Taken from Rough Edge.com website.
Interview by R Scott Bolton – 22 January 2003
In 2002, after years of reluctantly pushing his music to the back burner, Robert Valdes finally enjoyed enough success from his RV Productions video production company that he was able to focus on writing, performing and producing a new CD. The result, “Out of the Shadows,” was recently released (and you can download a free sample in our Sounds section by clicking here).
We caught up with Robert recently and asked him the questions that begged asking. He was more than forthcoming with his responses.
Rough Edge: “Out of the Shadows” is your first release in five years. Why so long between releases?
Robert Valdes: The last ten years have actually been a pretty weird time for me. I always knew that my destiny was to make music. But somewhere along the way, I became very disillusioned with the music business. So when I became involved in video production ten years ago, and started my production company, I focused all of my time and energy into making a success out of that venture. Five years ago, when I joined the Regime project, my heart wasn’t really into it. But I did the drums and vocals anyway. I was pleased at the results, but it wasn’t like I was totally back in the music game. Fast forward to two years ago, I was producing a music based television show for the WB network. It was at this time, that I really became interested in making music again. The time that I spent away from making music, gave me a new insight and new fire to begin the process again.
Rough Edge: So, are you still harboring animosity toward the music business?
Robert Valdes: No, not at all. I finally realized that success is all in your mind. If I like the music that I am producing, and I have fans that buy my CDs and show up to the gigs, then that’s enough for me. There are many artists in the biz that are successful, and that have not sold a million records, you know what I mean? If I can make a living as an artist, whether it is in the music business, or as a video producer, then I’m satisfied with that! In the past, I always blamed others for my failures. Like when we didn’t get signed, or we lost out on this opportunity or that opportunity. With my first band, Enforcer, we had bad management and bad producers. But I have no one to blame but myself for that. I never took the time to learn the business and I never took control of my career at that point. I was too young and naive. I thought everything would happen for me automatically. My feeling was that if I was good enough, I would make it. But that is not always the case.
Rough Edge: I assume that this is why you are self-managed and self-produced these days?
Robert Valdes: That’s right. I started RV Records so that I can release my own music. I may sign other artists in the future. But the foundation of my label will be built with my own releases. When I got back in the music game, and started writing “Out Of The Shadows,” I knew I could go farther in the biz because I now had ten years of business marketing and promotion experience, which I learned by starting my video production company. This is the experience I would have needed in the 80s in order to land the big record deal. Also, I am financially stable enough to fund my own ventures. So it was with all my capital that I used to launch RV Records. This also gives me the flexibility to license my product to whoever I see fit. At the moment, I am negotiating with several bigger labels with respect to licensing the new CD. With the intent to reach a larger audience I would otherwise not reach.
Rough Edge: Speaking of the new CD, it has been very well received, hasn’t it?
Robert Valdes: I’m very thankful for that. At this point in my career, I don’t really have to please anyone except myself. Luckily though, there are still legions of music fans through out the world that really enjoy this 80s style pop metal. Because this is the genre of music I grew up listening to, it is the type of music that I write, record and like to listen to. You see, I make the kind of music that I enjoy listening to as a fan. Since the CD was completed, that’s all that I have listened to in my car. That may sound conceded, but it’s the truth.
Rough Edge: We’ve been told you’ve got a pretty good band, and we’re looking forward to seeing you play live. We’re curious, however, why – with this great band of yours – you chose to perform all the instruments on the CD?
Robert Valdes: When I started the CD, I actually didn’t have a band at that time. That is why I played all the instruments. I would have loved to cut the record with the musicians that I am hooked up with now. You have to remember, I was out of the game for five years. This is a lifetime in music terms. I didn’t have any contact with any musicians or anyone else in the biz. I did the record on my own, then proceeded to find the players I thought would be the best fit for my live act. Actually, I consider myself very fortunate by the fact that I can play the drums, bass, guitar and also sing. This gives me the freedom to realize my vision, without any other egos or attitudes hindering me. Making a record is hard enough, without the extra added pressure of having others inject what they feel is right. That is another reason I decided to come out as a solo artist. Anyone that has ever tried to put a band together, write and record an album will tell you that it is sometimes impossible. As a matter of fact, many talented artists in the biz don’t make it because they can’t hook up with the right musicians to realize their musical vision. I’m lucky that I can do it all without anyone else.
Rough Edge: What does your recording studio consist of? And what is your writing / recording process?
Robert Valdes: I put together a Pro Tools TDM system running on a Mac G4. For the drums, I rented a Roland V drum set and recorded the drums direct to disk. I used a Fender P-Bass thru a Line 6 Bass POD for the bass tracks. And for the guitar, I’ve got my trusty old Marshall JCM800 going into a 1960 cab. I used Senheiser mics and I also have a Korg Triton keyboard that I used. Although, there are not a lot of keyboards on this CD. It’s mostly guitar driven. As for writing, it happens many different ways. Sometimes, I’ll come up with a drum beat. Other times I may have a riff I’m playing or a melody that I am singing. It really all depends. But nothing is ever contrived. I’ve never been the type of writer that can sit down and write. I don’t set a time and so, ok I’m going to write something now. It has to come naturally for me. Like when I’m driving, or working out I may come up with something. I already have ideas for the next CD?
Rough Edge: Speaking of that, will we have to wait another five years for more new music from Robert Valdes?
Robert Valdes: No, not at all. I’ve made it a point to stay in the game now. My goal is to release a new CD every year or so. With each new release reaching that many new fans. I hope to get the next CD out before the momentum of this one dies off. Probably in early 2004 you can expect to see the new CD.