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Gavin's Underground

The North Valley, Spirit Master

by Gavin Sheehan
- Posted // 2013-07-31 - This past weekend, I threw another random dart at the board of local shows and nailed Friday night's show at The Urban Lounge right on the bullseye. An awesome lineup with four bands commanded the evening, kicking off with The North Valley followed by our old friends in Holy Water Buffalo, then the experimental rock of Koala Temple, with the “spiritcore” rock of Spirit Master closing up the evening. It was a really awesome show, though many who attended wouldn't know any better since the majority of the crowd spent most of the night on the smoking patio. Why go to a show just to sit on the fucking porch?!
Anyhow, I chat with the first and last band today (because Koala Temple elected not to participate), along with photos of the evening, which you can check out in this gallery here.

The North Valley (For this interview, the band chose to answer as a group.)

Gavin: Hey, guys. First thing, tell us a little about yourselves.

TNV: We are The North Valley, a five-piece rock band from Salt Lake City.

Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

TNV: Growing up, we all listened to classic bands like Zeppelin, Sabbath, and The Beatles. We all have a soft spot for The Band. These days, we are really influenced by bands like Wilco, Delta Sprit and Blittzen Trapper.
Gavin: How did you come together to form The North Valley?

TNV: We all met when our old bands played shows together. We have played music together since we met, but when the bands we were in slowed down, we got together and started what is now The North Valley.

Gavin: What influenced your more rowdy indie-rock style, and how was it making it work as a five-piece?

TNV: We have always been influenced by loud rock & roll. The rowdiness just came from playing live. Every show that we played, we seemed to get more and more excited to be up there playing. The five-piece part of it has been really fun; it's opened up a lot of room for each of us to play things we might not have been able to before. It was challenging at first to not overdue it with too much sound, but in the last little while, we've really tried to hone it in. It's all just about listening to each other and enjoying yourself.
Gavin: Last year, you recorded your debut EP, The Bad Habits. What was it like putting that album together, and what issues did you deal with along the way?

TNV: Well, we recorded The Bad Habits EP when we were still looking for our sound; I guess we were still trying to figure out the kind of band we wanted to be. We're still really proud of those songs and always will be, but in our upcoming full-length, we're looking to capture a more intense sound, the goal being to translate the rawness of our live show into a recorded format.

Gavin: What did you think of the public reaction to it when it came out?

TNV: We were just happy anyone wanted to listen to us at all. It was a little bit interesting, though. The tameness of that EP kind of set people up for a bit of shock. More than a few times, people would listen to the EP and then come out to a show, where we would play those songs so much louder, so much more urgently, and it was a bit surprising for some people. Luckily, it was usually surprising in a good way and that's translated into more and more people coming out for the live-show experience.
Gavin: What was it like performing at Velour's Battle Of The Bands last year and being in the finals?

TNV: That was a really good time. We were able to meet some great local bands who, like us, were a little bit younger. Particularly, Golden Sun, who we met in our preliminary round, and The 2:13s, who we met in the finals, and we've become really good friends with both of them and have a lot of respect for the music they're making. Those competitions can be interesting, with some bands getting a little too into the competitive aspect of it, but most bands just being their to make connections and help the scene grow, which is what we're all about. Velour, of course, is a beautiful venue and one of the best places to play in Utah, but Provo can be a bit of a trip sometimes. We're obviously happy to play anywhere, and it can be amazing to play in a venue like Velour, but we are, at heart, a Salt Lake City band, which sometimes doesn't translate as well as we would like into the less rowdy Provo scene.

Gavin: Are there any plans for a full-length or another EP in the works, or are you just writing material?

TNV: We have been in the studio a lot lately, and we are extremely close to being done with our first full length! So, keep an eye open for that in the next little while!
Gavin: Any plans for touring down the road, or are you just staying in Utah for now?

TNV: We are playing in Boise on August 10! We are mostly focused on getting our full length finished right now, but we will definitely be touring a lot in the future.

Gavin: Going local, what are your thoughts on the music scene, both good and bad?

TNV: The local scene is incredible -- there is so much talent in SLC right now, we couldn't be happier to be a part of it. The bands here are amazing, not to mention that we have things like KRCL, Salt Lake City Weekly and SLUG. The amount of talent and support that comes from every direction in SLC is humbling. It's an honor to call Salt Lake our home.
Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it more prominent?

TNV: I mean, we're still sharpening our teeth as far as local bands go, but from what we've seen, the key to a great scene is support. It's so easy to get caught up in the politics of recognition, even on just a local level, and that can lead to silly rivalries and grudge-holding. We've really started to realize lately that what makes a scene strong is when all the bands can hold a level of respect for each other, and be willing to be good to one another and help each other out. I mean, we're all just getting up on stage and playing our hardest because it's what we love to do, and we will always, as a band, have huge amounts of respect for any songwriter or group of musicians who take that stage, because that takes courage.

