You have a lot of experience in touring and performing with other bands. However, before we get to that stuff, tell me: when did you first pick up an instrument and actually had the desire to learn how to use it?

Valerie - "When I was 14 my best friend Diana Yee was taking bass lessons. She taught me how to play bass. I really wanted to be able to jam with her. Later that year I decided I wanted to be a drummer. The thought of hitting things really hard and being really loud was very appealing to me and still is! I bought a pair of drums sticks & started to take drum lessons. I took them for 2 years. I was horrible at it. Then when I was 16, I used Christmas money I got from my dad to buy a Hohner acoustic guitar & took lesson for about 8 months. I was a better at playing guitar than I ever was playing drums. So I stuck with guitar. It feels more natural to me."

And when did you join your first band? Was it a high school gig? Middle school? College even? Or did it wait till you were more mature?

Valerie - "When I was 14, I was in a band that sounded like Jack of Jill with 2 other girls called Faith's Magik. I played drums. We only practiced maybe 4 times & I never played any shows with them. When I was 18 I was in a band called Putty Root. I sang and played guitar but only played guitar on the recordings; not live. The first show I ever played I was in Putty Root, we opened for Bile in a small venue called Lamours in Brooklyn, NY in 2003."

Aside from instruments, you have a very nice set of chords. Did you start off your singing career just by constantly going along with your favorite tracks, or did you put effort into making your voice more beautiful?

Valerie - "I've been singing to the radio ever since I can remember. I was Cinderella in Cinderella the musical in my 1st grade play. In the 2nd grade I was Ariel in the Little Mermaid the musical. So I guess I've been singing in front of people for quite some time. Playing guitar is more fun for me because it's easier then singing, but I find singing for an audience is more rewarding. Both have their cons & pros."

As far as your recent history goes, you played in such honored bands as The Cruxshadows, Black Tape for a Blue Girl, and even Angelspit. However, let's start off with The Cruxshadows. You joined them around '07 for the '08 Immortal Tour, if I am not mistaken. How did you meet and join up with the goth band?

Valerie - "In 2005 Rogue put out a press release looking for a new keyboardist for their 2006 tour. The Cruxshadows was and probably still is my most favorite band of all time. I emailed Rogue asking to audition for the keyboardist position. He wrote me back saying he had already found someone local and that he would be interested in hiring me in the future if needed. I assumed Rogue sent that email to everyone that applied to the position. However in 2007 I got a phone call from Rogue asking to play guitar because their former guitarist was leaving the band to start a family. I couldn't believe it. I was such a huge fan of The Cruxshadows I believed once he saw what I could do and how passionate I was about the band he'd HAVE to hire me. Obviously, he did. I moved from New York to Florida in a heart beat. Practicing with The Cruxshadows was the most intense 6 months I've ever had in my life. The practices were like 5-8 hour days. They were intense. Those practices definitely prepared & formed me into the musician I am today. I wouldn't be any where near as good as I am today if it weren't for The Cruxshadows."

Now, you didn't stay with Cruxshadows for all too long; just for a brief period before returning to NYC. Did you do so because you missed home? Or did you just want to explore other musical projects?

Valerie - "After the Immortal Tour in 2008, things slowed down for The Cruxshadows. The Cruxshadows started an independent label and Rogue & Jessica were planning to have a child. I also missed New York and wasn't too fond of living in Florida. I went from playing music everyday for 8 hours a day to not playing at all and I lived in Florida. Having nothing to do in Florida bummed me out to no end. After countless phone calls to my mom about how depressed I was about it, she convinced me to move back to NYC. There's always lots of music and plenty to do in New York City. So I quit the band and returned home. I don't have any regrets about it. The band hasn't done a full US tour since I left. I think I made the right choice for myself."

Shortly after Cruxshadows is when you joined up with Black Tape for a Blue Girl, becoming both a guitarist and a vocalist. In this project, did you have a better position than Cruxshadows?

