My name is Valentina, and on my latest EP Nature I went through a process of untangling the past. After an unsteady and chaotic period in my life I had a deep sense of needing stability and I wanted the music to reflect that and feel sonically grounded.
I’ve been making music differently for the past couple of years. A freer more instinctive approach. I started producing myself and I think this opened up a whole world of possibility for me. I work best in a very haphazard, stream of consciousness kind of way, from the initial beats to how I make all my melodies and lyrics.
Whatever I sing when I hit record is usually what sticks, I try not to re-write or re-vocal anything anymore. I guess the feeling is that in the ‘rough draft’ of something is the true essence of it and that the more you try to polish it, the more you lose that essence. I always know when something is there and if it isn’t, I just move on rather than try to push it.
It’s sometimes cool to go back to unfinished tracks after a while and then suddenly realise what it is they needed. But I never ‘work’ at them, that doesn’t really work for me! I’m also a night person / insomniac and I find that the night time feeds this kind of approach. When I am relaxed and when it almost feels like there’s something else I should be doing (sleeping), that’s when I write best.
This EP exists in two halves for me. The first three songs on the EP were written in the winter just before lockdown and the last track in the spring time mid-lockdown last year. I can hear the shift in seasons, and the shift in myself. There is a sense of wanting to hold onto something, a nostalgic glance backwards in the first half and I guess a sense of growth, which feels more like spring time and renewal in the last track “No Good”.
I was spending so much more time outside, like most people, going for lockdown walks, runs, I started gardening. I couldn’t work out if I was noticing sounds around me more – birds, crickets because I was paying more attention or because there was less human noise. Either way it really influenced the songs. I recorded a lot of sounds on the marshes near where I live and used them on “No Good”.
This song is about my Dad and writing it felt like approaching our relationship in a new way, beginning to understand where some of my deep rooted beliefs came from. So there was growth in it. Although it is still disappointed and sad, and the looping piano reflects a relationship that never goes anywhere, it wasn’t an angry song to write, it almost felt like I was laying something to rest.
Throughout the making of the EP, I thought a lot about the beauty of nature against the often ugliness of human nature, and how much we as humans disturb the natural world. There was something about incorporating those two ideas in the song “Nature” and in the animated video my friend Thomas Rawle made.
What I sing about is the ugly nature of people, inherent qualities, things that might never change, as well as a friend’s battle with not wanting to stay alive, but the video sits in a beautiful and luscious world of plants, that are abundant and growing, floating on water which gives life.
There is a rhythm to the natural world, everything is in balance and it works, but humans and our relationships aren’t that simple. So I guess in the production there was an unconscious desire to make the music as stripped back as possible with only the core elements that it needed. To simplify it and find that balance in the songs.
Listen to my NATURE EP here!