Gavin: Not including yourselves, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

TNV: Desert Noises, The Devil Whale, and Holy Water Buffalo are killing it! We also really love what bands like The 2:13s and Golden Sun have been doing.
Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio and how it affects local musicians?

TNV: We're blessed here by KRCL, and we've personally been incredibly grateful that they've liked us enough to feature our single "You Got that Straight Jake" on their "locally made locally played" segment of the show. I know it's just a local radio station, but in a lot of ways, it's a central part of our local scene. Hearing your own song on the radio is pretty incredible, and it just makes you want to work that much harder and play that much better so that it can keep happening.

Gavin: What do you think of file sharing these days, both as musicians and a music lovers?

TNV: As a young band, we just want everyone who wants to hear our music to have the opportunity. We make this stuff because we love to do it and would just give it away if it meant somebody was out there enjoying what we'd created. On the other hand, a lot of time and work and money does go into creating an album. This is why we love the idea behind user-funded creative projects, like Kickstarter, which we just used ourselves to fund our first full-length album, due out near the end of August.
Gavin: What can we expect from all of you over the rest of this year?

TNV: Well, we're just a bunch of young guys who love to play. So, you'll be seeing a lot of us, all up and down the Wasatch Front -- and beyond -- in the coming year.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

TNV: Album release!!! We haven't locked down any dates yet, but you will be hearing a lot about that very soon.


Spirit Master

Gavin: Hey, guys.First thing, tell us a little about yourselves.

Pastor: This is pastor Josh McCafferty and I will be answering all of the questions in the style of Joseph Fielding Smith. First off, a little bit about Spirit Master in four words: beerbara, Barbara, steerbara and starbara. And that sums it up.

Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Pastor: We became interested in music because our television fathers and mothers told us to do so. And ever since then, we learned to play the guitars.
Gavin: How did you come together to form Spirit Master?

Pastor: Spirit Master formed thee in the belly and before that we knew thee. We also love sporting events including contests.

Gavin: What was it like for you as a group to develop your brand of psychedelic rock?

Pastor: We actually don't pretend to play psychedelic rock. We don't pretend at all. In fact, we are very freaked out by all religions and styles of music.
Gavin: Last yea,r you released your self-titled EP. What was it like recording that, and what issues did you deal with along the way?

Pastor: We certainly weren't doing pills. And trying out pills. We were watching old Monkees reruns on Nickelodeon. Nick at night. Heavenly father at night. Good time. Great guitar and vocal takes.

Gavin: What did you think of the public reaction when it finally came out?

Pastor: It seemed to cause a chain reaction; it had momentum, it was gaining traction. But in reality, there was no reaction. Just kidding!
Gavin: Are there any plans in the works for a new album, or are you just playing gigs for now?

Pastor: We are currently writing and rehearsing our stage play called, We Beat You To It, From It. We will be performing that for Mayor Rocky Anderson and interim Mayor Beckett around the holiday season.

Gavin: Last yea,r you also performed with The Flaming Lips. What was that experience like?

Pastor: Wayne Coyne came to me -- well, he called on me, asking about Spirit Master's internet presence and if we were serious. I didn't know how to respond to that guy, I mean, he's a weird guy, he has curly hair and I think he believes people have landed on Mars the planet, soooo I just said to him, "Yeah, we'll try." There isn't a movie about it ... yet.
Gavin: Is there a plan for a tour in the future, or will you stick to Utah for now?

Pastor: We love Utah. We love all the states. We made a promise to the good people of the Americas a long time ago. We intend to keep each promise.

Gavin: Going local, what are your thoughts on the music scene, both good and bad?

Pastor: Up to this point, there is no proof of a local music scene. But, it can't be disproved. Next question.
Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it more prominent?

Pastor: There are certain tricks to local music scenes, certain heavenly fathers to worship. We refuse.

Gavin: Not including yourselves, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

Pastor: I want to be crystal clear on this one. If your band isn't on a major label, we will not listen to you. We will not listen to you. Learn to play the guitar, get signed, and we'll probably not listen to your band. Sorry.
Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio and how it affects local musicians?

Pastor: All we hear is radio gaga, radio goo goo. KRCL in the morning. Everyone in the band has a long commute to the office in the morning and we all tune in to the KRCL morning show. And through the da,y we'll text jokes that we heard on the show back and forth to each other. It's a riot.

Gavin: What do you think of file sharing these days, both as musicians and a music lovers?

Pastor: We love file sharing and other high crimes.
Gavin: What can we expect from all of you over the rest of this year?

Pastor: Well, like I said, we have the play for our beloved mayors but, we also have tons of shows coming up. We also will be accepting the award for best band to maybe be going to Billings, Montana. We are honored.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

Pastor: We want to promote sex, as long as i'ts safe. There are so many great sexual positions these days that we just ahhhhh!!!! So, get out there and get cumming with each other!


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