Saints of Valory – Neon Eyes

Saints of ValorySaints of Valory are the type of band that swing for the bleachers, crafting dramatic, sweeping, arena-ready rock filled with elegant pop hooks, shimmering guitars, and emotionally genuine lyrics. Songs like the rhythmically charged “Kids,” “Long Time Coming,” and “Neon Eyes” (all of which appear on the band’s current EP Possibilities) are widescreen in scope, announcing the considerable ambition of these self-assured newcomers as they gear up for the release of Into The Deep, their debut album for F Stop/Atlantic Records.

The album’s title, taken from a phrase in “Neon Eyes,” is symbolic of Saints of Valory’s imminent takeoff. “It’s about us launching ourselves into the future and everything that’s in store for us,” says guitarist Godfrey Thomson. “Like, ‘here we go, into the deep.’ And for the listener, they’re being launched into the depth of the album, into the journey of the songs.”

Saints of Valory’s journey to this moment has been one of numerous twists and turns, with the four band members hailing from three different continents — South America, Europe, and the U.S. — though they now call Austin, Texas, their home. Their origins are rooted in a childhood friendship between lead vocalist-bassist Gavin Jasper and Thomson, who met in Jasper’s native Rio de Janeiro while their parents were working abroad. Both boys received guitars at a young age and bonded over learning to play. “I definitely remember drawing a stage setup on a piece of paper when we were really young,” says Thomson, who moved to Brazil when he was a year old, while Jasper grew up in Rio. “We talked about who was going to play what instrument and what we were going to do — just two young kids dreaming about making a band.”

As the story goes, the boys stayed in touch after their families went their separate ways. Jasper learned to play bass and joined a country-rock band, while Thomson launched his own band. In 2008, many years after their childhood friendship began, Jasper and Thomson reunited in Brazil, with Thomson bringing along his friend Gerard Labou, a young drummer from France. Calling themselves Saints of Valory (an inspired reference to Labou’s mother Valerie), the trio decided to form a band and took to MySpace to post their own tracks, which attracted initial interest from independent labels. Needing a space to rehearse for a showcase, they contacted their friend Stephen Buckle, who had a small studio in his ranch-style home in Boerne, TX. Buckle was born in Greece to an American mother and Canadian father and spent most of his childhood in Thailand and Southeast Asia, but befriended Jasper during a four-year stint in Brazil. In April 2010, he joined the band full-time as a keyboardist.

“When we all got together, that’s when I first felt this could work,” Jasper says. “We played ‘Providence’ and there was this feeling in the room. It was the same feeling I had when I first heard ‘Where The Streets Have No Name,’ where things just click chemistry-wise and it lifts you up. You feel happier. And I thought, ‘If I can feel this in this room, then we can actually offer this to people and they will feel it, too.’”

In November, Saints of Valory self-released their first EP The Bright Lights, featuring an early version of “Providence,” which entered the Top 50 at Triple A radio, making them the only unsigned band in the upper reaches of the chart. In March 2012, they were chosen as one of Billboard’s top six unsigned bands nationwide. In May, they self-released their second EP, Kids, which broke into iTunes’ Top Rock Albums chart, selling 1,700 copies its first week. It changed everything for them.

“We had toured for a year and half behind Bright Lights and hadn’t paid back the cost to record it,” Jasper explains. “We were still in the hole. We were just making enough on the road to pay the bills as far as staying on the road, but not to make a new record. But we knew we had to put out new material, so it was a leap of faith to make Kids. We went back into the studio, spent a bunch more money that we didn’t have, and the instant we put it out the reactions began rolling in from the industry. It all kind of snowballed from that point on.”

“Kids” is now one of the highlights of Into The Deep, which features new and improved versions of previously released tracks, as well as a handful of new songs, including “Long Time Coming” and “Back Up” (which are also on the new EP Possibilities). The album was produced by Grammy Award-winner Joe Chiccarelli (Jason Mraz, The White Stripes), whom the band praises as an amazing engineer. “That’s where he really shines,” Jasper says. “The sound he got for the record is tremendous.”

