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Hey! Another check in with you. Hope all is well. It’s nice to re-blog and connecting you in a medium that dates back to the days of when I first got involved in this thing we call the “blogosphere”. I had a lunch with an old friend, I, Ced. Ced is someone I admire cause he risked it all to pursue music. There was a point when he was living in his car, chasing his dreams, gigging at night, rehearsals and sessions around the clock. He’s still on the grind.
Today we were talking about knowing your worth. And It takes time to perhaps hit a point where you can realize what you contribute and understanding how that translates into money or time. But since realizing my worth, its been easy to step away from projects and dj residencies. There is a fear for most artists (including myself) that if you step away no one will be around the corner willing to scoop you up. 25 years of countless clubs, parties, various radio gigs on college + public radio, I can say once you make that jump and safely land, its liberation. It’s one of the best feelings.
Ced then flipped it in a way that I never looked at it. He explained how race plays a factor. Ced has personal experiences where certain folks who differ from his color tend to make more money. I’m happy to see him understand his worth, jump ship and see him off to London to work on music this month and not haver to deal with these social complexities.
I wish I could say something magical that would connect with you but the truth is you just have to make it happen. Im still far from my goals but I know my worth and its liberating. And fun.
Hey. Been a minute since I checked in. Like really checked in. Seems like the old world of blogging has since faded. Everything is instant w/ Instagram, Twitter and FB. Ive used my blog to house my KCRW playlists and have eased up on the photos. I wanted to share visuals and thoughts on here but instead continue to pay absurd prices to maintain this blog since I love the way my playlists look on here versus the radio site. Weird right?
A lot has changed, I think Ive changed in the past 5 years. I’ve learned to pick my battles and ease up my schedule, maybe speak my mind more in spreading praise of others. I’ve also been more aware of my time on this planet. Im thinking of health and my role in this giant thing we call life. I’ve always enjoyed the little things in life. Happiness in little things get my by. Re-evaluting myself and my past I realize I gave little battles so much of my energy. 60 years from now, those battles will not matter.
Ive always kept my circles small, accepted I’m a groggy individual who loves to avoid large groups of people. One of my most recent discoveries is how espresso coffee has changed that. Ive also learned that taking on too much really prevents you from doing your best. In 2018 I would love to cut down on all the extra stuff. Just do the things that keep me happy.
Time is everything. Although a stranger for most of my life, seeing my mother off into the next word has really impacted me. It’s one of those things I try to not talk about, but it’s slammed solid perspective of our limited time on this wonderful circle we call Earth. So make the most of it. You come, you smile, cry, live, love and then next thing you know you are shitting in diapers at an old person’s home.
Yesterday I walked Smedley (my pup) and really caught myself in that moment. The sun painted the sky red, the weather was perfect and there I was, walking my 4 legged little buddy. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Have a great day! More to come!
I welcome your feedback
Thanks to Christine Mai Nguyen for chance to talk about music discovery among other things. Peep her youtube channel tho! Muy fuego!
Read the review here.
Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Valadez moved to Venice almost exactly eight years ago. “I moved in the day before Barack Obama got elected,” he recalls, as he takes his dog Smedley for his daily walk. “My first meal here, Obama got elected, and the place was cheering super loud. This is Venice. I like it. Eight years. It flies by.”
Known for his shows on KCRW and Fuse TV, Valadez doesn’t often release his own music. He’s more recognized for interviewing artists about their music than he is for being interviewed about his. But after dealing with the deaths of his mother and grandmother over the past two years, it was time for a release of his own.
“I wanted a proper release with a good label, and I wanted it to sound nice, and good, and cohesive. Kinda like a diary,” Valadez says of his new album, Fade Away, which is out now via Plug Research. “All these things that were happening in my life while I was recording I wanted to put into this cohesive project, and I wanted it to get heard, most importantly. “
As its title implies, Fade Away explores the idea of letting go of different things, people and emotions. “It fades away several things. It’s just how people come and go in our lives,” Valadez explains. “And I think recording, I just had a few people in my family pass away that were monumental to some degree.”
Losing his grandmother last year and his mother two years ago inspired him to make this album. “We were never close, but it was still sad,” says Valadez, who was raised by his grandfather, who passed away in 2001. “That feminine element that puts you in the world is no longer here. When that womb is gone it really makes you look at things differently.”
Recording Fade Away was therapeutic for Valadez, but not in the way he initially intended for it to be. At first, putting all his energy into the music was mainly a distraction. “There were unresolved issues” with his mother and grandmother, he admits. “So maybe to avoid dealing with that, I just kinda worked on music.”
But after a while, it became hard for Valadez to overlook the impact that losing these relatives had on him. The music itself, the instrumentation, reminded him of their influence on his life. He was forced to deal with the very thing he wanted to avoid.
“For some reason, there’s a lot of strings on this album,” he says. “I’ve grown up appreciating strings and I’ve always wanted to make an album that would make me feel a certain way. I’d send a track to people who were performing the strings, and I’m like, ‘I need this song to cry.’”
Valadez’s love of strings started when he was five years old and he heard Diana Ross’ “Theme From Mahogany” for the first time. “There’s a crazy string section in that song. And I’ve always wanted to replicate that because strings move me,” he explains. “And so, when I had access to all these string players, I knew that I wanted to do that on this album. I wanna make people feel the way I did when I was five.”
To make the video for Fade Away track, “Onward Solo Samba” (premiered above), Valadez and his friend Holly Gable took to the streets of L.A. and Long Beach to echo the concept on the album on camera. “The video is about fading away,” Valadez explains. “Fading away into the streets. Fading away into one another or with one another. Fading away across L..A, and finally into the ocean.”
In the end, that’s what Fade Away is about: savoring each passing moment, then releasing it to make room for new moments and experiences. It’s not about death or loss, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be sad or depressing, either. It’s about waking up to take Smedley for a walk as the sun rises and the waves come and go. It’s about letting go of the old you and embracing the new.
“As you grow older you react differently to things, you develop new sides to yourself that you didn’t know existed,” Valadez says. “Where does the old you go? It just fades away.”
This week’s guest is on my Dash Radio program is Rob Roy. Easily one of my favorites in general. His latest project is entitled Johnny. We discuss the creative process, inspirations and discuss Werner Herzog, Jodeci and working odd jobs as a source influence.
Mood Swings airs every Tuesday night from 8pm – 9 pm (PST) on Dash Radio.
Love this dude!