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What do Brazil, France, Canada and the US all have in common? They’re all home to the international group of musicians that make up Saints of Valory. Saints of Valory was born out of a childhood friendship between vocalist-bassist Gavin Jasper and guitarist Godfrey Thomson and their experiences learning to play guitar together in Rio De Janeiro. They always dreamed of being in their own band, and in 2008 they achieved that dream with the formation of Saints of Valory with French drummer Gerard Labou. Greek-born keyboardist Stephen Buckle joined the fray two years later, and the band has been on an upward slope ever since. In the past three years alone they became the first and only unsigned group to receive Top 50 airplay on Triple A radio, became finalists in one of Billboard’s nationwide Battle of the Bands competitions, and were the only finalist from that competition to receive a record deal. Now Saints of Valory are working on their full-length debut, Into the Deep, but they already have an EP out titled Possibilities and had enough time to stop by the WERS studios to play a few songs from the EP.
With acoustic guitars, synths and an electronic drum kit, all four members of Saints of Valory were facing each other in a circle as they began their set with “Neon Eyes,” which was featured in the band’s first music video. Jasper’s clean vocals immediately take the lead with a confident demeanor that is simultaneously sincere and triumphant. Yet as a whole Saints of Valory put forth a sound grand and uplifting enough to give Coldplay a run for their money, even in this semi-acoustic setting. The performance demonstrated how important it is for Saint of Valory to make music that evokes strong emotions, and how this can be achieved no matter how big an artist might be.
As one of the Saints of Valory explained after the set, when asked about the grandeur of their music and whether it’s necessary to conjure emotion, he said it was a just natural part of their sound and preferred method of songwriting. For example, “a lot of these really acoustic acts can evoke emotion actually a lot more than big rock bands sometimes, but for us…we love that big sound.” Another member chimed in, “Those are the bands we like: those big giant stadium bands. That’s what we grew up listening to and that’s how it came out when we started playing.” These comments go a long way toward explaining the fullness of the group’s sound in many of their songs, including the second and final song of this session: “Kids.”
“Kids” was the first Saints of Valory song to attract serious attention from label heads and other music industry notables, and the group’s performance of the song made it easy to see why. Jasper’s voice sets a hopeful, reassuring and trustworthy tone that is emphasized by heartfelt harmonies from his fellow bandmates. It’s a nostalgic piece that’s so reminiscent of innocence and carefree youth that it’s enough to make even the most hardened listener feel young at heart again, if only for a short while. Both “Kids” and “Neon Eyes” paint a portrait of a band with a bright future ahead of it, and left listeners with much to look forward to when Saints of Valory release Into the Deep by next spring.