Valdera

Valdera is many things: A region in Tuscany; an art deco apartment block on Peterborough st; and the solo moniker of James Musgrave, under which he explores the medium of guitar and voice. Valdera songs embody the reflection, solitude, and frozen hope of a southern winter, and the joy and fulfilled promise of spring. Summer and autumn… not so much.

The first version of Valdera was a two piece consisting of James Musgrave on acoustic guitar and Bri Yaakoup (Frase and Bri) on piano. Early recordings on James’ computer attest to the band being formed in late 2004, which seems like a long time ago now. They intended to make quiet and pretty music, as a reaction to the very loud style of their previous band, where they were joined by mutual friend Fraser Austin (Frase and Bri, Secrets).

However, this duo didn’t last long. James forgot about quiet music and went off to form A Flight To Blackout, and Bri linked up with Fraser again to form Frase and Bri. But James never stopped playing acoustic guitar. He continued to write songs, singing softly to himself in various freezing flats across Christchurch City, and slowly gaining the confidence necessary to do so in front of other humans.

Before live performance however, he spent long hours teaching himself to record the best of the songs that he had so far written, again in various freezing flats across Christchurch. Eventually, in a modest room on Nicholls st around 2006, James was finally happy with the sound of the recordings. Unfortunately, after hearing them over and over ad naseum, by this time he was also completely sick of the songs themselves – so he left them to sit idle on his hard drive.

Fast forward to 2008, and James decided that the only way he was going to play live was by forcing himself. Therefore, the first Valdera show was booked, and on 01.06.08 he supported A Flight To Blackout and I.Ryoko at the Christchurch Media Club. The songs ranged from ones written in 2004 to the present, and were completely acoustic and unaccompanied.

Since then Valdera has branched out into the world of electricity, with about 50% of the currently played songs involving electric guitar, programmed drums, and synth all plugged into a loop station with vocals on top. Sometimes the Valdera setlist is acoustic, sometimes electric, and sometimes a mix of both.

Now, several years later, the finishing touches are being put on the Nicholls st recordings, and will be released as a 4 song EP before the end of 2008.
This extended bio was brought to you by the letter A, the colour white, and a completely shameless use of the third person. Thank you.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • 145 [November 2008 self-released]
  • Terminus [September 2009 self-released]
  • All Past and All Future [January 2010 self-released]
  • Early Earth [May 2010 self-released]
  • Remnants [November 2010 self-released]

See-Also

A Flight To Blackout

Biography

Excellent instrumentalist trio from the garden city formed by Matt Craw (Guitar), James Musgrave (Bass), and Jared Kelly (Drums) in early 2005. Taking cues from a variety of informed directions, the group were prolific features of the local live scene, and attached themselves to both R18 and all-age crowds with varying success. Playing an involved instrumental sound heavy on dynamics, the group enlisted ex-Substandard bassist Gareth Heta as a 2nd guitarist for a short period before reverting back to their original configuration. However, this was soon broken when Kelly left to play with the Pickups full-time, so Cam Walker was recruited to carry on where Jared left off.

Throughout later 2005 and early 2006 the group had a strong association with fellow garden city instrumentalists Coal, with Walker sitting at the throne for both groups for a period – however this was halted by problems with the tendons in Walker’s wrist, which caused him a great deal of pain during a show with the touring groups Jakob and American outfit No Funeral.

After losing Walker, Craw and Musgrave added Thomas Lambert (synth/guitar – aka i.Ryoko) in order to create a fuller sound than the rock trio lineup. Through him they found a great replacement drummer in Adam Jack, who picked up the groove of the songs quickly and added his own heavy hitting style. At this time, Gareth Heta again showed an interest in being part of the band, so he was recruited on guitar (and bass when James swaps to guitar). These changes have lead to further creativity within the group, with new songs eventuating at the start of 2007 (including for the first time, a song with vocals provided by Musgrave).

More live shows followed, a highlight being a gig with The Enright House, Pandora’s Bucket, and Wellingtonians Donatello. Towards the end of 2007, A Flight To Blackout entered the RDU Roundup band competition without any expectations of success, and came away with 2nd place, pipped by the more RDU-friendly (but by no means lesser) Bang! Bang! Eche!

As seemed to be the rule by now, Jack left the group at the end of 2007 to travel to Canada, and Lambert left for Wellington. This allowed the remaining members to focus on the tracking of their debut release, which is currently being mixed and produced by Thomas for release on his and partner Matt Faisander’s Sonorous Circle label before the end of 2008.

In early 2008 Hayden Williams and Josh Black (both also of Neil Robinson) made fine replacements on drums and synth respectively, their first show with the band being the farewell/fundraiser of friends The O’Lovelys.

Members

  • Matt Craw (Guitar, 2005 – 2008)
  • James Musgrave (Bass/Vocals/Guitar, 2005 – 2008)
  • Jared Kelly (Drums, 2005?)
  • Gareth Heta (Guitar/Bass, 2005?, 2007?)
  • Cam Walker (Drums, 2005? – 2006?)
  • Thomas Lambert (Keyboards/Guitar, 2006 – 2007)
  • Adam Jack (Drums, 2006 – 2007)
  • Hayden Williams (Drums, 2008)
  • Josh Black (Keyboards, 2008)

Discography

Links