Gazelle Amber Valentine interviewed about Spirits of Place

Gazelle Amber Valentine of Jucifer Live by Hillarie Jason

Gazelle Amber Valentine is one half of sludge / doom / death metal two piece Jucifer, formed in Georgia, USA in 1993. For more than seventeen years Gazelle and her bandmate (and husband), drummer Edgar Livengood, have adopted a nomadic lifestyle. The pair live, tour, rehearse, and sometimes even record in their Winnebago, towing the literal wall of amplification Valentine utilises on stage in a trailer behind them. The duo describe this life as an endless tour, and they can easily find themselves playing live shows in twenty or more countries in a single year.

Jucifer’s music can be (and usually is) harsh, aggressive, and loud, but its subject matter and lyrical content are not necessarily what people might expect. 2008’s L’Autrichienne was a concept album based around the French Revolution accompanied by extensive historical notes, while 2013’s За Волгой для нас земли нет (“There is no land beyond The Volga”) dealt with the Soviet Union and WWII. Equally though, there is a strong sense of Americana embedded in much of Jucifer’s music and lyrics; dark folk sounds and sensibilities; finger-picked banjo and violin strings, and dissonant, melancholic melodies. Nowhere is this side of their work more apparent than in Gazelle’s solo album Devil’s Tower I, released in 2013.

All of this – the nomadic life, the artistry, the power and intelligence of her writing – made Gazelle Amber Valentine someone I was very keen to approach as a contributor to Spirits of Place. Her essay, entitled “I Have Trod Such Haunted Land”, ended up being the first in the book and remains one of my favourites. Even though her internet connection can be intermittent as she and Edgar continue their never ending tour, Gazelle was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about the book and her contribution to it.

Read the interview at dailygrail.com

Spirits of Place out now

Cover by Pye Parr

“What’s next for Spirits of Place?” is a question that was asked a lot after the event of the same name took place back in April. Now, at last, that question can be answered. Next comes Spirits of Place the book (formerly AKA #projectLOCI).

Published by Daily Grail Publishing, Spirits of Place is available NOW in various formats:

Stories are embedded in the world around us; in metal, in brick, in concrete, and in wood. In the very earth beneath our feet. Our history surrounds us and the tales we tell, true or otherwise, are always rooted in what has gone before. The spirits of place are the echoes of people, of events, of ideas which have become imprinted upon a location, for better or for worse. They are the genii loci of classical Roman religion, the disquieting atmosphere of a former battlefield, the comfort and familiarity of a childhood home.

Twelve authors take us on a journey; a tour of places where they themselves have encountered, and consulted with, these Spirits of Place.

Those twelve authors are:

Bryndís BjörgvinsdóttirVajra ChandrasekeraMaria J. Pérez CuervoWarren EllisAlan MooreSilvia Moreno-GarciaKristine Ong MuslimDr. Joanne Parker Mark PesceIain SinclairGazelle Amber ValentineDamien Williams.

The book is edited, curated, and introduced by me, John Reppion.

#projectLOCI – coming very soon

image by Pye Parr

#projectLOCI is something myself and Greg Taylor at Daily Grail have been working on for seven months now.

It’s a collection of writings by twelve incredible authors: Bryndís BjörgvinsdóttirVajra ChandrasekeraMaria J. Pérez CuervoWarren EllisAlan MooreSilvia Moreno-GarciaKristine Ong MuslimDr. Joanne Parker Mark PesceIain SinclairGazelle Amber ValentineDamien Williams.

It’s edited, curated, and introduced by me.

It’s a book about place and our relationship to it; how ideas and stories and events become embedded into locations. And how people interact with those places; how they change the way we look at and think about ourselves and others.

Pye Parr has done us an amazing cover, which you can see a fraction of above. More of that, and the book’s actual title, will be revealed in the next fortnight or so when it goes on sale.

Keep an eye out here, and on dailygrail.com, and prepare to get very excited.