• Chas

ChaChaChats: Xavier Valdez - Musician/Artist

TCB: Thank you so much for joining us here at The ChaCha Blog Xavier! To start things off, do you mind telling us about yourself?

XV: Thank YOU for including me in this Q&A. I really appreciate it :) Best summary I can give about myself is that I’m just a regular dude who loves to listen and make music. I love the mountains and see myself living there eventually. Beer is always a ‘Yes’ for me and I love my cats, but mainly my cat Tito.

TCB: How did your journey with music start? When did you know it was something you wanted and needed to pursue full-heartedly?

XV: My friend in high school actually told me I should play the bass because he knew how to play guitar and I wanted him to teach me, but he never did and so I had to watch Youtube videos to learn.

I wouldn’t take it to the level I am right now until 2015 when I was pursuing an interest in law enforcement.

The day I made the switch was weird for me. I came home from school, for some reason I felt uneasy and exhausted, then I popped open SoundCloud. A friend’s band called HUNNY had released a song called "Cry For Me", which was just incredible.

As I sat there listening I was wildly upset, jealous, and confused. Why was I feeling this way though? It was because I knew I NEEDED to make something just as good as this. Can’t really explain the feeling, but it was a definite switch in me that had me utter a simple “I can do something like this.”

That was that!

TCB: What artists and styles in particular influence your music? How do those influences translate into your own music?

XV: I can go on about which artists influence me, but that just happens to me over and over again.

I’ll obsess over some artists’ styles and sounds and try to emulate the groove they make to a degree. Granted, it doesn’t always work the way I want, but it helps me identify what sounds I do and don’t like.

For a while I wanted to make music like Angus & Julia Stone and then switched to a more Glass Animals vibe. Now I’m on a Goth Babe kick.

It really depends, but I feel like I’ve always had a knack for a more chill type of sound.

TCB: How has music played an important role in your life? How has it impacted you?

XV: Honestly it’s always something I loved and wanted to do but was too afraid to actually do it. I’m the only one in my family who has chosen to pursue a musician route so I’ve got something to prove to myself.

I think it’s been a very impactful thing with how I view myself, and I’m always trying to get better at being a solid person, so, the music helps me be more open to lots of things.

It also feels like I can finally express myself how I’ve always thought I could if that makes sense?

TCB: What is your creative process like? Where do you find artistic inspiration?

XV: The creative process to me now is “yo take your time.” I used to rush writing shitty demos and throwing them out in SoundCloud. That is by far the dumbest thing I could’ve done. Lol.

If we’re talking lyrics and recording though, I like to get all my stuff done and handled during the day, and reserve the rest of the evening for myself. My inspiration relies on my own reflections. I think a lot about the times I could’ve handled things differently and the true feelings I had within them no matter how selfish they might come off as.

I also get inspired by some of the artists I'm listening to at the time.

TCB: What artist/band/album played an important role in your life growing up and why?

XV: One of the bigger influences for me was definitely music by Steely Dan. When I was a kid I remember falling asleep in the backseat when my Dad’s ‘Steely Dan's Greatest Hits’ album would play. The instrumentation and melodies from that duo was just phenomenal.

TCB: How would you describe your music?

XV: Probably in the realm of Indie and Pop I think? Somewhere right in the middle.

I can write a really washed out indie song, but that’s really boring and no one cares. I can try to write a pop song, but I don’t really have the chops to be a pop vocalist, and I like making weird sounds too much so finding a happy medium has worked out for me.

I think I give off more of a chill/relaxed type of sound, which is crazy, because I’m always running on caffeine and I feel like I’m pretty outgoing so it shouldn’t add up the way it does.

TCB: What do you hope people take away from your music?

XV: You know I have a friend who critiqued one of my lines in a new song I have out called "Nightmares". She said the song is amazing, EXCEPT for this one line. The line reads: “Can you love me like I need’’ to which she said was pretty selfish.

I for one am not offended at all. I think everything I’m saying in these songs are incredibly selfish. At the end of the day I’m making this music for me. Obviously I’d like people to relate, but these songs are just me reflecting on what I think of situations and the moments in them.

Are they a little dramatic? Absolutely, but that's where all the feelings lie. I hope people can see that I’m a serious artist and I really do have something to say.

TCB: Who's your ideal musician to collaborate with and why?

XV: Oh man! Well, right now, definitely Goth Babe. He brings such good feelings in all of his songs, but that’s nothing compared to the mixture of unique sounds he creates. The atmosphere he fills with each song is just amazing. I hope it does happen one day.

TCB: We like to keep it real at The ChaCha Blog and not hide our faults or struggles, so with that, have you experienced any pitfalls? If so, do you mind sharing what that struggle was, and how you bounced back?

XV: I began laughing at this question, mainly because me attempting to sing, has been the biggest pitfall for years.

Gonna be real with you, I don’t think I can sing very well. I’ve recently started practicing for the past year and some months, but the vocals have always been my weakest.

One year I made a demo, sent it out to my dad in Vegas, he called me back and the first thing he said was “BOY who told you could sing?? Oh X, you need to find another singer for the music you’re making. Don’t get me wrong the music is cool, but your voice is terrible. Maybe you can look in your area to see if someone is willing to sing on your track because this isn’t going anywhere. Or, maybe ask the singer in your band to sing over this??”

Naturally someone wouldn’t take that well, and I did not. I almost quit my own music that night and got into the mindset of “I mean, I’ll always have my band, what am I doing making music for myself?” Then I thought, “maybe this just wasn’t the song for me.”

So, I went back home and wrote some more. And truly, that’s all I continue to do. I know I’ll never be an amazing singer, but that doesn’t mean I wont stop trying to get better.

Oh and side note, that asshole finally digs my tunes now.

TCB: If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?

XV: You know I have no idea of how the industry works, but I know it doesn't care about me. So, honestly better outreach to amateur artists who really do want to create something cool. There are countless artists with something to prove, if there was a more accessible way for artists to get known, that would be beneficial.

TCB: What advice would you give to other aspiring artists just starting out?

XV: Who told you guys your music was worth making? Also, your band sucks, go solo.

TCB: Now for some fun questions…If you could have dinner with any three people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

XV: 1. Jesus, ask him what’s up. I wanna grill him with questions that I think are necessary. Also if he doesn’t turn my water into wine I’ll call him out big time.

2. Ariana Grande. She’s just a damn gem and I hope we would have good conversations about music. Plus, she's hot.

3. Leonardo DiCaprio. He is one of the most amazing actors, and he nails every damn role!!! Love seeing him in movies

TCB: What is the most useless talent you have?

XV: I can fall asleep within minutes of watching a movie. Not sure why, but it happens more often than you think.

TCB: Do you sing in the shower? If so, what is your go-to song?

XV: I absolutely do! Honestly anything I’m obsessing over at that particular time.

TCB: Last but not least, where can people find you to stay up to date on your work?

XV: My website!! xaviervaldez.com or Instagram @xavierv1

New music video is out now for Nightmares, check it out here.