Music Bugle Exclusive – Q & A – Marc Valentine

Photo courtesy of Earshot Media.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

After four studio albums as the frontman for cult pop-rockers Last Great Dreamers, Marc Valentine launched his solo career with 2022 debut album ‘Future Obscure’ to critical acclaim.

The British singer-songwriter looks to release his followup solo album next year, already entitled ‘Basement Sparks.’

For now, though, he gave fans a taste of what’s soon to come with the Halloween-centric single “Skeleton Key” alongside a B-side cover of The Shirelles’ “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” via Little Steven’s Wicked Cool Records.

The Music Bugle had the opportunity to speak with the charismatic musician about how he’d compare his solo material to Last Great Dreamers, his most memorable moment onstage and much more, which you can check out below.

Music Bugle – What makes you most proud about where you come from? 

Marc Valentine – Growing up as a kid in England at the time, music was the most important thing in the world to me. It was the 70’s and I was fed on a diet of glam and then punk. England seemed like the centre of the universe. Music offered an escape from the drudgery and of everyday life. A lot of the successful bands here came from working class backgrounds, which I think allowed all of us to dream big. Not just the privileged. The underdog would always have a chance if luck was on his side. I guess I’m most proud of this “never-say-die” attitude that I’ve inherited on these shores. 

Music Bugle – What creative aspect of being a singer-songwriter do you enjoy the most? 

Marc Valentine – Firstly, it would be the initial spark of an idea that comes when you least expect it. I like to believe that with songwriting, there really are no boundaries – even if I do follow a regular kind of format with my arrangements. There is nothing quite like going into the unknown with just a guitar, paper and pen. Sometimes, as you write, it can take you to the most unexpected places – and this is what drives me on.. the moment when a new melody, or a lyrical thread, enters into my thoughts from somewhere in the ether. 

Music Bugle – How would you describe your solo material compared to your work with Last Great Dreamers? 

Marc Valentine – I think the main difference is that I’ve had more creative control with my solo work and written some songs that may not have made it onto an LGD album, as there tends to more joint input in the band when we write together. Working on my solo material has given me freedom to work with other musicians too and experiment more with different ideas using keyboards/piano. My solo stuff is probably more pop-driven and closer to my own personal vision and concept. 

Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now?  

Marc Valentine – I always have my die-hard favorites nearby: The Raspberries, Bowie, The Clash, Springsteen, Dylan, Weezer, etc.. I’m also currently listening to Of Montreal, King Tuff and Ben Kweller. A lot of my favorite music right now seems to come from the other side of the pond. 

Music Bugle – Does social media or hurt musicians? 

Marc Valentine – From my own perspective, it has been a help, as platforms like Facebook and Instagram have allowed my music to reach people all across the globe. I’ve been able to interact with music fans and other musicians that would not have known me or them otherwise. It requires a delicate balance though, as sometimes it can feel more like a marketing tool or popularity contest, where your actual craft seems secondary. I tend to steer clear of Twitter though and think I’d rather spend time digging potatoes than interacting on that platform. As long as it’s not all-consuming, social media is probably an essential tool for most musicians. 

Music Bugle – What was your most memorable moment onstage? 

Marc Valentine – Oh gosh, there’s been quite a few in my career – many of them brilliant and also a few I’d rather forget! One that stands out, was during an encore my name were playing. I tripped on my guitar lead and I fell backwards onto the drum riser, but unbeknownst to me, I had landed on a pint of beer. Five minutes later, I came offstage with my trousers completely soaked in blood. It was absolutely everywhere and I hadn’t noticed until when we’d come offstage. The beer glass had completely smashed and fragments of glass were in my bum, so I was rushed to hospital to get the glass removed and get all stitched up. Extremely painful at this point! The rest of the proceeding tour, I had so much bandages and gauze around my rear end, it looked like I was wearing massive diapers. 

Music Bugle – What’s your stance on AI in music? 

Marc Valentine – Currently, it can’t emulate human consciousness, so I don’t see it as a threat to what we create organically as living, breathing musicians. AI is here to stay though, so we will have to learn to live with it. Kind of like what we did with tribute acts. It will evolve and who knows – maybe it will take music to places we have not even imagined yet. What concerns me most is the next generation growing up with AI in the coming years, as they will probably not be able to  differentiate between human or synthetic creation, whether it be music, art or film. At this point, we might all be in trouble.

Music Bugle – What show are you currently binging in your free time? 

Marc Valentine – The French series “Black Butterflies.”

Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?

Marc Valentine – “Keep on troshin’, boi.” It’s a traditional local dialect saying that my grandmother used. It means, “Never give up when things get really tough.”  

Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need break?

Marc Valentine – My garden shed – or California when the budget allows.


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