Artistically and aesthetically deeply rooted in the Seventies the Valeta brothers Armand Valeta (vocals and rhythm guitar) and LG Valeta (lead guitar) founded ’77 (pronounced Seventy Seven) as a direct reflection of the concept of the era they love. Over the past years ’77 didn’t just make a name for themselves with their studio recordings, but particularly with their high energy live shows that secured them countless European tours with the likes of diverse bands such as Bullet or Audrey Horne. Their new album “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us” was produced by Jaime Gomez Arellano who has worked with diverse artists such as Paradise Lost, Ghost, Ulver or Cathedral. You figure this might sound too heavy for fans of real Rock’n’Roll? Wait until you get to hear the first track and you’ll be turned into a real believer that this was a match made in Rock’n’Roll heaven!
At first the band was a little uncertain if Gomez was the right person for the job, but a first meeting eliminated all doubts. “We can gladly say that we’ve made a new friend,” says LG Valeta. Working with him wasn’t just smooth and easy, but he really understood the band’s vision and gave them creative input.
The basic tracks and solos for “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us” were recorded in Music Lan Studios near Figueres in Spain whereas the vocal parts and arrangements were taken care of in Orgone Studios in London. The album was mixed and mastered in Orgone Studios as well. Jaime Gomez Arellano chimes in: “Working with ’77 was a brilliant journey back to… well… sort of 1977! We decided to take our trip back in time very seriously and didn’t compromise on anything. First, we worked very hard on a pre-production, then went to record the album on an all-original 1976 Neve desk at Music Lan Studios in Spain. It was all recorded live using vintage drums, guitars, amplifiers, microphones and classic analog outboard units – all to analogue 2 inch tape. In most cases we kept the first take and we did no more than two takes per song. We then mixed in my Orgone Studios on my SSL desk and mastered it to 1/4 inch analogue tape. The result: an exciting, energetic record where I think we managed to capture the spirit of ’77.”
In case you are fond of some in-depth info about the gear they used it is worth giving the following a good read: “We really wanted to record live on tape this time, as we never had the chance before,” says LG. “We spent two full days working on the sound of the drums and guitars, as we know how important it is to have the sound you want from the very first beginning. Gomez brought parts of his drumkit to Music Lan in Spain. We took the Bonham vistalite kit and the 70s Yamaha Recording Custom with a bunch of snares from his studio and the effort really paid off. The same happened with the bass amp. He has an original Ampeg from the 70s and Music Lan have an Ampeg cabinet from the 70s as well. We used a 60s Fender Jazz Bass from Music Lan in all songs except ‘Come & Join Us’ where we switched to our 60s Gibson EB-2. For guitars we used a 1962 Gretsch Jet Firebird, a 1971 Gibson SG and a Marshall Super Leads from the 70s. Once we had the right sound it just took us 2 or 3 takes per song to nail it, so it went pretty fast. We feel it was totally worth it to invest in such a great studio and tapes, because we could hear the difference, especially with the drums and bass guitar. Tape gives you that warm distorted sound from the classic records that we all love so much. Gomez told us he would master on tape, so we wanted to check how he does it: We were mixing and mastering at the same time, which is something we never tried before. We had the 24 track tapes bounced to Pro Tools because that’s how we decided to record vocals, so when we were done, we mixed it with Pro Tools using external EQs, compressors and gates. We just used some reverb plugins. The mix passed through the great SSL desk at Orgone to the mastering gear and directly to a 2 track Studer A80 recorder we cranked pretty much to make it compress the whole mix. We basically combined vintage and modern technology in a way we didn’t lose that warm live sound we were always looking for while expediting the whole process. Or biggest dream is recording and mixing just on tape one day.”
’77 proudly introduce two new members to the team: Andy Cobo on drums and Guillem Martinez on bass: “Our management told us they knew a guy called Andy who was a huge fan of the band. We decided to give him a chance, because he knew all our songs. One day before Andy’s audition I recalled a guy we already knew for some time – Guillem. We knew he had a similar taste in music and looked good. Originally he is a guitar player, but he was very talented, so we knew that playing bass wouldn’t be a problem. We played 4 songs from ’77 and a couple of AC/DC covers and from the first chords my brother and I were freaking out how good it sounded.” They had about a month to get ready for the tour together with Audrey Horne which offered the perfect chance to test the vibe when spending time on the road which went great.
After a fresh start with a new label and line-up the title of the album only came naturally. “The album title stands for the moment we are living in as a band. My brother and me founded ‘77 and finally start to reap what we’ve been sowing for almost 10 years. We always like to send a positive message, because that’s how we like to face things in general.”
When it comes to the lyrics ’77 keep things universal and talk about feelings and thoughts that everybody can relate to. There are light party anthems like “We Want More Rock And Roll” or “Tonight” as well as darker tunes such as “Too Young To Go” or “Street Dogs”. “All of them deal with something that we individually or as a band experienced. ‘It’s Alright” and ‘Street Dogs’ are about the conformism we see in nowadays society, especially in our home country Spain which is something that needs to change if things should improve. ‘Too Young To Go’ and ‘GMDF’ are songs about letting people go in one way or another. They are obviously very personal, but in a positive way: clear the past and focus on the future. ‘Still Waiting’ and ‘No One Like You’ might sound kinda romantic or melancholic, but ‘No One Like You’ is more about being grateful for a special person – it’s about eternal friendship and loyalty.”
After working hard on “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us” in the studio the band is already itching to get back on the road to spread the Rock’n’Roll gospel.
Videos & Tracks
Armand Valeta [vocals, guitar]
LG Valeta [lead guitar]
Guillem Martinez [bass]
Andy Cobo [drums]
Nothing'S Gonna Stop Us
[Century Media Records]
Maximum Rock 'n' Roll
21st Century Rock