Making changes one beat at a time with Anthony Valadez
Anyone who has worked with Full Crate and Mar instantly grabs our attention. Which is why we couldn’t resist interviewing Anthony Valadez, a DJ, producer and radio host from Los Angeles. Valadez just recently dropped his solo album ‘Just visiting,’ a soulful album that makes you feel as if you’re the guest, and the international artists’ mission is to serenade your soul. Valadez has had the pleasure of opening for the likes of Eric Roberson, Sa Ra Creative Partners, Ben Harper, Les Nubians, Vikter Duplaix and Sy Smith. Valadez reveals his favourite collaboration on ‘Just Visiting,’ the cheapest record he’s found whilst digging and his production process. Margaret Tra writes.
You received a lot of love for 'Just Visiting', please tell us about it.
The love is overwhelming. I spent two to three years working on this record, so once its done and released you obviously want the world to hear it and you hope people dig it. There were many nights where I sat there listening and listening to each song tweaking levels, drums and often fell asleep in my studio chair while doing so. So the love just justifies it all.
I think Joya Mooi might have been the most adventurous. We met. We ate and next thing I knew we were recording. But there is a cut on that record that is a homage to David Bowie entitled "Yolden Gears" which features most of my favorite musicians in LA. To sit there and record them on this track and every instrument was moving to my soul. Dexter Story who played drums just gave it that raw feel. Nick Rosen layered a bass line that still gives me goose bumps. I come from a mainly electronic sampled bass background, so to hear and mix these elements into the groove was just amazing!
Cheapest and favourite record you have found whilst digging?
I found a bunch of cool 7' records in a shop in Amsterdam! And they were cheap! I'm talking classics from The Sugar Hill Gang, and a few b-side tracks that I was never aware of. Needless to say I think I spent most of my money there. No regrets!
What is next for you? Are you working on any new projects?
I've already started a new project that kind of continues from the 'Just Visiting element.' A few more new live instruments on the tracks to evoke a bit more emotion this time. Not sure about guests or if the next record will have guests, but its like making a bowl of soup. You test the flavour, and add more ingredients with time until you perfect it.
You've toured with Talib Kweli and Jean Grae, what were your most memorable moments? (Did you learn anything from the artists'?)
I was on this awesome tour with Talib Kweli and Jean Grae as the DJ for RES. It was incredible to go out to a new city and just watch all these artists do what they love. These 3 artists were managed by Cory Smith of Blacksmith. I watched him, and learned the behind the scenes of management and dealing with new venues and just leading the troops. It was inspiring.
You dip your fingers in an array of roles, what do you think your next step will be?
I try not to think about it too much. I always live in the now. I just exist and create. Wether its a new album, working on new music, prepping for my Monday night show on KCRW, djing in LA 3-4 nights a week, or simply creating content on my blog, I always stay busy and stay in the now.
Walk us through what goes through your head when you're producing.
My mind is always open. I am always open to new sounds. I always start with loops then invite musicians' over to see if possibly there is something they could contribute. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. So I always keep in mind that I want my music to be a journey as cliche as that may sound. I have nightmares of being that beat producer who simply loops the same beat for three minutes with it having no changes. So I always pressure myself to walk that line of simplicity and change within one song. I love simple but I also want it to change from here to there.
What Stimulates Your Soul
I think photography, music and people. I love being alone and walking around a city with my camera. It's when I can connect to myself and existence. I love people, but mainly people I dont know. I love strangers. All this moves me and my soul from time to time but I also enjoy just being alone at 2am and working on music knowing the rest of the people on my block are dead asleep. It's that creative energy.
Want to hear more from Anthony, jump onto his website.