Recently formed, internationally-based and extremely diverse collective, VLY, has signed with Laser’s Edge for the release of their debut album early this Fall. Amongst the quintet’s ranks, several members of the outfit have previously spent time in Crippled Black Phoenix, one from Änglagård, and all currently hold rank in Diet Kong, Typical Reptiles, Karl Demata Band, Il Tempio Delle Clessidre, Bernie Torme’, Shark Island, White Willow and Necromonkey.
VLY began as strangers sending 1’s and 0’s across the Atlantic Ocean. British-based guitarist Karl Demata had a vague idea and a few demos, when a friend put him in touch with New York singer/artist Keith Gladysz. Keith began working on the demos, adding a more melodic, dream-like and decidedly indie sensibility. “It was a new way to work”, says Gladysz. “The music and collaborative art I’ve made always started with people I knew, and creating naturally came out of that understanding. That’s not the case with VLY. We managed to make an album without ever meeting. There was no gauge or reference point except for the music. It was a total shot in the dark.”
The sound of VLY hits elements of progressive rock, classic rock, folk, early-Floydian psychedelia, intimate pop melodies, massive walls of epic guitar riffage, post-classical, post-rock and electronic music. And it’s the diverse background of the members that lead to the breadth of their sound. The progressive sentiment of Italian keyboardist Elisa Montaldo quickly attracted the ear of Demata. “The first time I heard Elisa play,” says Karl, “I knew we had to be in a band. Her innate melodic approach and instinctual understanding and knowledge of ‘anything prog’ is simply remarkable.” “Karl asked me to join the project at the very beginning,” Elisa picks up, continuing, “My idea of prog is somehow more vintage, more typical ‘70s Italian style. After various experiments on arrangements and sounds, I went to Karl’s studio to record most of the keyboards, where we found the right balance.”
Connecting with strangers and expanding circles of mutual friends became the pattern for VLY. Demata next recruited experienced bass player Chris Heilmann, whom he’d worked with previously in Crippled Black Phoenix. Chris provided a solid backbone with a more classic rock attitude.
And Demata doesn’t hold back when talking about Sweden-based musician Mattias Olsson. “He is simply a genius. And he’s never predictable as a drummer. Mattias also contributed some vintage keys and odd analog noises, which have a definitive effect on the band’s sound. A common friend described him as a ‘lateral thinker’, and I can’t think of a better way to describe him.”
VLY makes good on the futuristic dreams of the late 1990s, when promises of international recording sessions via the Internet excited incredulous musicians. Now that it’s a reality, the method may be less glamorously sci-fi than one had hoped; still, they get the job done. “I always disliked the clichés about music as a universal language, and more recently about the Internet bringing people together,” explains Gladysz. “I’m even more uncomfortable with those sentiments now, since VLY proved them true.”
VLY‘s debut album, I / (Time), will see release through the Laser’s Edge imprint September 2015. The album was engineered and produced by Karl Demata, with additional production by Keith Gladysz and Mattias Olsen, and mastered by Bob Katz. Additional info on the album will be released through the Summer months, including audio samples, an official video, and upcoming European tour dates.
Keith Gladysz (Diet Kong, Typical Reptiles) – vocals
Karl Demata (ex-Crippled Black Phoenix, Karl Demata Band) – guitars, synths, programming
Elisa Montaldo (Il Tempio Delle Clessidre) – keyboards and synths
Chris Heilmann (ex-Crippled Black Phoenix, Bernie Torme’, Shark Island) – bass
Mattias Olsson (ex-Änglagård. White Willow, Necromonkey) – drums, keyboards