One of the prime purveyors of Colorado Carnage, Vance Valenzuela has a way with shred that it truly jealousy inspiring. As well as being part of fearsome TDM 4 piece Vale of Pnath, he was also partly responsible for the serrative excitement that marked out Sentient by Dissonance in Design as one of this years most visceral independent releases.
His riffs are both unerringly heavy and as catchy as Yellow Fever, so when the opportunity arose to put some questions to him, I jumped at the chance. To ask him about the his busy year ahead, married life and favourite guitars.
CP: Congratulations of your recent marriage dude. I'm really happy for you guys. Its been a year since the release of Sentient and even longer since The Prodigal Empire came out, you must be excited about writing new music. What have you got in the pipeline that would get Circle Pit readers excited?
VV: Thanks so much man, we really appreciate it! I am very excited to begin the writing process for both Vale of Pnath and Dissonance. Both bands have 3 songs each of new material at the moment and sound really great so far. Im excited to open a whole new chapter for both bands. Ive been experimenting with some things a little outside of the normal sound with great success. I have no doubt these songs will deliver what our fans are expecting and even a little more!
CP: What is your writing process and does it alter with the different bands that you write for?
VV: The writing process for each band differs for sure. All the songs I wrote for the Prodigal Empire were all done by Alan (bass) and myself. On the other hand, Dissonance in Design wrote all the music together in a practice setting. I have never wrote with a band as a whole before so that was a great experience.
CP: How do you write for different bands and give each set of songs its own personality but still manage to give it that unique Valenzuela stamp?
VV: Personally its much easier for me to write intense melodic riffs. So writing for Dissonance came naturally for me.. writing for Vale has always been fun. My mentality was creating a band with elements of some of my favorite genres. If you are a fan you should be able to tell how we make this work.
CP: What bands have you played with or been listening to in the last year that have really influenced you or made you think differently about playing guitar?
VV: Every now and then there comes a band that really influences me to think outside of the normal thinking process. That band for me has been Beyond Creation. This band is seriously a breath of fresh air. They have their own sound and really put out music that is among any elite metal band. Also Black Crown Initiate, these guys came out to a show in PA when we were on tour with Gorod a little over year ago and I've been a big fan since. Check these bands out!
CP: Steve Boiser is the vocalist in 2 of the bands you are in and have worked with him for a while now. Can you hear what he might sing over the top of a riff when you create it or are his vocals still surprising when he lays them down?
VV: I usually cant imagine vocals over a song unless I have arranged something for a vocal part to fit. Its usually always fresh to me when vocals come into the mix.
CP: Do you have a favourite guitar for writing on? And does that differ from your recording set up?
VV: I love my LTD. I wrote the whole Vale EP on it. Its bay far the best guitar owned. Unfortunately all the recording sessions called for a guitar eith active pick ups which I do not keep in this guitar. All of the albums I have recorded have been on Schecter guitars.
CP: When to comes to writing and creativity my Wife is my biggest inspiration, has getting married altered your mindset about being an artist and the whole creative process?
VV: I usually pull inspiration from lots of places. My wife has been an inspiration for a new Dissonance song indeed. Some influences were live events, bands I was really into at the time. . It all varies.
CP: If you could have one (and only one) of these, which would you choose: A spaceship thaat can travel to anywhere in the Universe or a Time machine that works only on earth?
VV: Tough question…. I'd have to say time machine. Im terrified of space hahaha
– John Whitmore