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A Dirty Dozen with KEVIN KLEIN from VALLEYHEART – June 2022

| 23 June 2022 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Massachusetts trio VALLEYHEART, who craft dynamic, cinematic alternative rock earmarked by lyrical eloquence and sweet melodies, are pleased to announce their second album Heal My Head, out June 3 via Tooth & Nail. Valleyheart’s music summons the biggest and smallest corners of emotions alike, which has garnered them millions of streams and acclaim from American Songwriter, FLOOD, Vanyaland, and more. At the album’s core is the ultimate and universal desire to connect. Valleyheart continue to build an emotional bond with audiences. Following the 2017 Nowadays EP, they deepened this connection with their debut album, Everyone I’ve Ever Loved, in 2018. On its heels, the Scenery EP arrived to widespread acclaim. Throughout 2020 and 2021, they assembled what would become Heal My Head at sessions at The Halo Studio in Portland, Maine, with longtime collaborator and co-producer Kevin Billingslea and at The Record Company in Boston. Billingslea and Kevin Klein co-engineered, co-produced, and co-mixed the album, with a portion of the record being self-produced by Klein at his home studio.” We get singer / guitarist Kevin (and Chris jumps in on a question as well) to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

We’re so excited to release Heal My Head after not releasing a full length since 2018. There actually are a couple Easter eggs in there. There are two references sonically and lyrically to a song on our first album. But I’ll let the listener find those on their own 🙂 I think all the songs flow and are very connected to one another despite being statistically different. We definitely wrote the record as a full immersive experience, so I think you will get the most out of it listening straight through.

2. What got you into music and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

7th grade after getting my first Ibanez Strat guitar. I would spend hours practicing and learning metal songs in my bedroom. But starting to write my own songs is what solidified wanting to really do it. From there, I joined bands throughout high school and fell in love with just doing it.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I think a lot of those influences haven’t stuck as much in the long run. I grew up listening to mostly Christian rock music haha. So when I finally opened the door to other artists, it was like the floodgates came in and I got into tons of genres and artists. There isn’t a central one.

Chris:  My older brother showed me “Don’t Panic” by Coldplay when I was 11. I immediately knew I wanted to learn how to play the acoustic guitar. Chris Martin has been a huge influence in a lot of what I’ve done musically.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I would say Sufjan Stevens for his diversity in sound and songwriting. He has played a big influence on me over time. I love how he can jump in and out of styles and genres while staying very true to his sound and self.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour? What do you like to do to unwind?

I love to produce and write music. Mixing is a skill I’ve been honing in on and have been enjoying producing and mixing other people’s music. Love being outside as well. I’m currently living in a city for the first time in my life and I’ve been enjoying throwing on my favorite music on headphones and walking through the city listening to records from front to back.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Dynamic rock music with introspective songwriting, ethereal and ambient moments, and a blend of more aggressive and sweeter sounds. Hmm the weird comparisons always come from older men who loved rock in the 70’s or something. We got compared to KISS once from someone like this haha.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Zakk is making the drinks. I am making the drinks as well. Me and Zakk are going back and forth on cocktail recipes. Zakk is probably cooking too, although we all aren’t too bad of cooks. Chris is cranking out the acoustic and playing songs.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Genuinely can’t remember. I did see Kacey Musgraves at a bar in Nashville this year and that was a bit wild.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

I also thought in another life I would have been a neuroscientist. Maybe neurological research? One of my favorite authors is the late Oliver Sacks. Who merged neurology with storytelling so beautifully. I love studying behavior and human behavior. And the engine behind a lot of that is the brain. In some ways this album is a reflection of trying to understand the brain but from an artistic perspective. Doing it from a scientific perspective is on another level.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I always thought it would be cool for someone to ask what someone’s favorite country to travel to? In which case I would answer Iceland. As for what I’m tired of answering – I would say the typical question of if you were on an island what would you bring with you. Stuff like that.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I would say no. Sure there are mistakes made along the way, but I try not to live life without any sense of “I would do this over” or change the past if I could. I try to reflect that energy in how to better learn and tackle the future, but that “changing the past” mentality can get really dangerous I think.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell. This record holds a special magic to it that I’ll never be able to understand. Its mystery still peaks through whenever I listen even years later. From the lyrics to the music: it all seems covered in a veil of something special. I would have loved to be there to see how it was written, produced and made. Yet, I think what makes it so special to me is its mystery.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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