Valerie - "Well, it was more of a different position. Athan Maroulis from Black Tape for a Blue Girl books The Cruxshadows in the USA. That was my in. I auditioned to replace their former singer/ guitarist Nicki Jane. Being in Black Tape was nothing like being in The Cruxshadows. I felt it was more professional, probably because Sam Rosenthal (founder of Black Tape) & Athan were older and both have very strong music business back rounds, along with more years of experience than The Cruxshadows. Sam owns Projekt Records and Athan owns Sepiatone Bookings. I learned a lot about booking & promotion from them. Sam and Athan also had great attitudes and were always a pleasure to perform with."

But, this didn't last too long, either. In October of 2011, you were replaced. Did you move on, or have a falling out with the band? Or did you just leave for other reasons?

Valerie - "I wasn't replaced, they played 2 shows with out me because I had prior engagements with another band called Angelspit. I still talk to Sam and Athan. There just hasn't been anything going on the Black Tape for a Blue Girl front. Sam also just recently moved Projekt Records from Brooklyn, NY to Portland. I wouldn't be surprised if I end up playing with them again down the road!"

And then you joined Angelspit in 2011. That seemed like an awesome move to get you name out there; what was it like to be in such company?

Valerie - "I met Zoog Von Rock the day after I was hired to play for Black Tape for a Blue Girl at the Vampire Freaks Triton Festival in 2010. He came up to me like a man on a mission and bluntly asked 'Hey you're that sick guitarist that used to be in The Cruxshadows right?! Want to play guitar for me?!' Then I said ok.

Angelspit was a lot of fun and a lot of work. Zoog was trying to rebuild Angelspit as a 5 piece with a VJ, guitarist & a drummer. This was all while Amelia Arsenic, the other singer in Angelspit, was living in London."

This may seem like a repeating question, but why did you leave Angelspit?

Valerie - "I left Angelspit because the band's dynamic was constantly changing along with being quite unorganized. I didn't think I would be a good fit for where Angelspit was headed & Zoog Von Rock's vision of what the band should to be."

And, between then and your current musical project, did you have anything else working for you?

Valerie - "After my last tour with Angelspit, Amelia Arsenic & I started a DJ project called the Industrial Girl Bike Gang. We did a US West Coast and East Coast tour, spinning at goth dance parties. That was such a great tour! We basically just had our back packs & took a greyhound bus to different cities and partied our butts off. In the fall of 2012 I played guitar for Everything Goes Cold on the All Sides Closing In Tour with Imperative Reaction. I also have been playing guitar for British pop artist Natalia Kills."

Now, I see that you had a kickstarter campaign going on for your debut EP, "Love is Luxury". Did that go as well as you planned? And was the response as good as you hoped for?

Valerie - "I can't say I ever plan for anything really. I wanted to release an EP and needed funding for it. So I was praying I would have a successful kickstarter campaign. I did and that was just amazing. It was pretty unbelievable. People donated to a a new artist that they only knew as a guitar player before. So I was able to released my EP and I so freaking grateful for that!"

Did your performance in other well known bands contribute to any success you've had so far with your project?

Valerie - "I would say so. I feel like I have somewhat of a fan base from playing guitar in all the touring bands I've been in. I've become friends with a lot of them and we hang out whenever I'm in their town. I've even gone as far as staying at some of their houses while on tours. It's like having an interesting extended family that doesn't judge me. Heh heh and they all listen to awesome music."

Now, aside from yourself working on the album, your lover Abbey Nex had some input on Love is Luxury as well. Did he contribute a lot to the album? Or just help out with making it sound better?

Valerie - "The producer of Love is Luxury, my long time friend Alan Labiner, was looking for someone to help him arrange some synths on the track Danger & the bass and organ sounds on the track So Far Away. Abbey Nex went to college for music and has been writing songs twice as long as I have. I asked Abbey Nex to help Alan and I out to finish those to tracks. They were the last ones to be completed. Abbey did a great job. I think Alan and him made a great pair. Abbey Nex also ended up singing and playing guitar on So Far Away. He also did the majority of the mixing for Danger.

Lots of people actually worked on Love is Luxury. A composer named Adam Brown composed the original music layout to Danger & Scarred. The song Scarred then went through a complete make over after being produced with Faderhead in Germany. This Canadian band True Fallacy also added additional synths to Danger. I like working with different people to get different perspectives on music. I'm lucky enough to know so many talented musicians and engineers."

