First off, welcome home! How was the European tour? Anything crazy to report?
AARON: The tour was great, we got to play a variety of different types of venues. We were also fortunate to meet all sorts of awesome new people in cities and countries we'd never been to before and make some great new friendships. It was also cool to be able to play our music and get some of the best reactions we ever have in front of a crowd. We're thankful to Truckfighters and White Miles for having us along.
RYAN M: Europe was insane, beautiful and delicious. My brain and spirit have been forever altered by the experience. The culture of live music over there is unreal. The people are so kind and the clubs are amazing.
How would you describe your sound to the uninitiated?
RYAN M: High Gravity, Imperial Rock and Roll. We're three dudes who play the shit out of our instruments and get off on it.
AARON: I would describe VOTS as a loud rock band. There's elements of stoner rock, punk rock, classic rock......I think there's also a difference between describing us on record and us live.
Who are some of your influences and who are you listening to these days?
RYAN F: Guitarists who inspire me are Jimi Hendrix, Alvin Lee, Josh Homme and Django, of course! Vocal inspiration comes from Chris Cornell, Josh Homme, Scott Weiland and John Garcia.
RYAN M: Anything with a killer bass player. Led Zep to Vince Guaraldi Trio. Rush, Yes, Sabbath, Tool…I like bands that are tight and play with time. I also love straight up raw rock and roll and have been digging all the rock records by Boris lately.
AARON: I have the same influences every other rock drummer has: John Bonham, Keith Moon, Ginger Baker, maybe a touch of Tommy Lee, but I also take inspiration from more modern players like Jorma Vik and Dave Grohl. My personal listening is sort of varied. I can tell you the 5 albums I had on repeat during this tour; Florence and the Machine - Ceremonials, Red Fang - Whales and Leeches, Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues, Chvrches - The Bones of What You Believe, and Royal Thunder - CVI.
You have a new record out on Fuzzorama Records. Can you describe the recording experience for us?
AARON: This record was recorded at Nada Studio in New Windsor, NY. It's the same studio and producer as The Sayings of the Seers from 2011. It was a pretty standard recording experience: we stayed 7 nights in a murder hotel, 7 nights in a business class hotel, 10 hour studio days, falling asleep to "Predator". I usually use a house studio kit to record but this time I took my personal kit, a Tama Starclassic Bubinga and a mish mash of different cymbals.
RYAN M: Recording was a whirlwind. We busted the album out in two weeks among various injuries, bad weather, illnesses, shady hotel rooms, hilarious late nights and lots of hot wings. I used my Fender TB1200 bass rig with a handful of effects and a 4003 Rickenbacker to cut the bass tracks.
RYAN F: Hiwatt DR103 and DR504, Sovtek MIG 100, Marshall JCM800, Gibson Les Paul Standard, Gibson SG Standard, Boss OC-2, Crybaby and, of course, Green Sovtek/EH BIG MUFF.
How did valley of the sun come together?
AARON: I had spent a couple of years trying to get something going but was having a tough time. I had emailed Ryan F. and a guy named Chris Owens who were both previously in a band called Blacklight Barbarian. I dug what they did so when their band broke up I got in touch to see if either of them would be into starting something new. They were both down so we got together and jammed. About that time a guitarist I had been playing with on and off named Casey Beagle got in touch and we had him out. That was the Mark I lineup of VotS. Long story short, both Chris and Casey left the band and we picked up Ryan McAllister and kept moving forward.
Cincinnati has seen a resurgence of loud, heavy rock bands recently. To what do you attribute this rock revival?
AARON: I don't know but it rules. The new Mangrenade track has me super excited to hear the rest of their new album. It's really just cool to have such an amazing group of bands to get to play shows with. I think Cincinnati is luckier than most in regards to its local rock scene.
RYAN M: First of all, I fucking love all the rock in this town these days. I'm not sure what to attribute it to exactly. If I had to wager a guess I would say it might have something to do with people needing some kind of musical release. People's tastes swing like a pendulum but I think a lot of us are always looking for a rowdy good time. To me that’s what rock and roll is regardless of whatever the genre du jour is at a given time.
What's the best thing about living in Cincinnati?
RYAN M: I love the people in this town, the food and the local beer.
AARON: For me the best thing is its geographic location. I love being so close to so many cool cities: it's not a far drive to Columbus, Indy, Louisville, Chicago---so yeah, my favorite thing about Cincinnati is being able to get out of it fairly easily…haha.
What's next for Valley of the Sun?
AARON: Hopefully more of Europe if we're lucky.
RYAN M: Shows, writing a new record, eating a lot of tacos.