RGM Introducing – We Interview Valetta to get to know them.
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide to start the band?
Nic and I (Alex, vocalist) are brothers and used to play in a band together when we were younger. We went our separate ways but never stopped writing songs, and so when I moved to Manchester we just thought it was about time we started making music again together. Never looked back.
Introduce us all to the members and your musical history?
Alex Orosa is the lead vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter; his brother Nic Orosa also on vocals, guitar and writes some songs as well. Growing up in Cambridge, we formed a band with some friends and had ourselves a mad time playing the Cambridge live circuit (despite being absolutely nowhere near old enough to drink at the pubs and venues we were playing!). Chris Buratta plays bass and comes from more of a jazz background; he played in the jazz band Top Deck for 3 years. Oli Cox on drums and vocals studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, and so is basically just an all-round genius.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
Being asked to describe our sound. Or compare ourselves with similar artists. It’s just too hard. That’s your job really.
What support is out there for new artists in Manchester?
Just loads and loads of small venues for young artists to develop their style, get used to playing in front of great crowds, and hone their sound, something we have definitely done over the years and are very grateful for!
Who is inspiring you at the minute on the Manchester unsigned scene?
There’s a band called W.H.Lung who are brilliant. They might have been signed though so scratch that. Have seen Sylvette, Dilettante, and Jed Timms at live shows recently who are all outrageously good. Other than that it’s great to see enthusiastic local promoters getting gigs going again after so long in the dark.
What would you like to see more of in Manchester?
More venues are opening and fewer venues closing down.
What useless party trick /talent do you have/?
I (Alex) can recite the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny word for word.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
The royal family arn’t lizards but there’s still something weird going on there…
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
It would have to be our first gig back after lockdown back in August; we’d almost forgotten how much fun it was to play live together and get that feedback and interaction with the crowd. That said playing to a full 850 capacity venue to all your friends aged 16 was pretty fun too.
What was the worst experience on stage?
Playing that same venue but to only 4 people. We saw the funny side though. Smashed the encore.
Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about?
Oli can cycle to Glasgow and back on just a 6 pack of Irn Bru (probably). Alex’s full name has 17 syllables in it (Spanish heritage). Nic won 3 consecutive student soccer championships despite having ankles made of very crumbly pastry. Chris is all mammal.
If you had to describe your band to an alien how would you describe them?
Through the medium of time words, we would say: sound, quiet, louder, louder, louder, guitar solo
Which one of the band is the most unpredictable and why?
Alex, cos you just never know when he’s gunna say something completely triangle.
Which one of the band is the biggest nightmare? (Just a bit of fun)
Nic and Alex are brothers, so it is their blood duty to make the other’s life as difficult as possible.
You have one phone call and you have been locked up for a crime you didn’t commit? Which member would you call first?
Chris because of his connections within the government. Not our government but hey it’s worth a try.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
As always, the newest song. I (Alex) love playing Juggernauts cos I can absolutely rap my way through the last chorus while the others do all the work. I don’t have to play much which means I can throw my arms around a bit which is always fun.
I hear you have a new single brewing, what can you tell us about it?
Juggernauts is a song about the media and struggling with information overload, and the helplessness and apathy that is intentionally created when people are bombarded with news that they could never hope to have any control over. It’s out on the 1st of October.
Talk me through the thought process of the single?
I (Alex, vocalist) wrote these lyrics last summer during peak lockdown; living alone with minimal human contact, bumming around the flat most of the time, job hunting, and working on music. Obviously with George Floyd and BLM, I started doing much more reading around social/racial/political issues in general, which was good. The bad side of this was experiencing all of this while completely removed/detached, and falling into the common cycle of clickbait, outrage, and powerlessness.
Getting more emotionally involved with these things than I would usually let myself got me thinking about the ‘information-action ratio’ and how the constant stream of addictive news and outrage acts not as a call to action but instead to create lethargy, apathy and self-righteousness. It is not a stretch to imagine this is the intended effect by figures of power within politics and the media. Every scandal or shameful act that is widely known but isn’t adequately punished makes the position of the perpetrator, whether individual or collective, more secure. Every awful event we hear about but do not act upon increases our sense of powerlessness and makes more apparent to both us and those in power the lack of agency we have over our lives.
Musically, the aim was to combine two distinct rhythms in a way that didn’t detract from the song’s simple melodies. The bass and drums play their own groove while the vocal latches to the slower rhythm guitar part. I wanted a repetitive, almost hypnotic, chorus melody to place the emphasis on the lyrics as the narrator gets angrier and more bitter.
What was the recording process like?
We always record a pretty high-quality demo and then bring it to Big Red Studios in Macclesfield to put down drums, bass vocals, and the important guitar parts. It’s always an absolute dream recording there, and we’re always bummed when the track is finished and we have to leave. This time we hadn’t written the guitar solo so we did spend a good day going deep, trying loads of different sounds and effects and writing about 10 minutes of licks before trimming it down to what’s on the record.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?
Maybe sometimes it can work out better to write around the subject of a song instead of tackling it head-on. For Juggernauts I knew I had to write a lot of lines for the choruses, so instead of trying to write the perfect line that encapsulated what I was trying to say, I wrote absolutely loads of lines and let my mind wander slightly from the central topic before choosing the best ones and cutting it down. Hopefully, that made for a more colorful and intriguing set of lyrics.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
If I could I’d travel back in time and give the finished thing to myself so I wouldn’t have to spend months writing it. Aside from that, no it’s perfect!
What are your plans for the year ahead?
Juggernauts is the third single to be released from our debut EP, which will hopefully be out before the end of the year! We’re working on another song called Barbarian which will be on there too; it’s quite moody and dark for us but I think it’ll compliment the other tracks really well. Got plenty of unfinished songs in the works for the EP after that, and we’re talking about releasing a live EP too. We tend to have a lot of songs that don’t necessarily fit together, so don’t be surprised if you see us form a spin-off band in the next few months!
I’m (Alex) also working on the sound design and soundtrack to a short film I am making with two friends; it’s something I’ve never done before but I’m really excited to see how it turns out.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Check out our self-produced music videos on our youtube channel, we’ve got one in the works for Juggernauts too! If you like the music please do let us know because we love to hear from our fans. Hey, you can even pay for it on Bandcamp if it’s really up to your street. Other than that, just spread the word.
Thanks for doing us today folks, all the best and keep in touch.