And, so far, how has response been for your EP? Have you had any hate go towards to the album so far? Or has there been optimism surrounding it so far?

Valerie - "I haven't gotten any complaints... yet. Heh heh. I write music for myself first. The fact that other people can enjoy it and are willing to support is what makes me want to keep at it. I find it really rewarding."

And, is the EP teasing something bigger altogether? Such as a full length release? Or shall your next release be something not pertaining to Love is Luxury?

Valerie - "The plan is to put out a full length album late 2014/ early 2015. The album will be called 'The Mission'. It won't be an extension of Love is Luxury. I put out Love is Luxury to get the ball rolling on my solo project. The thought of releasing a full length first was overwhelming for me. So I thought an EP was less intimidating to finish for a first release."

You've also done some modeling, from what I can see. Is modeling used mainly for promotional use, for fun, or just as a sort of hobby?

Valerie - "Hmm well, I never thought of myself to be a model, I was hired by Manic Panic in 2011 to do my first non band photo shoot and that's how it all started. I work a lot with Candylust Photography who does a lot the clothing photography for Vampire Freaks, MTcoffinz alternative clothing & Timeless Trends.

I like doing it for the most part. However I do have a fair amount of promotional pictures for my solo project to keep my appearance current. I think it's important for a bands or artist's image."

As mentioned above, you have a sort of history of touring with other bands. Do you plan on taking yourself out touring anytime soon? Or is that going to be saved for later?

Valerie - "I would love to go on tour with my solo project as soon as possible. However I can't only tour with an EP. I'm hoping to be a support band for a tour as soon as my full length is out!"

And I'm sure that covers it for now. I want to take this time to thank you personally for your time. And I leave the space below for you to leave any sort of final messages for fans, friends, family, or anyone else out there.

Valerie - "I have a music video coming out in June for the song Scarred off Love is Luxury. It was shot and directed by New York editorial photographer and artist d. yee. The same d. yee who gave me my first music lessons!

I can't wait to share it for you all!"
Valerie Gentile interview
May 17, 2014
Brutal Resonance

Valerie Gentile

May 2014
You have a lot of experience in touring and performing with other bands. However, before we get to that stuff, tell me: when did you first pick up an instrument and actually had the desire to learn how to use it?

Valerie - "When I was 14 my best friend Diana Yee was taking bass lessons. She taught me how to play bass. I really wanted to be able to jam with her. Later that year I decided I wanted to be a drummer. The thought of hitting things really hard and being really loud was very appealing to me and still is! I bought a pair of drums sticks & started to take drum lessons. I took them for 2 years. I was horrible at it. Then when I was 16, I used Christmas money I got from my dad to buy a Hohner acoustic guitar & took lesson for about 8 months. I was a better at playing guitar than I ever was playing drums. So I stuck with guitar. It feels more natural to me."

And when did you join your first band? Was it a high school gig? Middle school? College even? Or did it wait till you were more mature?

Valerie - "When I was 14, I was in a band that sounded like Jack of Jill with 2 other girls called Faith's Magik. I played drums. We only practiced maybe 4 times & I never played any shows with them. When I was 18 I was in a band called Putty Root. I sang and played guitar but only played guitar on the recordings; not live. The first show I ever played I was in Putty Root, we opened for Bile in a small venue called Lamours in Brooklyn, NY in 2003."

Aside from instruments, you have a very nice set of chords. Did you start off your singing career just by constantly going along with your favorite tracks, or did you put effort into making your voice more beautiful?

Valerie - "I've been singing to the radio ever since I can remember. I was Cinderella in Cinderella the musical in my 1st grade play. In the 2nd grade I was Ariel in the Little Mermaid the musical. So I guess I've been singing in front of people for quite some time. Playing guitar is more fun for me because it's easier then singing, but I find singing for an audience is more rewarding. Both have their cons & pros."

As far as your recent history goes, you played in such honored bands as The Cruxshadows, Black Tape for a Blue Girl, and even Angelspit. However, let's start off with The Cruxshadows. You joined them around '07 for the '08 Immortal Tour, if I am not mistaken. How did you meet and join up with the goth band?

