Saints of Valory make Jazz Aspen debut |

Saints of Valory make Jazz Aspen debut

Stewart OksenhornThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO, Colorado
Daniel Chee/Courtesy photoAustin, Texas, rock quartet Saints of Valory make their Aspen debut Saturday at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival.

SNOWMASS VILLAGE – A big part of the backstory behind the rock quartet Saints of Valory is the multinational element. One member is Brazilian, one American, one French and one Canadian.Which tells just a small portion of the story of just how multicultural the band is.Gavin Jasper, the band’s singer and bassist, was born in Rio de Janeiro. But thanks to the work of his parents, who were Christian missionaries, Jasper spent his teen years in San Antonio, Texas, and in more towns in Mexico than he can remember. Godfrey Thompson is a native of California, but his parents brought him to Brazil as a child, when he befriended Jasper. Later on, he lived several years in Japan.Before forming Saints of Valory, Gerard Bouvier, a Frenchman, was playing drums in a band in Mexico. Stephen Buckle, a keyboardist, was born in Vancouver, but, thanks to his parents, who were also missionaries, spent many years in Southeast Asia before moving to Brazil, where he met Jasper.The central locus was Rio de Janeiro, and the four members did get together first there. Jasper had stayed in touch with both Thompson and Buckle, and when Jasper finished up with one project in Brazil – recording classic songs in bossa nova style, including an album of Elvis Presley tunes, intended for the Japanese market – he summoned the two of them to Rio. Thompson brought with him Bouvier, his bandmate from the Mexican-based group.But instead of launching the group from Brazil, or any of the other seemingly likely spots, Saints of Valory set their sights on England. Within a week of posting a few of their first songs on Myspace, they got a call from a record label in Florida that was interested in working with them. The band thus shifted their attention to the States, but their attention was diverted once again by South by Southwest, the massive music gathering in Austin. In the spring of 2010, the foursome made their way to Texas, “just to check it out, not to play,” Jasper said. They liked what they saw: “We decided to launch this idea from Austin.”Uniting the four members is an attraction to the same kind of music. The Killers, the rock group that emerged from Las Vegas, became a shared touchstone after Saints of Valory saw them play in a tiny club during South by Southwest. There is also a common affection for the early work of two U.K. bands, Coldplay and U2, the Icelandic group Sigur Rs, Kings of Leon, English rockers Muse, and a rock quartet from Versailles that goes by the name Phoenix.”That’s the glue that makes everything work so smoothly,” Jasper, who speaks in a fluid American tongue, said from Austin. “Besides knowing each other really well, we share the same musical tastes and love listening to the same bands together. So the songs come together fast. But it’s unique because we all come to it from a different direction.”Saints of Valory released their first EP, “The Bright Lights,” late in 2010, and followed with a single, “Providence,” which did well on Austin radio. The band has been touring steadily ever since, and while many bands feel more at home on the road than in their own bedrooms, Jasper said that Saints of Valory have done something a little different – establishing homes away from home in towns where their music has done well.”It’s a little strange, being so new to Austin. We weren’t born and raised here,” Jasper, who grew up wanting to be a singer-bassist, in the mold of Sting and Geddy Lee of Rush, said. “Touring, we’ve created these second homes everywhere, like Burlington, Vt. They play us like crazy on the radio.”Saints of Valory make their local debut Saturday at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival, where they play a main-stage set opening for Mumford & Sons. Jasper has never seen the British folk-rockers perform, but he has crossed paths with them. Jasper spotted Mumford & Sons last year, coming out of the train station in Austin. Rather than jam, they did something that would be typical in Brazil, Mexico and England – they played soccer together.Saints of Valory have yet to play in Brazil. But Jasper’s got it high on his to-do list.”Music is so big in Brazil. People thrive on it there,” he said. “The Strokes drummer is from Brazil, and when they play there, they treat it like it’s a Brazilian band.”

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