The self-declared ‘weirdo ginger’ Joe Valentine is committed to giving inner weirdoes a voice. His latest single ‘Cairo’ draws on a range of influences for a tongue-in-cheek look at the limbo the pandemic has left us all in. We sat down with Joe Valentine to talk about the new single, his creative process, music and much more!
OSR: Was there a moment that made you think: ‘Yes, this is what I want to do.’?
Valentine: There were a lot of little moments on Sundays during my early childhood: I would hang out with my dad in the basement of our house in the suburbs as he worked and he would introduce me to incredible music: Aretha, Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, Sly, so much disco, and classical music. When my parents split, a lot of the magic of childhood got lost, but this music always retained its magical quality and attracted me more and more as I grew up.
OSR: You previously released under the name Jimmy, why change things up?
Valentine: I consider the music I make an offering to others. It’s not about me. Jimmy, a very fun alter ego project, was born from my insecurities; it was my way of putting on a “mask” so I could make the art I didn’t have the confidence to make otherwise.
My viewpoint has changed significantly since then. I feel a great sense of urgency in reaching people as directly as possible and as efficiently as possible. Each person’s time and attention is (appropriately) expensive and I want people to know my name, what I look like, who I am so we can communicate immediately.
OSR: Is there a backstory to your new single ‘Cairo’?
Valentine: The song is about escape and self-discovery. The song tells a story about the narrator escaping the maze of a lover’s hyper-luxe lifestyle, but can be taken as a metaphor for escaping any scenario and reinventing oneself.
OSR: What was your creative process for the single? Did you start with a melody or lyrics?
Valentine: I started this song with YutaY. We began with the bass line of the intro, he built a layer of the beat from the chorus along with some of the synth layers. We originally set out to create a track with the energy of Tyler, The Creator’s ‘I THINK’ and St. Vincent’s ‘Rattlesnake’. The melody and lyrics came much later.
OSR: What was the biggest challenge you faced when creating this single?
Valentine: During the session with YutaY, we hit a roadblock after creating a great loop. Sometimes things feel so great that it’s intimidating to add or subtract anything. I got frustrated. So I flipped the thing on its head.
OSR: Who would you say is the biggest influence on your sound?
Valentine: It really changes so much with each song. With ‘Cairo’, it was Kanye, Tyler, The Creator, St. Vincent.
OSR: Are you planning any further releases related to the ‘Cairo’ such as videos or streamed gigs?
Valentine: Yes, we’re releasing a series of collaborative music videos with footage from around the world! We’re asking people from all over to take short videos on their phones of their hometown. For more details to contribute videos, people can find me on Instagram at @itsjoevalentine. We’ll also be live-streaming a chat about ‘Cairo’ on release day, Tues. Sept. 29th on my Instagram at 6:30 pm PST.
OSR: If people could only feel one emotion when listening to the single, what would you like that to be?
OSR: If the single was an animal, what do you think it would be and why?
Valentine: A bird. It’s all about taking flight.
OSR: What else can we expect from you in the future?
Valentine: I’ll be releasing a bunch of singles before the year’s over. Next up is a double-single on Oct. 13th.