Experienced travelers of all rock ‘n roll genres, Electric Six delights listeners with their unique brand of punk, disco, metal, electro and often humor based music. The singer, Dick Valentine, is known for his powerful and identifiable vocals. Thankfully, he tones it down a notch for this phone interview.
Dick Valentine, where are you guys with the tour right now?
We’re in Des Moines, Iowa. It doesn’t get more “tour” than that.
That sounds just awful.
It’s not bad. In a lot of these cities in the middle of the country, you can always find good food and… lots of nice brick office buildings. When it’s clear, Fall weather, it’s a good place to be.
Let’s jump into the new album, Zodiac. What direction did you want to take this one compared to the others?
We definitely wanted to put more strings and horns and stuff like that in it, but we’re not good at that. I think we started out going in that direction and then defaulted to loud guitars.
Twelve signs of the Zodiac and twelve tracks on the album. Coincidence?
Not at all. We always record too much, usually 17 or 18 songs, and our guitar player who does the recording always stresses about having too many songs in the mix so once we ran the Zodiac concept by him he was way into it because then we could execute only 12 songs.
Why did you choose to cover The Spinners’ “Rubberband Man” on this album, of all songs?
Just because we enjoyed the song and we thought we’d have a fun time playing it live.
Yeah, I saw that. It works really well in your set, but what was the thought process in putting this song on the album?
We don’t put a lot of thought process into anything. It’s just a song we wanted to play.
Do you plan on making any videos from the songs on this album?
Probably not. We’re at a point where we don’t force videos anymore unless we really have a good idea. Generally we make videos in July or August before the record comes out and a lot of us were on vacation and stuff. So the stars were not aligned, ironically enough.
The stars never aligned for the Zodiac album, huh?
Never say never. We enjoy the process of making videos, but we’re at a point where if we do make a video, we’re just going to end up throwing it on YouTube. It’s also good from a marketing standpoint. It’s not worth pouring a bunch of money into something you can just throw on YouTube and have people lay some comments down, like “Dude, this band is awesome.” That doesn’t really hold water for us anymore.
From Fire to Zodiac, how do you feel you guys have grown?
We went from our early thirties to our late thirties. We definitely have a new perspective on things. Music is not what it used to be. When you first start a band, you have a very myopic sense of what being in a band is.
How do you manage to put out an album nearly every year?
Well, we have six people in our band. Many of us write songs and we come by ideas in our spare time very easily. All it takes is for each guy to write two songs a year and that’s an album.
Where does the song writing process start for you?
It can start with someone doing an idea with a garage band or lyrics that I have. There is no one way to do it. A lot of times, I do start with just a lyric or title. I have lyrics or riffs bouncing around in my head all the time, so an Electric Six song happens if I’m easily able to write lyrics to it.
Having been around for so long, what can you attribute the long time success of Electric Six to?
I attribute it to the fact that we are really boring people off stage. The original line up of our band was exciting people but they weren’t built for touring or for the long haul.
Are you still active in Evil Cowards?
Yep. Slowly but surely, my partner just built his own studio and his own company so that is picking up a lot. We look at Evil Cowards as the secondary project for both of us, so when we both have time for it, that’s when we do it.
When will that time be?
We made some headway into recording our second album. A few songs are recorded and two or three are actually mixed. He has so much on his plate right now and I’m on tour, so it completely makes sense to put it on the backburner.
What do you and the guys have in mind for after the tour?
We’re going to do a Spring Canada tour again because last year’s was very successful. After that I’m not sure what we’re going to do yet.
Your touring mates, The Constellations, they are pretty great. How did you manage to come into contact with them?
It’s all done with booking agents. I think the idea was that we don’t click all that well in the south east and they do so we scratch each other’s backs.
How do you enjoy traveling with them?
They are a really great group of people. It’s been awhile since we’ve gotten on so well with a band. Well, I can’t say that. A lot of the opening bands we’ve had have been great people. And there is always one or two who will give you problems and those are the ones you seem to remember.
I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me. Good luck with the show, Dick.