On the week that Valeras will once again bring their pop rock prowess to the stage at their native Reading Festival, the quintet have also shared the music video for their latest cut ‘Playing With A Gun’, exclusively here on Gigwise.
The visuals see the band plug in and play whilst fighting off the fictional baddies. Gargantuan riffs and percussion builds and builds, while a more serious meaning lies at the heart of the track. Detailing the song further, vocalist and bassist Rose Yagmur explains, “‘Playing With A Gun’ is about the heartbreak of realising that some straight people tend to use queer people as a ‘lifestyle experiment’, often playing with queer peoples feelings…” Watch the video below:
We caught up with guitarist Katie King to find out more about the video, and their fondest Reading Festival memories ahead of their set on the Festival Republic Stage this weekend.
Gigwise: Can you explain the concept behind the video for ‘Playing With A Gun’?
Katie King: In the van or at rehearsal we’re always showing each other the latest music video from our favourite bands. We really like DIY videos where the band have clearly been very involved with the whole process. Videos with fun twists, immersive worlds or unique settings that generally could be made by anyone with a camera and some creative drive. Such as ‘Unstoppable’ by Superfood, ‘Big’ by Fontaines DC or ‘Space Doubt’ by The Orielles. Our previous videos have been quite serious due to the nature of the lyrics but this time we went for a more playful tongue-in-cheek tone. Working with Callum Scott was great he came to us with pages and pages of character designs, laying his fictional world out on a plate for us to add the Valeras garnish. He stayed round George’s house and had dinner with us, we gelled really well. The next day we went to a local rehearsal studio, stuck up the green screen with sticky tape and proceeded to fight fake bad guys. We used props like in big CGI Hollywood blockbusters, so we could really make it look like we were aiming at the things we were kicking and shooting. It’s doubtful they used fake plastic roses though… Rose managed to smash her bass on one of the takes in which she pretended to use it to bludgeon one of the monsters. We kept it in the video and there’s a big crack on the body to prove it. The concept is quite simple. We’re characters in a video game and we have to defeat these enemies to get to each next level. We’re terrified but confident and each character has a different special skill and personality. That translates to the band in reality. Of course ‘Playing With A Gun’ isn’t actually just about shooting bad guys in a fictional space world. It’s a real song about a real problem that Rose has experienced first hand. Plainly, it’s telling the sad truth that gay people are often used as a romantic experiment with little regard to their feelings. It’s risky and dangerous to play with people's emotions.
GW: How has festival season been treating you?
KK: It’s nice to be out in the fresh air of festivals. This is the first year where we’ve been to Europe and home again multiple times. These shows have been some of our favourites ever! To go to somewhere we’ve never been and have people who know the songs and show passion for our sound warms our hearts so much. Spain was particularly special because Rose spoke in Spanish to the audience. Her family also managed to be our friendly faces at the front too. Trying to follow her between song spiel was difficult with our broken to little Spanish. We all felt a bit in the deep end at Sziget with the language barrier and the confusing currency that makes you either feel like a rich man or that you’re spending way too much. Again though, we felt right at home with support from the crowd. We were well looked after and everyone was so helpful. The weather can be a bit of a downer and we’ve certainly experienced both scalding sun and bitter rain. Mad Cool was sweltering, even Rose said so. That’s when you know it really is. It will be bizarre being holed up in venues again this winter but it’s probably best to keep out of the freezing cold. We’ve had our summer share, it’s time to go back inside.
GW: Playing Reading is obviously a big deal for any band, but this is also a hometown show for you, did you grow up going to the festival? If so, what are some of your favourite memories?
KK: We’re all proud of where we’re based. Growing up in the Reading community has been brilliant. Having bands like Palm Honey, The Amazons and Sundara Karma to look up to and take influence from has been great. The little local venues and promoters have always been so kind to us too. To have the festival itself to show interest in us was unfathomable to our tiny teenage brains. I was able to hear the festival from my back garden. Rose cried before and after we played it for the first time. Of course we mostly all attended before 12 to get in for free. To be up on the stage instead of looking up at it is still quite surreal. It’s a beautiful cycle of fans becoming bands and fans of that band becoming bands etc. My favourite funny first time festival story was of Rose when she was offered ear protection and nearly ate it because she thought it was sweets. Our real favourite memory is all of us watching The Amazons in a sardine tin like tent in 2017. It was packed and you could feel the buzz. It was so inspiring to see a Reading band command a crowd and really bring it.
GW: Lastly, what’s going on in the world of Valeras for the rest of 2019?
KK: After the festival season finishes we’re going to be holed up in George’s garage writing like our lives depend on it for our debut album. It’s stupidly exciting. We’re already enjoying the process and feel like we’re gelling more than ever before. It’s nice that even after six years there are still eureka moments and a genuine electric energy in the room when writing. In October we come out of our writing cave to do a show and tell of what we’ve made in the form of a mini Autumn tour. It’s all southern dates for now and we have a band we’ve been huge fans of for years coming along with us which we’re very excited to reveal. It’s a handful of dates in some of our favourite southern venues. The dates are as follows:
07 October - Heartbreakers - Southampton
08 October - The Louisiana - Bristol
10 October - Esquires - Bedford
11 October - The Old Blue Last - London
12 October - The Facebar - Reading
The show in Reading is looking to be particularly special as we host our ‘Valeras Presents’ night in which we bring out the best our local scene has to offer. We’ve got some big ideas. Be sure to be there!