The blogosphere is a rather strange but very important place for today’s musicians. The ever networking structure between a lot of various pages can sometimes create a buzz and hype around certain artists, clips or tracks that helps them spread their musical vision all around the globe. Well, we can’t say we’re not sitting in the same boat – of course the world wide web is one of the main sources that inspires the topics, bands and records we’re talking about on NBHAP. And somehow we’re hope to inspire the blogosphere as well. Why the excurse about the internet’s virality at the beginning? Well, maybe becuase CHAD VALLEY is one of those names we’ve been seeing again and again in the internet over the past years.
After two EPs, some single tracks and even more remixes for more acts we can name right here the British balearic synthie pop singer is ready to put his career on a new level. On the end of October CHAD VALLEY – who is actually just an alias since he goes by the name Hugo Manuel in real life – will release his highly anticipated first full length longplayer Young Hunger. And what a debut! Only a few newcomers can list up such great feature guests like ACTIVE CHILD , TWIN SHADOW or EL PERRO DEL MAR. Manuel can and we’re pretty sure he can do even more in the future. We’ve talked with the nice and loveable musician from Oxford about his career so far, the album and what we can expect next.
Hey there, Hugo. How would you describe yourself and the music you make to our readership?
I am a songwriter and producer. I make pop music for people who don’t like pop music.
Why chosing an alias for your solo project CHAD VALLEY?
I never considered using my real name. I wanted it to be ambiguous whether CHAD VALLEY was a name of a person, or just a band name. I like ambiguity, it means people can translate stuff however they see it in their head. I like the idea of it being an alter-ego and something that I can step into when I need to, and then leave it alone.
‘Young Hunger’ is going to be your first full longplayer after being already around the blogosphere and music industry for a while now. You did two EPs and a whole bunch of remixes. When came the decision to produce a real album?
Yeah, there was a specific point where I said, right I am going to now write an album, and it was mostly done in one almost-continuous stint, between November 2011 and June this year. I think that was a very important part of the process, because I had previously just written tunes with no real purpose, and then collated them on EPs, which I think is okay for that format, but an album is such a special thing, and it’s what you are remembered by, so I wanted to make it as cohesive as possible.
[one_half last=”no”][/one_half]Does it feel like the endpoint of a certain progress or more like the start of something new for you?
It feels like the start of something new in every way. I challenged myself to do things in a way that I was less comfortable with in order to get the result I wanted. It was the first time I had worked with a producer and that was scary for me because I am such a control freak, and it was a challenge vocally too, I was writing parts that I had to really practice to get right, whereas in the past it was more like, just put loads of reverb and delay on it and it’ll be fine (laughs). It feels very much at the beginning still, so I have never thought about quitting, no. CHAD VALLEY is here to stay and I’m sure I will find new challenges for my next record though.
Its not that hard, I must say. I am fortunate enough to do this music thing full-time now, so I have the time to spare. If I still had a day job i think I would find it tough.
How important is it – in terms of the financial struggle for young musicians – to focus on more than just one project?
I don’t think its a necessity to do two things, it just turned out that way for me. I don’t think my music making has changed much at all since I quit the day job, I was worried it might affect things, and make me more passive or less eager to write, but I think i’m alright! I actually have another project i’m working on at the moment, so soon I may have three things on the go.
How would you describe the music scene in your hometown Oxford?
At the moment its a very exciting scene. There are lots of bands making lots of good music, and its nice to be surrounded by that when you are making music yourself – its healthy. There aren’t so many gigs to go to, or good venues, but that doesn’t bother me too much as if there is less to do in terms of going out, then it means that I get more work done in the studio! But generally Oxford has always had a good history of more experimental music making – there aren’t really any shitty emo bands or whatnot that you get everywhere else, and I like the fact that, growing up here, I have been a part of the music scene for about ten years, I feel proud of what has come out of my city.
You got a lot of big names on your debut – TWIN SHADOW, TOTALLY ENORMOUS EXTINCT DINOSAURS, ACTIVE CHILD . How did you manage do get them on your record? Do you share personal friendships or was it more like ‘Well, I’ve remixed you in the past, you owe me one’?
Well, its a mixture, but most of the people on the record I am friends with, so it was just a case of asking a mate for a favour. I had done tours supporting both ACTIVE CHILD and TWIN SHADOW and so we had become friends through that. And then Orlando Higginbottom of TOTALLY ENORMOUS EXTINCT DINOSAURS is an old friend from Oxford. I’ve known him for a long time. The others were more a case of me saying ‘I love this persons voice, can we get them on the album?’ to my managers, and them making it happen! I was surprised that people like GLASSER and EL PERRO DEL MAR were up for doing it, but so incredibly glad that they did.
You seem to have a faible for matching your voice with ohters – like you already did in last year’s ‘Now That I’m Real’ and in now in the new single with GLASSER you already mentioned. Is there a special reason for this?
I just like duets! Maybe it comes from my background – I first started singing in musicals, and good duet is the cornerstone of any musical. I think also I like to collaborate with CHAD VALLEY stuff because otherwise it is all just me me me, and I am not egotistical enough to go ahead with that frame of mind!
[one_half last=”no”][/one_half]I already mentioned that you did a lot of remixes in the past years for bands like FOALS or THE DRUMS. And how important, do you think, are those remixes in terms of promote yourself and your music through the blogosphere?
I think its real important to do things like remixes to keep your profile up. I didn’t do any shows or release any music for like six months while I was making the album, but remixes I was doing kept popping up, and i think its a good way to make people continually aware of your existence.
Is there a favourite from yours?
Probably Money by THE DRUMS , because I love that band and that songs. And the ACTIVE CHILD one for Playing House, because I tried to do something different to any remix I had done or heard before. I like remixes where it sounds like a complete re-write of the song, where it can stand up as a song in its own right.
What do the words “hope” and “passion” mean to you?
Sounds kinda like a cult.
electro / pop
from Oxford, United Kingdom