Always invigorating and sonically upbeat, Reading’s Valeras are a young up-and-coming indie rock band who swiftly got marked as ones to watch. Having released a number of singles including ‘Intentions’ and ‘Louder’ as well as supporting bands like YONAKA and The Wombats, the four-piece has impressed with their incredible pop hooks and ambitious tunes. Influenced by the likes of Wolf Alice, their sound gushes with emotive sweetness, appealing both to obscure indie listeners as well as a broader, more urban, punk rock audience.
Back in 2013, vocalist Rose Yagmur, guitarists Katie King and George Parnell, and drummer Max Sealy were all members of an institute called Reading Rock Academy, which encourages young people to have music lessons and form bands outside of school. Having signed up for the ‘Summer Band Experience’ respectively, the four of them were grouped together without knowing each other – coincidences turn into a beautiful beginning called Valeras.
Today, Valeras release their music video of ‘Hear Me Out’. Directed by Joey Julliard and a TEA films production, it is ripe with authenticity and feels intimately personal. We chatted with frontwoman Rose Yagmur about the emotional ups and downs of being a musician, their new single about coming out and their favourite albums of all-time.
An interview with Valeras
What is the origin of the name ‘Valeras’?
Valera is a city in my home country Venezuela. When we were looking for a name, I wanted something that would remind me of home and carry that with me. We thought Valera had a ring to it, so we just added an S and went with Valeras. It’s also said in Venezuela that people who came from Valera are very courteous – we like to think we are too.
What has impacted you most as a songwriter/band?
How quickly things move! It’s crazy to experience the ever-changing music industry and witness the different trends that come and go. It’s interesting being surrounded by it though. I think every musician is inevitably influenced by it, consciously or not. However, as Valeras, we always stay true to ourselves and we don’t really pay much attention to trends. If we did, we would’ve gone through a lot of phases!
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What was the studio dynamic like when you guys are working on new songs?
We love jamming. We could literally jam for hours. A lot of the time we get in ‘The Box’ (George’s home rehearsal space) and we just jam. Sometimes a song idea will arise, and even if it doesn’t, it’s a great experience. We normally write music in our own space and bring them to each other.
What are the stories behind your upcoming releases? How is the work progressing?
Every song is different. They all tell different stories. Our latest single was about gay pride. Our next one speaks about mental health, like how sometimes I can be too hard on myself and not realising I’m making progress and still getting by. We’re constantly writing and recording in the studio, it’s going well.
Does self-doubt still happen to you when you’re releasing new music or playing live?
There is always a slight fear that people aren’t going to be into it. But nowadays we’re more confident in our music and we don’t seek external validation as much. When we’re happy about something we’ve made, we don’t worry as much about how “successful” it’s going to be. We’re proud of what we make because we put everything into it.
What’s your proudest Valeras moment?
We’re very proud of our latest single ‘Hear Me Out’. It‘s the first time I spoke openly about being gay after many years of being discreet about it. I’ve always wanted to use this platform to express our true feelings and that was definitely a big moment for the band.
If you guys can each choose one album to listen to for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Rose: 1, 2, Kung Fu! by Boy Azooga
Katie: Songs of Hers by Hers
Max: Schlagenheim by Black Midi
George: Comfort of Strangers by Beth Orton
Watch Valeras’ latest music video of Hear Me Out here