With the upcoming release of their debut album, “I Waited For You”, Valora will redefine the male ego. The alternative rock genre is in dire need of this shake-up. The music industry doesn’t yearn for a band that can deliver a Daughtry hit, followed by a Nickelback hit, a Foo Fighters’ hit and topped off with the ultimate mimic, a Nirvana hit. The industry needs originality and what better way to spice up the bland rock stew than with some female flavoring?
Shockya readers, say hello to the ultimate alternative ingredient, Syd Duran. Don’t worry, she is not a duplicate of Paramore’s Hayley Williams. Duran will not simply dismiss the rock genre just because B.O.B rolled her way. Sorry, Ms. Williams, but authenticity runs thick within the Shockya walls. Also, unlike Williams, Duran is securely joined by five other members, which consist of Ryan Villa, Taelor Duran, Jared Baez, Kasim Somers and Kenneth Benson. The sextet’s debut album, “I Waited For You” will drop on April 3rd via Hollywood Records.
Check out the interview below with Duran and let the Valora venom be instilled within you. No, the poison will not kill you, but rather the poser alternative rock bands on your playlists.
How did you first get started in the music industry?
It is something I’ve always wanted to do. I grew up in Whittier and there isn’t a whole lot of music going on there. So, I didn’t have any “ins” or connections. I just did what sounded right, which is to play a lot of songs and to play anywhere that would allow me to take over their bar or party, whatever it was. After high school is when I found musicians who were as passionate about music as I was. I got some really good advice from a family friend, who said it is more about the songs and not just playing every show you can play. So, we focused really hard on that and wrote, “I Waited For You”, which is our first single and the title of our album coming out in April.
What inspired the lyrics of the single?
The songwriting process is always different for me, but that one, we had the hook, “I Waited For You”. I worked with two songwriters and they said to just finish the song. So, I was kind of guided to write a song called, “I Waited For You” and then I just tried to apply it to my life. I waited for an opportunity to make music a living or I waited for myself to take the necessary steps to be a real musician or artist. It is a personal application for me; it isn’t about a guy.
How was it making the video for the song?
That was the best day of my life in 2011. That was something that I dreamed about since I was really young. I always watched music videos growing up and would picture what mine would look like one day. It was everything I could imagine and more. It was really hard work, but I expected that. I am a very driven and determined person.
What made you use the concept with the guy in the video, if the song isn’t about a relationship?
Personally, I hate those videos where you have something in your head all along about a song that you love and then you watch the video and it’s something different. Then you hate the song. So, we wanted it to be something that made sense to the listener.
You give a nice punch at the end of the video! What are some of the female-fronted bands you listen to?
Once Evanescence came out, I thought she was just an amazing rock goddess. Since then, my opinion on Evanescence hasn’t changed. The music has the same impact on me as it did when I was a little girl. So, I look up to Amy Lee.
Even though you admire Amy Lee, did you ever think of taking the “easier” route in the music industry as a female and become a pop singer?
I always loved rock music. When I was really young, I tried to find a genre. It’s not like right out of the womb you know you are going to be the front woman of a rock band. I had to figure it out for myself. I remember trying to sing a Kelly Clarkson song. I did it pretty well, but it didn’t feel right; it felt funny. The essence of pop is Kelly Clarkson. I liked the grit in her voice. So, I was like, ‘how can I do something like this, but actually go even further and make it really rocking?’ So, I started writing music at that point and I omitted the pop side of it and made it more rock.
How did you first form Valora?
It wasn’t until after high school, when I found Ryan Villa, the lead guitarist. My management, at the time, gave me his audition video and it cracked me up because he did it in the style of ‘MTV Cribs’. It was in his own house. He opened the door and was like,
hey guys, come on in!’. He went into his music room and he was playing every type of guitar and every style of guitar playing. He just impressed me so much. It was he and I forming the rest of the band.
What’s it like having your sister [Taelor] in the band with you?
I love it. I remember having a really good time before she joined because to me, it was the best thing I could be doing with my life. But when she did play a couple of show with us, she was kind of on the fence. She was like, ‘I don’t know if I want to be your backup singer.’ I was like, ‘please, I really need your help.’ After a couple of shows, she loved it too. It was a great time on the road together and she was supportive. It’s great to have my family support there.
No fighting between you two?
We fought a lot when we were younger. I think when you grow up close in age you get over all that stuff.
How was it working with Kara DioGuardi on your upcoming debut album, “I Waited For You”?
It was great. We wrote two songs that got on this record. I was definitely nervous to meet her because she has had so many hits. She will give you the truth. If I’m not giving all the information I should to make the lyrics really honest, she’ll be like, ‘bullshit, tell me what really happened.’ We wrote the song, “Forgotten”, which sets the standards for how much of myself I was willing to give away to people listening to this record. At the end of “Forgotten”, people listening to this record will really know who I am or what I have gone through.
Is there an overall lyrical theme for the album?
It is a yes and no answer. I didn’t plan for there to be a theme when writing the songs, but listening to the album as a whole, I can see that the album is dealing with real issues. Not every song is happy. It is the heavy stuff that people deal with. After listening to the songs all the way through, my hope is that you don’t walk away feeling depressed or sad, but you feel a glimmer of hope.
Two of your songs, “Extreme” (Alice In Wonderland) and “No Matter What” (The Last Song), were part of movie soundtracks. Will the songs be on your debut album?
Both of them will be.
“Extreme” is an awesome song.
That was a lot of fun for me to write because I wrote it with the Matrix and they are my favorite team to write with. They are just a lot of fun and they all have such explosive personalities. It’s really cool to get in a room with people with that dynamic and write a song.
Do you have a favorite song off the album?
I would have to say, it is “I Waited For You” because that one I co-wrote before the record deal, before any help with development or with a record label or with management. I feel really proud of that. It ended up being the title of our album and our first music video. I am happy that we were doing the right thing before we even got any real professional help.
by Lonnie Nemiroff