Valerie - "In 2005 Rogue put out a press release looking for a new keyboardist for their 2006 tour. The Cruxshadows was and probably still is my most favorite band of all time. I emailed Rogue asking to audition for the keyboardist position. He wrote me back saying he had already found someone local and that he would be interested in hiring me in the future if needed. I assumed Rogue sent that email to everyone that applied to the position. However in 2007 I got a phone call from Rogue asking to play guitar because their former guitarist was leaving the band to start a family. I couldn't believe it. I was such a huge fan of The Cruxshadows I believed once he saw what I could do and how passionate I was about the band he'd HAVE to hire me. Obviously, he did. I moved from New York to Florida in a heart beat. Practicing with The Cruxshadows was the most intense 6 months I've ever had in my life. The practices were like 5-8 hour days. They were intense. Those practices definitely prepared & formed me into the musician I am today. I wouldn't be any where near as good as I am today if it weren't for The Cruxshadows."

Now, you didn't stay with Cruxshadows for all too long; just for a brief period before returning to NYC. Did you do so because you missed home? Or did you just want to explore other musical projects?

Valerie - "After the Immortal Tour in 2008, things slowed down for The Cruxshadows. The Cruxshadows started an independent label and Rogue & Jessica were planning to have a child. I also missed New York and wasn't too fond of living in Florida. I went from playing music everyday for 8 hours a day to not playing at all and I lived in Florida. Having nothing to do in Florida bummed me out to no end. After countless phone calls to my mom about how depressed I was about it, she convinced me to move back to NYC. There's always lots of music and plenty to do in New York City. So I quit the band and returned home. I don't have any regrets about it. The band hasn't done a full US tour since I left. I think I made the right choice for myself."

Shortly after Cruxshadows is when you joined up with Black Tape for a Blue Girl, becoming both a guitarist and a vocalist. In this project, did you have a better position than Cruxshadows?

Valerie - "Well, it was more of a different position. Athan Maroulis from Black Tape for a Blue Girl books The Cruxshadows in the USA. That was my in. I auditioned to replace their former singer/ guitarist Nicki Jane. Being in Black Tape was nothing like being in The Cruxshadows. I felt it was more professional, probably because Sam Rosenthal (founder of Black Tape) & Athan were older and both have very strong music business back rounds, along with more years of experience than The Cruxshadows. Sam owns Projekt Records and Athan owns Sepiatone Bookings. I learned a lot about booking & promotion from them. Sam and Athan also had great attitudes and were always a pleasure to perform with."

But, this didn't last too long, either. In October of 2011, you were replaced. Did you move on, or have a falling out with the band? Or did you just leave for other reasons?

Valerie - "I wasn't replaced, they played 2 shows with out me because I had prior engagements with another band called Angelspit. I still talk to Sam and Athan. There just hasn't been anything going on the Black Tape for a Blue Girl front. Sam also just recently moved Projekt Records from Brooklyn, NY to Portland. I wouldn't be surprised if I end up playing with them again down the road!"

And then you joined Angelspit in 2011. That seemed like an awesome move to get you name out there; what was it like to be in such company?

Valerie - "I met Zoog Von Rock the day after I was hired to play for Black Tape for a Blue Girl at the Vampire Freaks Triton Festival in 2010. He came up to me like a man on a mission and bluntly asked 'Hey you're that sick guitarist that used to be in The Cruxshadows right?! Want to play guitar for me?!' Then I said ok.

Angelspit was a lot of fun and a lot of work. Zoog was trying to rebuild Angelspit as a 5 piece with a VJ, guitarist & a drummer. This was all while Amelia Arsenic, the other singer in Angelspit, was living in London."

This may seem like a repeating question, but why did you leave Angelspit?

Valerie - "I left Angelspit because the band's dynamic was constantly changing along with being quite unorganized. I didn't think I would be a good fit for where Angelspit was headed & Zoog Von Rock's vision of what the band should to be."

And, between then and your current musical project, did you have anything else working for you?

