Interview with Jake Adams singer/guitarist of Valkyrye
(Hungarian version is coming tomorrow./A magyar változatot holnap olvashatjátok.)
Despite Virginia-based Valkyrie is not really a mainstream band, they have a lot of fans in Europe, too. Driven by the Adams brothers, Jake and Pete, they released three albums and play heavy rock with some early metal influences. I asked Jake about the beginnings and their music. In the second part of the interview we are going to talk about some particular things and their future plans, too. I hope…
Rattle Inc.: I read that Pete and you have played since you were 9-10 years old.
Jake Adams: Actually I picked up the guitar when I was 12, and Pete picked it up soon after, so he would have been 9 or 10.
Rattle Inc.: When did „playing music” turn into forming a band? Was Valkyrie your first group?
Jake Adams: No, we had different friends we would jam with, Valkyrie came after many other groups had come and gone.
Rattle Inc.: Was JAB (Jake Adams Band) earlier than Valkyrie? In which city did you live then and what kind of music did you play?
Jake Adams: This was our first band that we put any time in together, a friend came up with the name, it was easy, so it stuck. It was Pete on bass, me on guitar, and John Baizley (Baroness) on drums. We played a few house parties and school talent shows, not much more. We played a mix of garage rock, punk rock, and we incorporated some ska upstrokes on the guitar. We listened to a lot of old British street punk, oi, and ska and it came out in our sound. We probably had 8-10 original songs.
Rattle Inc.: How can you define the style of Valkyrie? People usually mention you as a doom/stoner band but I think you are more than that…
Jake Adams: Usually I just say „classic hard rock”, because an average person doesn’t really know what „doom” is. Plus, we have always been fairly uptempo, and our lyrics more inspirational and positive than a lot of doom. „Stoner” is such a limited and somewhat derogatory term, so yes, we are „psychedelic” in some ways but it’s really just heavy rock with some early metal influences.
Rattle Inc.: In my opinion you have a lot from the rock/metal bands of 70’s like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple etc. Which bands were your main inspirations?
Jake Adams: Yes, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Wishbone Ash are our primary influences.
Rattle Inc.: Do you have less-more psychedelic elements in your music or not?
Jake Adams: In some ways, but it’s not the focus, usually they are quick breaks or interludes, or we try to combine heaviness with a psychedelic feel. Psychedelia to some degree is important to what we do.
Rattle Inc.: What kind of relationship do you have musically and personally with other bands of this region: Baroness, Kylesa, Black Tusk, etc.?
Jake Adams: Well, we were all part of a growing southern underground scene and so we would play shows and festivals with them from time to time. Of course all those bands you mentioned were formed in Savannah (Georgia) and Pete lived down there before joining Valkyrie so we know them all from that. Of course Baroness are all from our hometown of Lexington so we have obvious connections there as well.
Rattle Inc.: How easy or hard to work together with your brother?
Jake Adams: It is really easy to write and play with Pete, we „get” each other and are on the same wavelength musically. But as brothers, sometimes we butt heads and have disagreements that can be difficult. But the musical part comes fairly easily.
Rattle Inc.: Although Pete also played on every album, Valkyrie is mainly your band (you have founded it, Pete joined later, in the last decade he also played in another band), is it correct? Do you have different personality: do you need stability and does he need diversity? Or did it just happen this way?
Jake Adams: It just happened this way, when I started the band he was still on active duty in the army, but when he returned from service he naturally joined up. I have had a fairly stable teaching career and have had children for the last 7 years so I don’t have time to join other bands, where Pete has more free to tour with other groups.
Rattle Inc.: Did Valkyrie work differently whilst Pete was „absent”?
Jake Adams: No, not really, we still rehearsed, but of course we don’t play gigs without him.
Rattle Inc.: How do you share the songwriting work, the vocal and guitar parts?
Jake Adams: Pete and I get together and write most of the songs on guitar, then we introduce them to the band, and we continue as a band to tweak them out and refine them.
To be continued (I hope)…