After a hectic summer The Great Valley released its free acoustic EP, Stripped, through AOL Radio on Aug. 10. Recently idobi had the chance to ask this literal band of brothers some questions about its new EP, summer activities and future plans.
Q: For anyone unfamiliar with your band, could you provide a summary of your backstory? How did you form?
A: Nick and I are brothers and started playing together in 1999. Our father plays drums and our mother teaches music so one day they asked if we wanted to take lessons and we jumped at the opportunity. We’ve gone through numerous band members and names while Nick and I have stayed consistent.
Q: You just released a new acoustic EP that can be downloaded exclusively through AOL. How did the process of teaming up with AOL for this release come about? And why did you decide to offer this EP for free?
A: Our manager Alex plays a huge roll day-to-day. He presented the new acoustic stuff to [AOL] and they were immediately on board. Plus, he’s charming. I think it had more to do with that then our EP. The reason it’s free is because we were lucky enough to record it for free. We thought it was only fair that way.
Q: Do you have plans for a full-length any time in the future?
A: Absolutely! That is what we are writing now. Demos of all the songs are a few days away. We are very excited to lay it down.
Q: How would you describe your sound/genre? What direction are you planning on taking your music in the future?
A: I would say we are a rock band with a darker pop edge. As far as the direction of the sound, we don’t really plan for that. It wouldn’t feel genuine if we sat down and said that we wanted to write a country song or a pop punk song. We just let it come out and mold it to make it sound cool. The new stuff sounds very alternative rock, which is okay with us.
Q: Some of your summer was spent following Warped Tour — could you elaborate on that experience? Also is there a logical explanation for the pictures of Louis wearing a speedo with dollar bills hanging out from the sides?
A: That is a long story. We went out to Warped to get our music out, showed up the first day wearing clothes and not getting the response we wanted from people that had no clue who we were. Luckily I had bought a speedo the day before knowing it would come in handy. After a few hours of random people telling us to go away, I had had enough. I stripped down to the speedo and started posing and singing to attract people. It was crazy, the results we got. The reaction went from kids telling us to leave them alone to a line of people trying to get a picture with me. By the end of the second day word got out and Kate, head of productions, came all the way out and shut us down. It was disappointing to see how dumbed down rock and roll has become. What happened to all-out mayhem? Destroying everything and anything in sight? Including drugs and alcohol? It seems speedo boy was just too much for Warped Tour. We’ll still try our luck next year 😉
Q: On a related note, what do you think of the publicity your band is getting from Web sites such as Strike Gently? Is all publicity good publicity?
A: We both love Strike Gently; it’s weird how often we check for new stuff on that site. It’s like the basic rules of attraction. Whether it’s positive or negative, people are still attracted to you. And who is really to say what’s positive and what’s negative?
Q: Being that your band consists of two brothers and nobody else, do you feel as if you have a chemistry that most bands don’t have, or is there a little sibling rivalry?
A: I think we recognize each others fortÃ©s and use them to our advantage. We both have our strong points but we do butt heads every now and then.
Q: When playing full band do you recruit friends to fill in and play with you? Are you looking to add any new full time members?
A: That’s a difficult question. We have gone through so many members that we’ve figured out how to write and record ourselves, which leaves us with either having friends play live with us or guys who share the same passion who don’t mind playing our songs. But having guys full time to tour with us would make things a hell of a lot easier.
Q: Releasing music isn’t an easy task for any unsigned band. You released the Wrecking Ball EP earlier this year — how difficult was it to get that out?
A: It was the most difficult thing we’ve done to date besides figuring out how to write a song. We wrote some of those songs in 2008 and to finally get them out in 2010 was just a great pleasure for us.
Q: If the opportunity arose, would you consider signing with a label?
A: We consider all the options presented to us and we are not opposed to signing with a label. We want to know that the label will work just as hard as we do and vice versa. We go with our gut feeling a lot and if the gut says it’s a good idea, then it’s going down!
Q: With the summer winding down, what plans do you have for the future? After spending the last few months working hard, will you take some time off?
A: Honestly, we just want to get out there, to tour and be up there with the other guys doing their thing. The sooner we get to do that the better. We have recently taken some time to rest, which is really really good right before you sit down and get your grind on in the studio. You never want to burn yourself out in this business.
Q: It seems like you really value fan interaction. Any particular reason why? If fans want to contact you, what are some of the ways they can do so?
A: Absolutely! Fans are our milk and soup. We wanted to incorporate them into the music video but the budget wouldn’t allow for it. We are only as successful as our fans allow us to be so we cherish them like they’re our last meal. If they want to reach us they can do so through Facebook and Twitter. We are on both of them all day and will respond when you leave some love.
Q: As far as making the music, who does what? Who writes the lyrics, and where do you draw inspiration?
A: Nick comes up with the guitar parts and we’ll sit down and piece them together. It’s so weird how he’ll play a riff and ask me what he thinks it should be. I’ll say, “Sounds like a verse” and he’ll be like, “Thinking the same thing.” We have awesome chemistry. Then I’ll throw some drums and vocals on it. There are the rare cases where I’ll start singing something random like, “Yeah, I’m a wrecking ball baby” while we’re hanging with friends and then turn it into a song. But I write all the lyrics. I draw everything from personal experience, the way I’m feeling or the way I have felt in the past. I feel like I’m started to become addicted to it.
Q: Are there any bands you’ve grown up listening to that really influence you?
A: For sure. Blink 182, Coheed & Cambria, Thrice, The Early November and The Starting Line. I could list hundreds.
Q: Music aside, what other activities are you gentlemen into?
A: We are big Italian dudes so we’re always trying to watch our weight. Going to the gym and riding our road bikes together consume a lot of our down time.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: Yes, we want to thank AOL for the support and thank you to everyone who downloaded our free acoustic EP. You guys are amazing. Check out the “Wrecking Ball” music video that will be released August 20th! We also can’t stress enough how much we want to hear from you, so hit us up on Facebook and Twitter.
To download this collection of acoustic tracks, head to The Great Valley’s MySpace and click on the banner. The full-band non-acoustic version of the Wrecking Ball EP is also available for download on iTunes.