Rival Sons’ Jay Buchanan Discusses ‘Great Western Valkyrie,’ Skydiving + More
Rival Sons are rocking eardrums with their latest album 'Great Western Valkyrie.' During the band's recent New York City show, we had the chance to chat with frontman Jay Buchanan about the new disc and his early passion for music, as well as his fondness of juicing and skydiving. Check out our interview with Rival Sons vocalist Jay Buchanan below:
What was the creative process like when writing and recording ‘Great Western Valkyrie’?
I’m not sure how to articulate it, the truth is I don’t know exactly how the spark of creativity works. I think the way we make our records in the fashion in which we write, record and produce everything on the same day, we go in there with nothing and have to make ourselves write songs and have to perform so every day we’re walking out with something new.
We’re recording something that didn’t exist at eight o’clock that morning and I think the process for me is mind numbingly exhausting. Having to write around the clock, it’s difficult, I think where the true inspiration comes from is necessity. There’s no writer’s block, you don’t have the option or the luxury of being uninspired. I have to write. When we make our records, we give ourselves a few weeks and I can’t take a day off from writing because we have to have these songs.
When I’m writing lyrics and melodies and writing complete songs, I have to be alone. I’ll lock myself in a different room and that’s it because you have to listen to your subconscious and your creative mind.
‘Electric Man’ is the first single off of ‘Great Western Valkyrie.’ Talk about that song lyrically and musically.
The lyrics on that song, it’s just a party song. I’ll read reviews and people really try to hand my ass to me and really cut me down about juvenile lyrics and actually I’ll just take the piss out of myself. You need songs like that, you need those kinds of songs and just let the song be what it is. The song is about grooving and about that feeling when you’re on the dance floor, there’s nothing heavy about that song and that was the aim. I don’t have a problem with that because sometimes you don’t want to think and you just want to shake your ass and that’s it.
Did you go to live shows as a kid? If so, was there one in particular concert that inspired you to want to front a band?
Of course I would see shows but I think it was just hearing my mom sing and my grandma sing and knowing how I felt when I sang. I was doomed from the start, I was always going to play music. I thought everybody would play music, I thought that’s what everybody did when I was a little boy. Growing up and becoming a teenager and listening to music I got deeper into it and to do your best at understanding the sophisticated language.
For me growing up, my father worked at the steel mill every day, he didn’t want to be there. I looked at what he was doing and he had unrequited dreams as a musician. When the kids came along, he focused on his job and providing for his family which is extremely honorable. I looked at that and because he did that I’m going to live out his unrequited dream, I’m going to do that because I can see in his eyes that’s what he wanted to do.
Just curious, under band interests on Facebook, it reads, “Juicing, Karate, Skydiving.” Care to elaborate?
Karate, well more like Muay Thai. I did that a while back and it was fun. Juicing we do every day, I’m a religious juicer, vegetarian, complete yoga freak. I do an hour and a half to two hours of yoga every day, it’s all the stereotypes you think about Southern California people – I’m very much that guy. I like to chill out, I’m a peacemaker. Skydiving is just fun which is the opposite of taking it easy but there’s a zen in that adrenaline. I love skydiving, I wish we could go skydiving right now.