“We go by feel”
I haven’t been so excited to discover a band since I stumbled across Pink Floyd in my teens.
Valeras are an incredibly talented 5-piece from Reading – consisting of Katie King, Max Sealy, Rose Yagmur, George Parnell and Kat Beazley.
If I sound overly excited, it’s because their music equals anything produced by rock’s elder statesmen.
Yet – unbelievably – all of them are under 20. And their natural humility suggests they haven’t yet realized just how revolutionary they truly are.
If in doubt, I urge you to check out their new single “Painkiller” – or better yet, you could catch one of their upcoming shows.
Read on for their views on the songwriting process and the music scene in Reading…
How did today’s gig at Reading Festival come about?
Through BBC Introducing. We’ve been uploading our music there; they got to choose who they wanted to have at the festival. There were a few bands that applied and we’ve been lucky enough to be picked to play!
How did you feel when you found out?
It was so lovely, so nice. We were at band practice together and one of our parents called and said “check your emails” – we were like, nah, really?
What was it like to play Reading Festival?
Rose: “It felt amazing on the stage; I held back tears for a bit. We were really lucky that the rain held back for a bit and that people came out to watch us”.
Glastonbury’s the dream. Hopefully one day!
How have you found the music scene in Reading and Berkshire? Are there as many opportunities here as there are in London?
I think it’s coming towards that. Because places like Reading and Wokingham are smaller than London, you get more focus on local bands. And on the community side of things there are lots of people working to support local bands.
We’ve gigged a lot around here. There’s a lovely little community, we put on our own things called Valeras Presents, where we invite other local bands to come and play with us, which is really lovely.
Because we’re not quite in the London scene, we’ve got a chance here to develop our own sound and build up some support – then when we’re ready we can take it into London.
What advice would you give to other local musicians?
Use the BBC Introducing uploader – it got us here, playing at Reading Festival, it got us noticed.
Keep doing lots of shows – keep working and working.
And stay together. We met as a band when we were around 12, 14 years old in Reading Rock Academy – we did a summer course there for a few days, and decided to stick together after that.
Lots of bands find a certain genre or “sound” and stick to it, but you have a lot of different styles and genres in your songs.
We made a conscious decision to avoid having a specific genre or theme. We don’t set out to write something in a certain style.
Instead, we try and serve the song – we let the song lead us in the choices we make. We go by feel.