catch ears and turn heads worldwide.
Alex May spoke with vocalist/bassist Gavin Jasper and guitarist Godfrey Thomson about their worldly approach to music, and their coming back to Atlanta.
Can you tell us a bit about your newest EP, Possibilities?
Gavin: We put that out about five months ago I believe, and it’s basically just a teaser of the full length. We recorded the full length in Nashville earlier this year, so we just picked out four songs as a teaser and introduction. So we’ve had that at shows, and just had a great response, so we’re happy.
You had self released two EPs before Possibilities. Was the recording and promotion process very different than with your newest release?
Godfrey: The first two EPs were done really quickly on a very small budget, so being able to go into a huge studio and work with a good team, and spend time on the songs was something pretty cool for us. When you’re doing stuff on your own, you’re limited to resources and budget. Having Atlantic and different people on your team that can help push this further has been awesome.
You started gaining fans when your songs were posted on MySpace, and then attracted label attention. What are some websites or services that you find important in getting your music heard today?
Gavin: I almost venture to say that YouTube and Twitter are almost bigger than anything else now. So many people go to YouTube just to listen to a song. I do that more than video anymore, it’s pretty crazy. I find myself doing that even on the road on my phone; “Oh that new song, I just know that’s going to be all over YouTube.” It’s pretty crazy; Soundcloud, putting it up on Facebook and all the interwebs.
Many of your songs have a very rhythmic feel to them. Can you tell us a little bit about the role of the drums when you’re in the songwriting stage?
Godfrey: Rhythm is pretty important to us, and a lot of us grew up overseas, either in South America or Central America where rhythm is key in music, so I think that comes through our music quite a lot. Our drummer is cool in the sense that he doesn’t create a lot of beats, but he’s awesome at playing them. A lot of the rhythm is something that either I will or Gavin will come up with at home either on our little studio and then sort of show it to him, and we’ll jam it together and finish the song.
The members of the band come from many different countries. Do you feel that this multi-cultural approach has aided in the development of your music?
Gavin: Definitely. I’m from Brazil, and I grew up with Godfrey down there for years, and Stephen (Buckle), the keyboard player is from Canada. He also lived all over the world and in Brazil for a while too. So there’s definitely just a constant need for rhythm every time we’re creating a song. If there’s no rhythm, then it gets tough to keep going. It’s certainly in our blood, so to speak.
The music sounds very big and arena ready. What are some elements that help in achieving a sense of great size?
Godfrey: I don’t know that we ever set out to have a huge sound, but it’s funny that when the four of us get together, that’s just sort of what comes out. We like to write big choruses and the guitar sounds are pretty big, and the keyboard sounds are pretty big, the drums are big, the bass is big, everything’s big. Then we do the big vocals with it, so I guess all that together, you get a pretty giant sound. It’s not deliberate, but I think that’s just what comes out of the four of us. I don’t know if it’s any one thing in particular, but like I said, it’s a culmination of all those things. We don’t play with tracks, so what you’re hearing is just the sound of four guys playing music.
Reading your biography, it seems that you began planning for this band at a young age. While you were growing up, what were some of the things that kept you focused on your goals?
Gavin: I think it was the way we grew up that had a really big part in it. We were always around music at all times. There were so many chances and so many opportunities to play for people. Our parents would do charity work as well, so we were kind of put in front of old folks homes, some cool places to perform at a young age that just put you out in front of people. I think from growing up in that way, we don’t really know how to do anything else as well. Not even as well, this is what we do and it was kind of what we were going to do for the rest of our lives.
What can fans look forward to next year?
Godfrey: We have exciting tours to announce pretty soon and we will release the full length record, so that will be exciting. We look forward to just playing a lot of shows and getting out there. So people can expect to see us somewhere close to them, and we’ll try to put on a very energetic show. It’s what we do.
Is there anything else you would like to tell those coming to the show?
Gavin: Last time we played Atlanta was for the Final Four at Centennial Park where we opened for My Morning Jacket and Zac Brown in front of whatever it was, 40,000 people or something, and that was just amazing. It was just a great time, so we’ve been looking forward to this for a while. The show we’re playing is with Rock by the Sea Foundation which deals with children with cancer. We did a couple of shows with them before, so we look forward to being a part of that, and just the end of the year, with Christmas around the corner, it’s great to be a part of something like that.
Godfrey: A little known fact is that Atlanta plays a good little part in our history. I was living in Atlanta up towards Alpharetta, and the first city that Gavin landed in from Brazil was Atlanta. We wrote some songs and did some early, early recordings in my apartment there in Atlanta, and so, it’s cool to go back and see some familiar territory, and it’s kind of special to the fans I think.
Saints of Valory play Vinyl Friday, December 6 with The Well Reds.