Friday, July 22, 2011

Interview With Val Ventura

Critical Mass: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, Val. You're the co-founder of Astro Girl Records. Who are some of the artists you have on the label? 

Val Ventura: Thank you so much Chris. I heard a lot about Critical Mass, so thank you for putting me in! Astro Girl Records just got born and I did co-found it with one of the best labelmates/friends you could ever find, that is Marilù from The Piperita Patties. The best music relationship ever, and following this girlie bubble-pop-punk mark, we just got in a girl band called Wet nurse from Florida, The Hit Girls (Marilù, me and another punk-ramone guy Carlo aka Charlie), The Legendary Lovedolls, The Bam Bams and of course one of my fav bands ever The Piperita Patties. Oh yeah and me! It’s a huge big family.

CM: What inspired you to start your own record label?

VV: I’ve never understood how some bands I liked/loved in the past they never made it and felt so bad for them. I just want to give bands I love to hear on my iPod, or better on vinyl, a shot. And I’m a music producer too. I did work with Mass Giorgini and some other dudes in L.A., that helped me to keep going on and I guess cos of some call of destiny, Marilù wanted to start a Girl only Label and we met and clicked, so here we are. Proud to say I’m part of it.

CM: I find it refreshing to see a female orientated record label out there. Do you find it challenging running a label that focuses on female artists only? And do you catch any flack from male recording artists? 

VV: Marilù came up with this idea of a girl only label and I thought “damn this is it, let’s go for it”. I’m not saying I don’t like bands with guys in it, haha, but it’s true that there’s some sexism especially in the punk scene, more or less, of course. To be quite honest I’ve been always up for new girl punk bands. I just find it fascinating, amazing, inspiring, fresh and new. When girls rock, they rock…that’s it!

CM: You're a multi-instrumentalist yourself, right? Do you play all the instruments on your own recordings?

VV: Yes I do play guitar, drums and some keyboards for fun.
Generally I do, but on the new Sun Down California 7’’, which is due out in Sept/Oct, I do play guitar and did co-produce it and recorded with Mass Giorgini (Anti-Flag, Rise Against) and Luke McNeil (The Copyrights) and of course Mass did play bass. For the new songs Marilù is gonna be playing all the bass lines, which is great. She’s one of those bass player who don’t sound boring with crazy bass lines. Totally high five!

CM: Who are some of your personal musical influences? And do you feel those influences come out in your music?

VV: This is the hardest question. When people ask me this I never know what to answer. I do listen to a lot of music, and different kinds. But metal, I do love and follow the lead of people such as Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan and Patti Smith. And I do write and sing about my personal/private life. That is good if you’re wondering who I date or not (ride). But mainly I just write and play music that I’d like to hear just not to hear random crappy songs. That was the main reason why I started when I was 6 and it keeps going on. I guess that’s the main influence. And some Lebowski influences me, well I’m a Dudeist.

CM: Do you have any new material in the works for a possible release later in the year?

VV: Yes. Sun Down California 7’’ is gonna be out in Sept on Astro Girl Records. It’s a 3 song vinyl. Hope you’ll love it. I’d like to get lots of feedback so just feel free to like my own Facebook page or add me as a friend or like Astro Girl Records page. I’m already working on the next release, thanks to Marilù on bass, it's gonna kick ass!

CM: Are there any gigs coming up in the coming weeks?

VV: Well right now I’m living in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and I’m gonna book a couple of shows but not as of right now. I’m gonna have a Skype show tho. You can all add me at august296, will keep you updated when that’s gonna be on. Oh yeah, don’t forget to call me for your birthday shows. Love to play those ones!

CM: Have you ever contemplated a possible tour featuring yourself and other Astro Girl artists?

VV: Yes, of course, we’re working on that sometime next year.

CM: Between running your own label, scouting for new artists and recording your own music...what's next for Val Ventura?

VV: I’ve been traveling a lot over the last 4 years, lived in L.A., supported and still supporting my favorite music store Ventura Street as well, so I guess getting a normal life with some craziness?

CM: Is there a website where people can find out news on your own upcoming releases, Astro Girl artists, gigs and merch?

VV: Yes, don’t forget to check our page on Facebook.

CM: Thanks again for talking with Critical Mass, Val. It truly is an exciting time to be an indie artists, and I wish you and the label the very best. We would love to get you out to Chicago sometime. Thanks again and take care.  

VV: Thank you Chris, I really enjoyed this interview. I will love to come Chicago, and I swear I will sometime. Cheers mate.

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