Valerie - "After my last tour with Angelspit, Amelia Arsenic & I started a DJ project called the Industrial Girl Bike Gang. We did a US West Coast and East Coast tour, spinning at goth dance parties. That was such a great tour! We basically just had our back packs & took a greyhound bus to different cities and partied our butts off. In the fall of 2012 I played guitar for Everything Goes Cold on the All Sides Closing In Tour with Imperative Reaction. I also have been playing guitar for British pop artist Natalia Kills."

Now, I see that you had a kickstarter campaign going on for your debut EP, "Love is Luxury". Did that go as well as you planned? And was the response as good as you hoped for?

Valerie - "I can't say I ever plan for anything really. I wanted to release an EP and needed funding for it. So I was praying I would have a successful kickstarter campaign. I did and that was just amazing. It was pretty unbelievable. People donated to a a new artist that they only knew as a guitar player before. So I was able to released my EP and I so freaking grateful for that!"

Did your performance in other well known bands contribute to any success you've had so far with your project?

Valerie - "I would say so. I feel like I have somewhat of a fan base from playing guitar in all the touring bands I've been in. I've become friends with a lot of them and we hang out whenever I'm in their town. I've even gone as far as staying at some of their houses while on tours. It's like having an interesting extended family that doesn't judge me. Heh heh and they all listen to awesome music."

Now, aside from yourself working on the album, your lover Abbey Nex had some input on Love is Luxury as well. Did he contribute a lot to the album? Or just help out with making it sound better?

Valerie - "The producer of Love is Luxury, my long time friend Alan Labiner, was looking for someone to help him arrange some synths on the track Danger & the bass and organ sounds on the track So Far Away. Abbey Nex went to college for music and has been writing songs twice as long as I have. I asked Abbey Nex to help Alan and I out to finish those to tracks. They were the last ones to be completed. Abbey did a great job. I think Alan and him made a great pair. Abbey Nex also ended up singing and playing guitar on So Far Away. He also did the majority of the mixing for Danger.

Lots of people actually worked on Love is Luxury. A composer named Adam Brown composed the original music layout to Danger & Scarred. The song Scarred then went through a complete make over after being produced with Faderhead in Germany. This Canadian band True Fallacy also added additional synths to Danger. I like working with different people to get different perspectives on music. I'm lucky enough to know so many talented musicians and engineers."

And, so far, how has response been for your EP? Have you had any hate go towards to the album so far? Or has there been optimism surrounding it so far?

Valerie - "I haven't gotten any complaints... yet. Heh heh. I write music for myself first. The fact that other people can enjoy it and are willing to support is what makes me want to keep at it. I find it really rewarding."

And, is the EP teasing something bigger altogether? Such as a full length release? Or shall your next release be something not pertaining to Love is Luxury?

Valerie - "The plan is to put out a full length album late 2014/ early 2015. The album will be called 'The Mission'. It won't be an extension of Love is Luxury. I put out Love is Luxury to get the ball rolling on my solo project. The thought of releasing a full length first was overwhelming for me. So I thought an EP was less intimidating to finish for a first release."

You've also done some modeling, from what I can see. Is modeling used mainly for promotional use, for fun, or just as a sort of hobby?

Valerie - "Hmm well, I never thought of myself to be a model, I was hired by Manic Panic in 2011 to do my first non band photo shoot and that's how it all started. I work a lot with Candylust Photography who does a lot the clothing photography for Vampire Freaks, MTcoffinz alternative clothing & Timeless Trends.

I like doing it for the most part. However I do have a fair amount of promotional pictures for my solo project to keep my appearance current. I think it's important for a bands or artist's image."

As mentioned above, you have a sort of history of touring with other bands. Do you plan on taking yourself out touring anytime soon? Or is that going to be saved for later?

Valerie - "I would love to go on tour with my solo project as soon as possible. However I can't only tour with an EP. I'm hoping to be a support band for a tour as soon as my full length is out!"

And I'm sure that covers it for now. I want to take this time to thank you personally for your time. And I leave the space below for you to leave any sort of final messages for fans, friends, family, or anyone else out there.

Valerie - "I have a music video coming out in June for the song Scarred off Love is Luxury. It was shot and directed by New York editorial photographer and artist d. yee. The same d. yee who gave me my first music lessons!

I can't wait to share it for you all!"
May 17 2014

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

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