Thomson describes Saints of Valory’s sound as music that makes listeners feel uplifted. “We like the idea of making older people feel young again and making young people feel like they’re really living,” he says. Adds Buckle: “We just want to take people somewhere and make them feel an emotion. We want them to feel something when they hear the music. If we’ve managed that on this album, we’ve done our job.”
The album’s title, taken from a phrase in “Neon Eyes,” is symbolic of Saints of Valory’s imminent takeoff. “It’s about us launching ourselves into the future and everything that’s in store for us,” says guitarist Godfrey Thomson. “Like, ‘here we go, into the deep.’ And for the listener, they’re being launched into the depth of the album, into the journey of the songs.”

Saints of Valory’s journey to this moment has been one of numerous twists and turns, with the four band members hailing from three different continents — South America, Europe, and the U.S. — though they now call Austin, Texas, their home. Their origins are rooted in a childhood friendship between lead vocalist-bassist Gavin Jasper and Thomson, who met in Jasper’s native Rio de Janeiro while their parents were working abroad. Both boys received guitars at a young age and bonded over learning to play. “I definitely remember drawing a stage setup on a piece of paper when we were really young,” says Thomson, who moved to Brazil when he was a year old, while Jasper grew up in Rio. “We talked about who was going to play what instrument and what we were going to do — just two young kids dreaming about making a band.”

As the story goes, the boys stayed in touch after their families went their separate ways. Jasper learned to play bass and joined a country-rock band, while Thomson launched his own band. In 2008, many years after their childhood friendship began, Jasper and Thomson reunited in Brazil, with Thomson bringing along his friend Gerard Labou, a young drummer from France. Calling themselves Saints of Valory (an inspired reference to Labou’s mother Valerie), the trio decided to form a band and took to MySpace to post their own tracks, which attracted initial interest from independent labels. Needing a space to rehearse for a showcase, they contacted their friend Stephen Buckle, who had a small studio in his ranch-style home in Boerne, TX. Buckle was born in Greece to an American mother and Canadian father and spent most of his childhood in Thailand and Southeast Asia, but befriended Jasper during a four-year stint in Brazil. In April 2010, he joined the band full-time as a keyboardist.

“When we all got together, that’s when I first felt this could work,” Jasper says. “We played ‘Providence’ and there was this feeling in the room. It was the same feeling I had when I first heard ‘Where The Streets Have No Name,’ where things just click chemistry-wise and it lifts you up. You feel happier. And I thought, ‘If I can feel this in this room, then we can actually offer this to people and they will feel it, too.’”

In November, Saints of Valory self-released their first EP The Bright Lights, featuring an early version of “Providence,” which entered the Top 50 at Triple A radio, making them the only unsigned band in the upper reaches of the chart. In March 2012, they were chosen as one of Billboard’s top six unsigned bands nationwide. In May, they self-released their second EP, Kids, which broke into iTunes’ Top Rock Albums chart, selling 1,700 copies its first week. It changed everything for them.

“We had toured for a year and half behind Bright Lights and hadn’t paid back the cost to record it,” Jasper explains. “We were still in the hole. We were just making enough on the road to pay the bills as far as staying on the road, but not to make a new record. But we knew we had to put out new material, so it was a leap of faith to make Kids. We went back into the studio, spent a bunch more money that we didn’t have, and the instant we put it out the reactions began rolling in from the industry. It all kind of snowballed from that point on.”

“Kids” is now one of the highlights of Into The Deep, which features new and improved versions of previously released tracks, as well as a handful of new songs, including “Long Time Coming” and “Back Up” (which are also on the new EP Possibilities). The album was produced by Grammy Award-winner Joe Chiccarelli (Jason Mraz, The White Stripes), whom the band praises as an amazing engineer. “That’s where he really shines,” Jasper says. “The sound he got for the record is tremendous.”

Thomson describes Saints of Valory’s sound as music that makes listeners feel uplifted. “We like the idea of making older people feel young again and making young people feel like they’re really living,” he says. Adds Buckle: “We just want to take people somewhere and make them feel an emotion. We want them to feel something when they hear the music. If we’ve managed that on this album, we’ve done our job.”

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Saints of Valory – Kids – DeLuna

Saints of Valory give us a little backstage performance of “Kids” at DeLuna Music Festival.

Filmed and edited by Make It Pop

https://www.facebook.com/makeitpopnashville

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