Behind the music – Arthur Valentine

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Irish alternative Pop/RnB musician and producer Arthur Valentine will play as part of Three City Stages Collective from 1 to 3 September at Electric Picnic this year. We asked him the BIG questions . . .

Arthur is a co-founder of Irish art collective and along with fellow Hausu-members Actualacid and Automatic Blue, writes, records, and produces all of their music in their home studio.

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Influenced by the likes of Frank Ocean, Dijon, Justin Timberlake, BROCKHAMPTON, FKA Twigs and Tyler, the Creator, Arthur has released his most recent single, 405, in July.

Three City Stages aims to support the next generation of Irish musicians, currently performing on city streets, to progress their careers and providing opportunities to perform on the biggest stages such as Electric Picnic.

The City Stages Collective (L-R): 2Time Charlie, Liliana, Salamay, Leah Moran, Arthur Valentine, Bukky, Korey Power and Kestine) with City Stages ambassador, broadcaster Tracy Clifford, Picture credit: Cathal Mac An Bheatha

Tell us three things about yourself . . .

I’m from Cork but just recently moved to London. I’ve been described as “frustratingly unpunctual” but I’M WORKING ON IT! I’m not convinced I can read; I think I’ve just memorised a lot of words.

How would you describe your music?

I generally describe my music to people as alternative R&B/pop which is probably the most concise way to describe it. If I were to describe it more accurately I’d probably say it’s a mix of R&B, pop, folk, electronic and hip-hop. I think a general motif in my music is the blending of very hopeful and positive and rather sombre and heavy tones. Be it a juxtaposition of bright, poppy chord progressions and more dark lyrical subject matters, or whatever, I think that type of contrast seems to rear its head an awful lot in my tracks. Sonically, I work mainly with two producers, Actualacid and Automatic Blue (who are also my lifelong best friends), who both make their own music, which is very different from my own, so I guess working with them to produce the tracks leads to a quite genre bending sound. So yeah, alternative R&B/pop.

Who are your musical inspirations?

The artists I’m inspired by would change an awful lot depending on what I was listening to at the time, but artists who would be pretty constant sources of inspiration would be the likes of Frank Ocean, Dijon, Remi Wolf, Jeff Buckley, The Neptunes, musically Kanye West, Tyler, the Creator. To be honest, I mainly get inspiration from the artists around me and the people I get to collaborate with. Seeing artists within my proximity setting the bar so high artistically makes me want to up my game and try harder.

What was the first gig you ever went to?

The first gig I ever went to was Busted about 20 years ago. McFly were the support act and I fell asleep on my mum’s lap for most of the show.

What was the first record you ever bought?

The first record I ever bought was Arctic Monkeys’ debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. I used to keep the record in my dad’s car and get all awkward whenever Alex Turner said a curse word.

What’s your favourite song right now?

I’ve been listening to the new Dominick Fike record an awful lot since it came out and there are a bunch of songs off that that I really like but it’s hard to pick a favourite. I’m going to say that song Ryan Gosling sings in the new Barbie movie I’m Just Ken, that track really speaks to me…

Favourite lyric of all time?

Oooof! That is an incredibly difficult question. One that springs to mind is the opening line in Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows – “Everybody knows that the dice is loaded, everybody rolls with their fingers crossed”. A very poignant line made all the more impactful by the fact I listened to that song on repeat while drunk on a bus last Saturday.

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I’ve weirdly thought about this question a lot in the past. For a long time, it was Lover, You Should’ve Come Over by Jeff Buckley, but I think my answer now would be Runaway by Kanye West. The track is like nine minutes long so at least you’re getting a good bang for your buck.

Where can people find your music/more information?

Arthur Valentine on stage at Eyre Square, Galway for Three City Stages. Pictures Brian McEvoy

You can find my music pretty much anywhere you normally find your music. I’m on all streaming platforms (Spotify, Apple music, Deezer, apparently), YouTube, SoundCloud, the works! For more information on what I’m up to the best thing to do is follow me on Instagram (@arthur_valentine_).

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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