Morton Valence : Q&A

With a fan financed concept album on the horizon, Morton Valence are sailing ahead in brave new waters for 21st century bands with their heads screwed on.

PS: Tell everyone a bit about yourselves and what you're up to.
We’re Morton Valence (Annie, Hacker, Leo, Alex and Camilo). We play romantic ballads and noisy electronic guitar music. We’ve been doing this far longer than we ever imagined and we’ve got to the point where it would be impossible for us to stop, but it’s an addiction we’re more than happy to live with. We’ve played a lot of gigs, everything from the sub-toilet Camden circuit to a boat on the Thames and even one date in a skip. We spent last July locked away with the genius producer that is Brian O’Shaughnessy getting our album recorded. The end result of this is our great opus and saviour of humankind, ‘Bob and Veronica Ride Again,’ which will be unleashed on the world this May. Before that we have a single coming (Falling Down The Stairs), available from March the 2nd on Bastard Recordings, which comes with its very own zero budget video.

In collaboration with our fans, Bob and Veronica will be conquering the music industry in 2009.

PS: How did financing the album through fan investment come about?
We’ve always known that we’ve had an album in us, but we also knew that if we were going to do it right we couldn’t compromise ourselves as we’ve done in the past, in particular relinquishing the creative side of what we do. When we were signed, the label’s attitude was a sort of patronizing ‘hey guys, we’re the professionals, leave it to us.’

And then they went ahead and completely fucked everything up.

Luckily we could see the funny side of it, and even luckier we were able to get out of the contract. After being told that none of us had ‘our heads screwed on,’ we simply thought, ‘ok, “Professionals” leave it to the amateurs then.’ Nearly 20 grand later, a full-length album produced by Brian O’Shaughnessy and mastered at Abbey Road, a BBC Radio 2 Record of the Week, a pending UK tour, dates in US and Europe and an ever growing bunch of fans, all we can do is thank the professionals for leaving it to us amateurs.

Basically, we asked our fans if they wanted to own a percentage of our album. Kind of like shareholders, the response was incredible, giving us a budget and in the process enabling us to set up an infrastructure to rival any indie label, as well as absolute and complete artistic control over everything we do. It’s a really simple idea, a win-win situation for everyone involved and we haven’t looked back. We still have a few shares left, write to us if you want to be involved.

PS: How important is it for bands to be clued up about the business side of music these days?
Simple answer to that one...very important. This idea that if you’re an artist you should inhabit some sort of metaphysical ether and not be concerned with business is a nice idea if you’re happy to live your life as a doormat, otherwise you’d better get wise.

PS: You've written a novel that accompanies the album, what's it about?
It’s a lowbrow romantic novella about a twenty-something bloke from the suburbs who falls in love with a devout Christian. He decides to fake Christianity to try and win her over but it all goes horribly wrong.

PS: What would be the subject of your ultimate concept album?
The Eric Bristow Story.

PS: Give us a Top 5 of something.
Top 5 all-time greats of the world of darts.
1. Eric ‘The Crafty Cockney’ Bristow
2. Jockey Wilson
3. Andy ‘The Viking’ Fordham.
4. Ted ‘The Count’ Hankey
5. Raymond ‘Barney Rubble’ Barneveld

Upcoming gigs:
5th Feb @ The Enterprise, Camden
27th Feb @ Artkoustik Festival, Angers, France
7th Mar @ People’s Republic of Disco at The Windmill, Brixton