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INTERVIEW: VALERAS on their new single, Rita

After a long year of eagerly awaiting their return, VALERAS are back and storming into 2021 with Rita, their fresh, frenetic new single!

With a string of early singles earning VALERAS a special place in the Coven's hearts, the band have proved themselves as an explosive force in the indie-rock scene that everyone needs to be watching. Certified rock bangers like Intentions and Louder have secured the Reading duo support slots amongst the likes of Yonaka, Greta Van Fleet, and The Wombats in the pre-pandemic world, as well as featuring at festivals such as Reading & Leeds, All Points East, and The Great Escape.

Since 2020's vibrant anthem Hear Me Out!, the duo have been busy during the pandemic writing, recording, and working towards their debut album - oh fuck yes, it's finally happening! But first, we can expect a new EP planned for late summer, starting with this new slice Rita.

The new single finds VALERAS combining their festival-ready, high-octane indie-rock sensibilities with a glistening alt-pop inflection that is simultaneously more personal and melodically encapsulating than anything else from their catalogue so far. With scorching indie-laden strokes of guitar and bass, and palpitating drums, Rita pulsates a wave of anxiety-inducing mundanity through its lyrics as vocalist Rose Yagmur's enticing harmonies hold a mirror to the draining repetition of working hard and defying the obstacles trying to trip you up.

This new material marks an expansion of the duo’s dynamics, with Rita establishing that VALERAS aren't you average indie-rock outfit as they explore new textures, layers, and hone their sound to showcase the unique elements that have been captivating listeners since the band's inception.

VALERAS continue to go full-force with each release, claiming the title of indie-rock heavyweights. Rita stands as a massive and refreshingly provocative statement of intent, and with further new music on the horizon, it’s one that is not to be ignored.

Since it's no secret that we at the Coven are already obsessed with the band, we eagerly got chatting to VALERAS about Rita, their new era, and the importance of being unapologetically authentic - and fucking loud about it - within the rock scene.

Hi Rose and Max, thanks for talking with us about Rita, we're loving it! How are you both doing?

Hey! We’re both doing very well thank you, hope are you too! Thanks for your time and for listening to Rita.

How does it feel to have new music out for the first time since Hear Me Out last year?

Feels amazing to get a new single out after what feels like a long time of no releases. It’s great to finally show what we’ve been working on during that time of “silence” and we thought Rita was the best place to start.

Rita seems to tell a narrative about the overwhelming capitalist cycle of overworking and wanting to break free of that (very relatable) - how did the song come to be?

The song was written in the first lockdown, which was a very confusing and unpredictable time for everyone. We had a lot of what we love stripped away from us and we were also going through big changes as a band. Rose was jamming on her omnichord and the lyrics came very naturally and fast as she found a chord progression that she liked. I guess the words are about something so current and something we were all going through, so we didn’t even change any of the original lyrics, we just kept what Rose felt exactly at that time. Felt good to know people related to, it too.

What can you tell us about the making of the new music video? Were you very involved in the creative process behind that?

The video concept came to Rose’s head as she was writing the lyrics. We wanted the video to tell the story of Rita as a waitress as well as reflecting the story of us as a band. So we had Rose’s girlfriend act as Rita - a waitress who works super hard only to not get the rewarding outcome she deserves and us being turned away by Tarek Musa (our co-writer & producer) in a suit, representing a “music biz man”. Rose is a big fan of anything Wes Anderson so we wanted to bring that colour palette and style to the video. Lee from Vessel Studios in Liverpool was a true magician for making it all happen, he created the whole set with a projector and worked so hard. It was so important to us to create the vision we had for this video and it was perfect to work with him on this!

Whether it's loudly like in Hear Me Out, or in a more subtle way like with the lyrics in Rita, your song-writing normalises having a LGBTQ+ voice, especially in such a straight cis-male dominated genre. What changes would you like to see in rock music, or the music industry as a whole?

(Rose): I want it to be normalised and encouraged for anyone who is part of the LGBTQ+ community to be “loud” and to have outrageous lyrics or personas if that’s what they wish to do. I feel like there are so many cis-male artists who could sing about anything and get praised if they’re just loud and cocky about it, but if it’s a female identifying or queer artists it will get overlooked and get deemed as “angry” or “overconfident”.

I also think there’s a misconception that females in rock - or in general - have to have a specific softer sound, nice vocals, and always beautiful lyrics. If the artist wants to do that - sweet, but if a female identifying or LGBTQ+ artist wants to be loud and cocky then get behind it and don’t call us anything but badass like you would the cis-male artists!

That's the sort of empowerment we love to see in this industry! Thanks much for talking to us, VALERAS. Don't mind us, we'll just be listening to Rita on repeat while waiting for that new EP.

Check out the new music video below:

Stream Rita on Spotify and Apple Music

Review and interview by Chloe Robbins

Photography by Khalil Musa & Natalia Bjerke

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