Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Five Questions With Warren of The Valley Arena

[MP3] The Valley Arena - Kick At The Ceiling

(NEW TRACK off their Forthcoming Album)

I have known Warren Woodward and the men of The Valley Arena for what seems like ages. The Long Beach, CA natives performed at my 21st birthday party back in 2005 and have the distinction of being the first band to ever play a Rock Insider Presents show. They toured extensively off their 2005 debut - Take Comfort In Strangers - which was one of my top album of the year.

Still, just yesterday I had someone say they had never heard of the band before. I thought a proper introduction to blog world was in order so I sat down with singer Warren Woodward and picked his brain about their forthcoming record, playing Los Angeles, and the best places to get veggie burgers.



RI: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard of The Valley Arena?

WARREN: I suppose taking everything we love about the dissonant dc post-punk/dischord era bands like fugazi, but then tempering it with a love for traditional, compact little pop songs - and particularly on the new record adding in a little more in the way of dark grooves and sexiness.

RI: Your first L.A. show: Where did u play who was on the bill?

WARREN: What was that old indoor skatepark called? Where they served alcohol to minors? It was a rad place - right after we played, Chris our guitarist decided to try to drop in on a half pipe for the first time in his life. He promptly broke his arm, and we didn't play again for four months! I think I was 23 at the time, Mike and Chris would have been 20 and 21.

RI: Where do you draw inspiration for the lyrics in your songs? Any common themes?

WARREN: The whole new record is about sex and sexuality - not just the act of sex , but the different roles it plays in our lives There's one song, "Kick At The Ceiling" which is about being born and how scary that would be if you new what you were about to get yourself into. A lot of the record covers the progression and different roles sexuality will take on throughout your life - from selfish gratification, to the practicality of reproduction, to the comfort of just wanting a warm body next to you and not wanting to die alone.

RI: You also co-direct, produce, and edit music videos. Would we be familiar with any of your work?

WARREN: Oddly enough, I'm finishing a video today while I do this interview. I do the videos with my friend Robert Schober, an amazingly talented director and animator. The last two we did together were for The Blood Brothers and Mates of State [view videos here]

- the one I'm finishing today is for the band Poison the Well. Robert also did The Valley Arena video for "Paint it Red" [watch now].

...Oh Chris just told me the venue where he broke his arm was called "Juvee" pretty appropriate for a place where there was a half-pipe and underage drinking. It looked like the place the Foot Clan hang out at.

RI: Hahaha. That's awesome. Any plans for touring this summer?

WARREN: We just got back from doing a month of touring. We're looking to be out as much this year as possible. I'm guessing June will be our next serious touring and we'll just keep it up through the fall when (hopefully) our new record will finally come out. We'd like to hit Japan for the first time this year as well, we're all dying to go there.

Bonus Question: You're a vegetarian. Where's the best place in Los Angeles to get a veggie burger?

WARREN: Depends on the situation and what you're into. The studio we did the last record at was right down the street from Astro Burger so that really got me through some tough all nighters - but for pure quality I'd have to say M-Cafe or Real Food Daily for quality vegetarian eats.


The Valley Arena will be playing Now Blog This! at The Scene Bar April 19th with The Pity Party, The Clean Prophets, and The Western States Motel. The show is curated by local blogs Radio Free Silverlake, You Set The Scene, Little Radio, and Rock Insider.

Admission is only $5. Click here for details.

VIDEO: The Valley Arena - Paint It Red

Wovenhand, The Dodos (Dodo Bird), Fortune's Flesh @ Silverlake Lounge
Sabrosa Purr, Dead Ponies @ The Echo
Mt. Eerie / Microphones, Anna Oxygen, Lucky Dragons, Eric Lindley @ The Smell
Minibar, Shane Alexander, The Quiet @ Troubadour
Yo! Majesty, Thunderheist, Brother Reade @ Safari Sam's
The Press Fire, Solare, Klum @ The Scene
Mandi Perkins/Parabola/Looten Rock/Guns, Cries and Alibis, Arden Kaywin, Nick Britt @ The Roxy