Calvin Valentine dropped Eugene last October. A superficial glance at record would see that this is a kind of homage to the emcee/producer’s hometown – a small hippy enclave in Oregon. The album’s way more complicated than that, and we’ll get to the point in a minute – but for a moment let’s talk about the town of Eugene. It’s a good town, I had the best breakfast burrito of my life in that town. It was served by person of extraordinary beauty who pronounced ‘mango’ in a tone that continues to echo, even now, a decade later. Anyway…
Valentine’s album is built of similar moments, memories and the echoes of influence of his hometown. Sure, he’s relocated to Los Angeles and he’s clearly thriving beneath the bluer skies, and in a city that is driven by industry, but his heart still beats with the green of Oregon. Encounters with record store owners, local landmarks and the fleeting passages of life populate this album, and soon we see that it’s much, much more than a simple love letter to his hometown.
Eugene is an album that explores the themes of mortality – not just of humans, but of places and times. Time fades, memories become stronger and refocused. Buildings may be re-purposed or demolished – but they’re totemic to Valentine. Sure, he may tell you that this album is about the one place that he loves like no other – but actually it’s about the vitality of life, the essential need for friendship and collaboration. Ultimately this album is about the very essence of love. By singing about one thing Valentine is singing about a whole bunch of things. He’s fucking crafty like that.
The sound of this thing is sweet too. Devoid of samples and the usual tripwires that young producers play around, Valentine (who sometimes goes by the name “Bong Mayer” – check the track) has written this thing with entirely original music. Strings stir in a deep-roasted west coast flavor, and some sweet scratch-work sounds like summer being fried on the sidewalk.
Closing track “Supernova” which features Danielle Henderson sounds like church… I don’t mean ‘organized religion’, I mean something better than that. Henderson has a voice that dismantles bombs. We need to talk about this closing track, because it reflects everything that went before it. If you don’t get this track you won’t get any of the album, and you probably don’t deserve stuff like sunshine and nice things.
Just take a look at this sweet artwork, associated with the just-dropped “This Feeling” Daddy Kev Remix, featuring Fat Tony… then scroll down for the interview:
So – we wanted to talk to Valentine about his album, and the sweet issue on vinyl that you can now get your sticky fingers on. We got to thinking “What would a video postcard from Calvin Valentine look like?”so we demanded one. Read our demands to Calvin Valentine – then watch his solid response. Then go listen to his tunes.
POPBOLLOCKS DEMANDS TO CALVIN VALENTINE:
(NO CHEAP TRICKS – NO SHORTCUTS)
follow our demands in exactly this order, and do not miss any step of the procedure. failure to meet these demands, in this sequence, is a failure you will visit upon your fans. do not fail your fans. it is essential that you work as a team – helping the weakest, and allowing appropriate opportunities for bathroom breaks.
- Part ONE:
find equipment to record a video
check that you can record decent audio to accompany the video (no crappy wind/muffles)
hey, maybe your phone is good enough – think about that for about 3 minutes
- Part TWO:
make sure that you are happy with the quality of audio and video equipment that you have sourced
smoke a blunt
do not scrimp on the quality of the weed. standards are important
- Part THREE:
take no more and no less than 2 minutes and 30 seconds to record a video postcard home
speak directly to your abstract influences, your upbringing, your sense of place
explain why you love l.a. but why your hometown is the inspiration for a debut
if you want to add ‘production’ like a music bed, or any fancy shit – fine. however, do not overthink or over-work this thing. guard your heart. keep expressions true.
- Part FOUR:
smoke another blunt
admire your work
HURRY – LISTEN – CALVIN VALENTINE
HURRY – CHECK OUT THE “THIS FEELING” DADDY KEV REMIX FEAT. FAT TONY
KEEP AN EYE ON CALVIN VALENTINE