The Valentines are a band from Brighton, UK consisting of Jegard, Chris Lowe, Leader, Curtis, and Carlito. The band are a string of influences, from garage punk, to indie pop- all weft together by a shared love of party music. It was their delightfully shambolic charm that found them supporting The Libertines for their comeback gig at Forum last year. From there, the music hasn’t stopped since as the band began to play shows in London and Paris. Lead singer Jegard (aka Christian) tells us what’s on his mind right now…
Hi Jegard Valentine, what have you been up to today?
Played a show with Carl Barat last night. We initially weren’t gonna do it, cos the last time I saw Carl we played ‘knuckles’ for about an hour and he left me with a severely bruised hand. But Morrissey came to me in a dream and told me to play the show. Except instead of Morrissey it was the smiths drummer Mike Joyce. And instead of it being in a dream it was outside the off license. And instead of telling me to play the show he asked me for spare change.
Who are your top 5 heroes?
1. Dion DiMucci. Doo-wop legend with a voice that makes me think of the world in the way i wish it was. He’s our elvis.
2. Bambi. What everyone forgets about Bambi, is that he grows up to be a proper noble, strong and decent badass. He loves his girlfriend and he fights that fella to protect her AND he saves her from a fire. I’d like do something like that. Have to wait for the opportunity though. Cant go around just picking fights and starting fires, thats not really on. Besides, I’ve always felt an affinity with Bambi. We both have big eyes and fall over alot.
3. Groucho Marx. I have dreams where me and Groucho are mates and we go to the park and mcdonalds and stuff like that. I could listen to his business all day. His wisecracks (or drunken bastardasations of them) got me through my teens. Example – “Fancy seeing you here after all these drinks.”
4. Brian Wilson. I cant quite put into words how much beach boys music means to me and has changed my life, so i wont try. God only knows is my favourite song of all time. That or ‘be my baby’ by the ronettes. Dont make me choose, or i’ll hoof you in the leg.
5. My Dad. I cant really say why without sounding nauseating, suffice it to say that i wish i was like him. a Very strong, together fellow who does everything right. I’m a silly, idiot who does everything – and i mean EVERYTHING – wrong.
When is comes to songwriting, do you all have a hand in the mix or are lyrics and music score a very much a separate operation?
I write the music and the words. I;ll be honest, its nothing less than a tyrannical dictatorship. NBut thats not to say its just ‘Jegard and his puppety chumps’. We’re a gang, we’re true brothers. The vals would be nothing without each other. I’d take a pint glass in the chin for these guys, and I think they’d do the same. I hope they would. Thats not an invitation for a glassing, mind.
Do The Valentines comes with any kind of message?
Musically, yeah. We play with the archetypes of music- much like blondie, T rex, the ramones, oasis etc. I try to write songs that sound like they should have already been written. Something thats power catchy. Music comes from either the head, the heart or the genitals, sometimes a combination, sometimes all three. Bands now seem to have the wrong idea of whats important. Music to me, is in a shit state right now. Everyones obsessed with reverb (to cover up their crushingly pedestrian melodies) and irretrievable levels of twee. No-ones got any balls. We make extremely loud, fun pop music for you to get off your face and go mental to. We want to be the band that do songs that your bog-standard, devo b-sides, muso indie kid will like, and yet are still whistled on building sites. Builders whistled ‘common people’ and ‘parklife’. No builders whistle Foals or fucking White Lies. There’s no rock’n roll in the charts these days, literally NONE. Someone’s got to change that, it may as well be us.
Above: Christian Jegard Valentine, lead singer of The Valentines
Where is your favourite place to write songs?
It’s not my favourite place, its just the only place to do it – my horrible little bedsit. I cant wait to get out of it, i really cant. My songwriting process follows thusly – Sit on my bed and get properly twatted, listening to a mix of doo-wop, punk, britpop and glam bands to get in the mood. Then, when sufficiently rinsed, I bash out stuff on my guitar or keyboard and record it all onto this little brown fisher price tape recorder i’ve got. Some of its brilliant, some of its unutterably shite. I only know the next morning. Often, you can be off your tits thinking you’ve come up with the best lyrics of all time, only to listen to it back the next day to find its nothing more than a lengthey, one-chord rant about how shit ‘the brittas empire’ was.
A good example of this was one night i was on 2cb, scribbling away lyrics, thinking what i’d written down was the best chorus of all time. Two days later i found said piece of paper that contained this ‘amazing’ chorus and all it said was “blam! everyone look at me! smash!”
Who is the poet of the group? I am.
Who is the romancer? I am.
If you were to write a Valentines Day song for anyone, who would it be for?
I’ve done that a few times actually. Well, not for valentines day – but yearly love songs. I had one meaningful relationship which broke up four years ago. Ever since, i write her a song for her birthday each year. I send her the CDs. She always calls me and thanks me for them. Miss her terribly. I’m not a lunatic. I’d like people to fall in love with each other at our gigs. That was why i called the band the valentines. I want to do some love songs but i don’t think the others will let me. I reckon we could be a musical cupids bow though. Who wouldn’t want that? love and romance are the best thing.
Who is most likely to get a modelling contract in the future?
Carl, our drummer. We’re all reasonably dashing, but he’s definitely the most attractive. He looks like a cross between michaelangelo’s david, and a strawberry mini milk.
Describe what true romance really is:
Its the most beautiful thing in the world. People fall in love and stay together every day. To some, and I’m not joking – it feels like valentines day DAILY, they will wake up next to each other and feel that homey feeling (but in a person) and they will think about the other person for most of the day – and despite having known each other for years and years they still get butterflies thinking about each other, and much, in fact nearly all of their behaviour is selfless…Sounds ridiculous I know, but it does happen. And physical attraction doesn’t fade, despite what people may tell you. It’ll fade if ALL you care about is physical attraction and are obsessed with surface aesthetics… but that would mean you are a shallow prick and if so, you deserve to have your relationships decline. If love is true, the physical attraction will grow, because whereas before they were just a person, now they’re a superperson, in all aspects.
I’m not a religious person, i dont believe in god – but i dont patronise or ridicule those that do… because even though i know its flim flam, its what gets them through life, and who am i to try and ruin that? I feel the same about true love. believing in it and believing that I, and everyone will find it before they die is what gets me through, gives me hope from one day to the next. Romance is the best (and i suppose, parodoxically the worst) thing about humans. If you don’t find true love or romance, just drown your sorrows is my advice. I tried it, but the fuckers have learned to swim.