This month LIVE EYE TV sits down with Craft Spells at The Chop Suey in Seattle to discuss the band, touring, and future work! Since the release of the outstanding debut Idle Labor on Captured Tracks, Justin Vallesteros and bandmates have been on a whirl-wind tour of the US and Europe, headlining dates as well as playing with bands like Beach Fossils and Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Stream the interview below, as well as a performance video of the track “You Should Close the Door”.
STREAMING MEDIA LINKS:
VIDEO: Craft Spells Interview & Performance: Live @ The Chop Suey [YOUTUBE]
Listening to Craft Spells 2011 LP debut, Idle Labor, one can almost hear the hermetic conditions of it’s creation, as the album was written and recorded by Justin Vallesteros in a bedroom at his parents house in Lathrop, California. Vallesteros had been playing music since the age of fifteen, and having been frustrated by his early experiences in bands, began recording some songs on his own, using instruments and equipment borrowed from friends. He explains, “The whole Idle Labor process I didn’t own any of the recording equipment, even the guitars that I was using. I didn’t own equipment then. I borrowed all my friends stuff, and they were all nice enough to let me borrow their stuff.” Vallesteros early efforts quickly showed his ability to write minor-key pop songs that felt timeless, and soon after posting them to Myspace the artist began to attract attention. It wouldn’t be long before Mike Sniper of Captured Tracks would contact Justin asking to hear more, eventually releasing this early batch of music as the Craft Spells debut, Idle Labor this past May.
Landing on the prestigious micro-label would prove to be a coup for the young artist who would soon find himself searching for a band to accompany him on the road. Vallesteros turned to Myspace friend Jack Smith, who had been playing in a Seattle band called Hair Jazz, and soon the two would hook up to play a show as a two piece, with a computer providing backing and drum tracks. Not long afterwards, the pair would contact Jack’s friend Pete Michel to sit-in and play drums. The chemistry was immediate, and the next night the group played as a three piece. They would go on to add a second guitarist, Javier Suarez, at the behest of a mutual friend, and with that Vallesteros endeavor to put together a band would be complete for the time.
When you consider that the group has been together for, really, less than a year, that they found themselves opening for Beach Fossils at the Williamsburg Theatre in Brooklyn just days after forming, as well as the glowing critical praise that the debut, Idle Labor has earned, and you have quite a magical first year for a young band. Head spinning, even. What will be interesting to watch as they go forward is how they take Vallesteros very personal, intimate method and apply it to the band setting. In discussing the matter recently before the show in Seattle, he made it clear that the project to this date had been creatively his, and that the up-coming EP would also be, but he stressed that they would approach the next full-length as a band saying, “I thought about it after the European tour, and I’d really like the second LP to be a group effort. It’s hard for me to let go of things, of something of my own but, the LP is something we need to try. I want to try. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out.” When asked whether that would require him to change his recording method he said, “No. They’re gonna come in my room. It’s still gonna be a religious experience…it’s gonna be right there!”
This Craft Spells interview and performance was recorded at The Chop Suey in Seattle on November 21, 2011 by the Live Eye Tv crew. Interview by Iggy Pot. Special thanks to Craft Spells, and the great people over at The Chop Suey. Go see a show!