After watching the local music talent of Valencia on a Wednesday night at Black Note Club, a buzzing venue hosting live rock, soul, jazz and blues music, we asked some musicians what they thought about the live music scene in Valencia and what advice they would give to those new to the scene. We sat down with two regulars at Black Note Club, Alex Finardi and Adri Castellanos, to find out more. We also spoke to Valencia newcomer, Rory Sturgeon, to hear about his first experience performing in Valencia.
24/7 Valencia: Thank you for taking the time to speak to us. Firstly, can you tell us a bit about yourselves?
Alex: “Yes, so I’m originally from Brazil and I’ve been a professional musician since I was 20. My family didn’t support my music career so I completed a degree while still focusing on my music. Since then I’ve played on cruise ships, moved to London for a while and played in places like the Caribbean, Dubai etc. I’ve always been a nomad, which is why it’s quite weird that when I came to Valencia. It was like, right, this is it and I love it. I haven’t moved since.”
Adri: “I’m from Uruguay but I’ve been here in Valencia for a long time, I think 15-20 years. I’m a photographer and musician often playing the guitar, bass, double bass and sometimes the flute. I work in several different genres such as traditional rock, blues, swing, jazz etc.”
Rory: “I’m originally from England but am living in Valencia this year. In terms of my musical background, I started playing piano when I was nine and absolutely hated it. I did all the grades but then when lockdown hit I started learning to produce a little bit and decided I wanted to release some songs. I started learning jazz piano and guitar and now I’m halfway there to getting a sound that I would like for my own music.”
24/7 Valencia: How would you describe the live music scene in Valencia?
Alex: “It’s very different from the London scene, for example. Here it’s much more community orientated whereas in London people are constantly judging you for your ability to present yourself and how well you conduct the business side of music as well. But here people really value professionalism and just being a nice person to hang out with. Knowing Spanish also really helps, even if it’s not perfect. If people notice that you’re making an effort, their attitude changes immediately.”
Adri: “It’s very active. There are lots of different types of venues from small bars to bigger jazz clubs. There are also a lot of nationally known bands that can be found playing in and around Valencia.”
Rory: “As soon as I arrived, it seemed accessible. I landed a gig in Black Note Club just by emailing them. There seem to be lots of open mic nights and many small bars which makes for a really lovely intimate setting for gigs, which I especially love for my style of music.”
24/7 Valencia: What advice would you give to new musicians in Valencia?
Alex: “You need to pitch your gig. Go to the venue yourself and get some demos together to present what you’re bringing to the table. Then they can put that music to a face because you’ve been to the venue to introduce yourself. Secondly, be present and make yourself relevant. Go to all the jam sessions that you can go to and don’t be scared to reach out to local musicians and tell them that you’re new and looking for opportunities.”
Adri: “Have demos or short clips of your music and take them to venues. Jam sessions are great for networking too. Social media is also great to get into contact with local musicians as many opportunities can be found online.”
Rory: “I sent Black Note Club my Spotify links by email and that’s how I ended up performing there. The only thing that was a bit stressful was that I had to sell 40 tickets to cover the sound engineering cost for the venue. I could see how if you came to Valencia with zero following on social media it would be a little bit harder so making your presence known on social media is super important in that aspect.”
24/7 Valencia: What are you working on now?
Alex: “I recorded two tunes last year and this year I’ll be releasing three songs with a band called ‘Willards’. There’s also so much happening in small bars and jazz clubs on a weekly basis that people should look out for.”
Adri: “I’ll soon be working on a new album but at the moment I’m regularly performing very Wednesday at Black Note Club and post about my new projects on Facebook under ‘Adri Castellanos’. The next blues gig at Black Note Club is also coming up soon on 21 December.”
Rory: “I’ve been working on a load of new music during my time in Valencia so far and my first release is coming out on January 19th. Its inspirations come from bossa nova music and it’s the song I’m most pleased with to date in terms of the production side of things. I post about my music on ‘rory_sturgeon’ on Instagram.”
Interview by Mia Raja
Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’
Photo ‘Alex Finardi’ at Black Note Club
BLACK NOTE CLUB
C/ de Polo y Peyrolón, 15,
46021 València, Valencia
Phone: 619 39 46 65