VALE is a different kind of label, and they’ve made themselves different on purpose. Having started out as a collective of fans who just wanted to highlight the darker side of bass music, VALE is now a label which signs artists exclusively, treats them like family and makes sure they get a fair share of sales on releases. It’s sort of a Wu Tang for bass music model, if you’re familiar with Rza and his genius label.
Now with a solid core of bass music artists like ÆTERNA., Poseidon and Anti_Negative (names you may not know but should), VALE released a collab EP called Eidolon about a month ago, and just followed it up with a remix mirror shot EP a couple of weeks ago. They brought on two new artists, ALLIED and Chrizpy Chriz, who are already releasing new, weird and innovative dark music. This is not exactly dubstep, it’s not always DnB and it’s barely halftime (sometimes). Most of these artists are working and thinking outside of multiple boxes, but once they get into your listening queue, genre doesn’t matter anymore. They’re like Pringles: once you pop, you can’t stop.
With mystery, intrigue and legitimate darkness surrounding the VALE label, Your EDM wanted to sit find out how this all came around, and their motivation to create a home base for some of the most different, innovative and, due to the success of other subgenres, underground artists out there. We got to ask the label heads a few questions (both are named Josh so for ease’s sake they answered in one voice), and found it really comes down to one thing for VALE: how dark is dark?
How did you come to establish the Vale Collective and label?
Before VALE we were known as IDM Collective (IC). IC was our way as “super fans” to get involved in the music we cherished and highlight dark experimental music. IC was popular in the blossoming underground halftime and beats community when it was established for the high level of quality and degree of artists it represented including VORSO, Mr. Bill, Kursa, et cetera. Eventually we decided it was time to take the next step and become a label that released exclusive music and was able to offer more to artists. We rebranded as VALE, enlisted art (ALTITXDE) and mastering services (DET) and have never looked back.
How would you describe the sound and style of production you’re trying to put out there?
We make a concerted effort to push multi-genre electronic beats spanning many BPMs, but our one true requirement is that the productions be dark. There is so much beauty, intensity and emotion in this type of work, and we are obsessed with it. VALE is constantly looking for individuals pushing experimental design forward, whether it’s an artist with little to no following or a major established artist.
It seems like artists who sign up with you are very dedicated to the label and its vision; sort of like a Wu Tang model. How did you come up with the concept of how artists would sign up with and produce for Vale?
The concept is really based around a mutual ideology of what music could be and giving an opportunity for artistic freedom. We also believe communication is absolutely critical for a good working relationship so we try and work with artists every step of the way to ensure we are doing everything we can to make believers of VALE. Secondly, our releases are consistently of high production quality which draws attention and invites artists to ENTER:VALE.
It seems like you have a core group of artists now, but as you expand what would you say you’d look for when signing an artist of track?
As we push forward the most critical aspects we examine are forward-thinking sound design, communication and relationship and to fit within our dark architectural scheme.
A lot of the music on Vale including on the Eidolon EP is probably stuff that anyone in EDM or any type of electronica has never heard before. How would you characterize what you’ve put together in terms of a style?
When we recruited Poseidon, ÆTERNA. and Leon Ross for the “Eidolon” EP, we told them they have complete freedom over the songs they create. The idea behind the EP was to have a combination of collaborations and solo tunes, culminating in an EP with joint and individual expression. That being said, Eidolon’s style is reflective of a listenable, high intensity and cinematic journey crossing boundaries such as halftime, neuro, next-age dubstep and beyond.
Talk about Poseidon and ÆTERNA. a bit. What are their goals in terms of putting out their styles and how do they like to work/compose (feel free to ask them to answer on these questions)?
ÆTERNA.: I strive to worry less about styles and lean more towards experimenting and letting each track go where it needs to. My goals are to create a sense of emotion and importance, something people can resonate with on a personal level. I find satisfaction creating music that stems from within, self-expression and wild musical journeys, whilst at times putting a dance element to things. I know where I want to go and I visualize that every day in and out of the studio. As long as I’m being true to myself and keep productive, I feel accomplished. Although that’s an everyday battle. Positive thinking is the key.
What was the idea behind or goal for Eidolon in terms of the sound and how does it fit in with Vale’s style?
As I kind of touched on before, the idea behind Eidolon was to combine the cinematic background of these artists with the quickly growing experimental beat scene. We honestly were not prepared for how exceptional the EP turned out; those guys deserve so much credit. They fit our vision of VALE perfectly, we are truly grateful. I tell them all the time they are VALE as much as we are as managers.
What will the next releases from Vale look like?
Fans can expect a steady stream of music from our label, including singles, EPs and compilations. Two of the more significant releases coming soon is an Eidolon Remix EP releasing August 3rd and a monster debut EP by Chrizpy Chriz entitled “A.D.D.” August 16th.
Do you plan to have the artists from the label tour? Any ideas about a group tour since it’s such a close-knit group of producers?
We are the type of people who enjoy music the most laying alone in a dark room with headphones. That being said, we have received a number of requests about live VALE shows in places like California and Colorado. We are considering very select VALE release events to unveil major works like our next compilation that is composed entirely of collaborations. Stay tuned.
The Eidolon original and remix EPs can be streamed on VALE’S Soundcloud or purchased on their Bandcamp page. They’ve also just posted a first single from the upcoming Chrizpy Chriz’s new A.D.D. EP on Soundcloud, also playable below.