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"Kool Artists: Valerna"

Valerna is een project van 2 mannen (RJ Buchanan & Brett Sorrentino). Valerna begon in 2002 als een electronische band, bestaande uit 5 mensen. Het project was echter duur en dat was de reden dat ze ook hiphop nummers produceerden en verkochten voor artiesten en labels. Omdat dat een te grote nadruk lag op de band, sloten ze een deal met een studio in Malibu (Verenigde Staten). Vanwege meningsverschillen, verlieten de twee de studio en begonnen zij Valerna pas weer in 2008.

Valerna viel mij vooral op door het nummer “My Moonrocket”; een techno-beat, dat gepaard gaat met een robotic vocal, die je het gehele nummer te horen krijgt. Zeker een nummer waarop je kan “floathen”. Er komt een remix voor OH SNAP!!, en ze hebben recent hun album “VLRNA” op hun myspace gezet, dat je gratis kan downloaden.

Valerna is a project of 2 men (RJ & Brett Buchanan
Sorrentino). Valerna began in 2002 as an electronic band,
consisting of 5 people. However, the project was expensive and that was
why hip hop songs they produced and sold
for artists and labels. Given that over-emphasis on
the band, they closed a deal with a studio in Malibu
(United States). Because of differences, the left
The two studio and began Valerna again only in 2008.

Valerna I noticed especially the song "My Moon Rocket";
a techno-beat, accompanied by a robotic vocal, which
you hear the whole song. Certainly a number that
you can "floathen. There is a remix for OH SNAP!, And they
recently have their album "VLRNA" put on their myspace, you
free to download.

First things first, is Valerna Kool?

Kool as Kukumbers.

I can hear that some songs are regular electro, some (My Moonrocket
for example) have a techno-beat in it, along with a robotic vocal
throughout the whole song, and some have hiphop beats and vocals. Why
this diversity? Don’t you want to stick at one specific genre?

R: We’ve been producing multiple genres of music for years now. Our
tastes don’t really apply to just one genre. And, in my opinion, good
dj sets don’t either. There’s seems to be a need to fracture
electronic music into these ridiculous sub-genres that i’ve never
really subscribed to. It’s either good or it isn’t.

Why did you chose to give your album “VLRNA” for free to download?

R: There’s nothing to gain from selling records these days. The music
becomes a promotion for your live performance. If we sell the album
someone will just put in on zshare anyway, so why not give it away
yourself? People love free.

You live in the United States, how did you get involved with the
electro music, as this is originally from Europe?

R: We’ve been making electronic music together since we were 15. Back
then there was no “electro”. American bands like Crystal Method were
actually big influences to begin with, but, yeah, european bands were
always at the forefront of electronica. Orbital, Future Sound of
London, the Propellerheads…that was our listening base back then.
But as far as electro as what we know it know, that was more of a
natural progression for us. We both played in metal bands as well
when were younger, so distorting and dirty-ing up synths was

You said that in the beginning of the band, making music was a very
expensive thing to do. How come? Because you can easily make music
through a program on the computer nowadays.

R: This was before software was really good. And the sound we wanted
to achieve was hard to do with a live band. We were looking for a
polished dance sound done with live instruments, so we had to purchase
drum triggers, compressors…basically an entire professional lie
setup. That’s hard to do when you’re 21 and working as a mason’s
laborer in Boston.

Why did the band end and what happened to the other members?

R: We started producing hip-hop full-time. Even though we started the hip-hop to fund the project, it began to eclipse Valerna entirely and became a full-time job. We opened a small studio in Boston and began
doing commercial work as well. The other members were two brothers, Chris & Adam Carignan, we grew up with so we’re all still friends. Chris is a very well known/respected graphic designer now and Adam is back in school.

As you have done both so far, do you prefer playing in a band, or
making music as DJ’s?

R: We approach them both the same way, which i think makes for a good
DJ set. We augment and live-edit all the tracks we spin during our
set. We come at it like it’s a performance rather than a gig, so DJ
or band it’s all the same to me.

Do you think that there is some sort of overkill on music production going on?

R: I think it’s great. The availabilty of this technology removes
any ceiling producers with real talent had before. A 14 year old kid
from Qatar in his bedroom can potentially produce a piece of music of
high-end studio caliber. There isn’t an overkill on production. It’s
an over-exposure. The ability to share any piece of sheep shit you’ve
made with the world is what makes it seem like that. There were
plenty of assholes with guitars 30 years ago who sucked, there just
wasn’t a forum like the internet for them to showcase said turds.

I just have to ask you this; The song My Moonrocket is epic, how did
you create the song? What is the story behind it?

B: It was the bass that started it. I was just fuckin around with this
disco sound and RJ was just like, “i got a really weird idea for this”
R: It’s sounded so “feel-good” and un-valerna like that i just heard
it as fun or goofy…light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek cockiness.

Do you like working with vocals in your songs?

R: No one’s ever been able to properly do rock-style vocals over
dance music. I like trying to bridge that gap. There’s a sea of
electronica out there nowadays so it’s important to push it and try to
stand out. We’re not looking for just the club scene audience. Here
in America, the indie kids who 2 years ago were into Converge and
Modest Mouse, are now at Dim Mak shows, so we know there’s more
interest in the listenablity of the music outside the club.

Are you guys pleased about the way things are going right now, since
youre re-introduction of Valerna in 2008?

R: Very. We’ve had moderate success with projects in the past on a
very local level, and we’ve done very well with TV and film work, but
this is the first project where we’ve had an international response.
It’s still very scattered, but we get fan mail from Aus to Japan to
the UK. There’s a great kid named Matt in the UK who started a fan
club for us and we’ve still never met him. The timing’s been right so
far, the scene is still growing here in the states so there’s a lot of
potential still.

Are there any artists you really dig at the moment?

B: Stupid Fresh, NT89, Emily Haines
R: I’ve really been digging Polymorphic lately, Yelle, Prophet Say-Yo,
Louis LaRoche, NiteCells, Felguk…I’ve been listenin to ModernEyes’
“War” over and over again too.

What kind of future productions can we expect?

R: We’re currently producing an album for Mr. White and we’re
expecting to produce a track or two for Oh Snap!’s full length this
spring. We’re also scoring the film “Cruelty” that’ll be out this
fall. Plus we’ll have more originals coming out. There’s a brand new
one up right now called “We Don’t Stop” and one that should be out in
the next week or so.

Anything you’d like to add for the readers of The Kool Kids?

R: Tell your favorite DJ to play more Valerna if he know what’s good for him.


VLRNA (LP-2008: self-released)
OQUATANZINWAN (LP-2009: Tasty Bytes Records)
OH SNAP!! & JEN LASHER - SO DYNAMITE REMIX EP (2009: One Love Music Group)



Los Angeles duo, Valerna, is the pet project of hip-hop producers Brett Sorrentino and RJ Buchanan. Valerna received significant attention from the blogoshpere in 2008 when they released their debut 10-song LP for free via the internet. In early 2009, Valerna signed with montreal/LA based electro label, Tasty Bytes and released their second LP, "OQUATANZINWAN" with much success. They've since done remixes for Pance Party, Knightstalker, Wax & EOM, Das Racist, as well as the recently released Oh Snap!! & Jen Lasher "So Dynamite" remix EP.