From the very first moment, I instantly connect to the vulnerability and honesty of Ayleen Valentine’s new EP, tonight i don’t exist. So immediately, I run to my email to have the possibility to interview her and hopefully introduce her music to new people.
I hope you enjoy the interview.
Ayleen Valentine, thank you so much for answering our questions and congratulations on your superb new EP, tonight i don’t exist (June 17th, 2022). Could you please describe yourself to everyone discovering you through this interview?
I am a 21 year old person trying to find meaning in my place in the world. i enjoy doing making things & processing my thoughts and feelings. i am quiet and reserved most of the time and im on a journey coming out of my shell.
tonight i don’t exist is the result of a couple of significant changes in your life. How did these new songs help you understand your feelings during that shifting time? Did you approach it differently from your previous projects?
Writing these songs felt like i was trying to communicate with my subconscious. usually, i just mumble over beats i make and then words begin to piece together like a puzzle until i have the final product. then i can finally see what i was trying to say all along. it’s like the things i repress are trying to swim to the surface and introduce themselves to me. i started to make this project after dropping out of college. i had a lot of free time because i didn’t have the stresses of homework and classes so this approach in itself was very different from previous projects because of the actual time i had to create.
Except for “why do i do that” & “nothing” that you created along with Steven Shapiro, you wrote and produced the rest of the EP on your own. What inspired you to take control of your creativity and learn how to produce? What was the biggest challenge that you encountered during that learning process?
I was tired of waiting on other people and deep down i knew i could do it on my own. id say the biggest challenge is tuning out what other people think is cool, and just making what you think is cool. it sounds simple but i feel like in the beginning i was making music with other peoples opinions in mind and to this day that still happens sometimes but i’ve gotten way better at listening to myself.
Artwork Photo by Abner Dennis
“i don’t wanna say goodbye” (June 4th, 2021) was the song that we could say lighted up your musical journey into new horizons. Could you please tell us about that track and when you decided to pursue a music career?
IDWSG started to do well when i was visiting LA for the first time. i always felt like i didn’t belong in college and when this song started to get peoples attention it was an excuse to drop out and chase a gut feeling i had.
What are your expectations with the release of tonight I don’t exist and the future to come?
My expectations change on a day to day basis, but ultimately i’m just trying not to have any. expectations have always put a lot of pressure and sadness onto me. i’m trying to go with the flow and not overthink it too much.
If could you highlight a lyric from any of the tracks included on tonight I don’t exist; which one would it be? Which one of the songs was the most difficult to write?
“Hours are empty, i’m only killing time” (i am a ghost). to me this lyric represents the feeling of emptiness and floating around through your life, like a ghost. almost like you’re not really existing and you’re just here to kill time.
The hardest song to write was “heaven. this track is very personal to me and while writing it i had to take a lot of breaks because id get overwhelmed. it felt like i was directly speaking to my dad, who passed away a few years ago. the emotional strain was the hardest part.
One dream collaboration? And one song that you would have loved to write?
I’d kill to sit down and write a song with Thom Yorke. he’s one of my biggest influences for sure.
At this current moment i’ve been obsessed with “Instant crush” by Daft Punk (feat. Julian Casablancas). i lovee the way the melody & lyrics melt into the production of the song. i just think the lyrics are so poetic and beautiful. i wouldn’t say i wish i wrote it, because it wouldn’t be the same, but i have a huge respect for that song.
If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
Puberty 2 by Mitski
And the last question. What’s the most important thing you’d like to tell people about yourself and your music?
Putting myself out there musically and socially is very hard for me. i don’t have the confidence or belief in myself like a lot of successful musicians have. i doubt myself often. this explains why i have trouble pushing myself online and even in real life. it’s something i’ve been working on improving but it doesn’t happen naturally for me. i have a hard time going through DMs and reading messages people send me because i think they’re lying. i think it’s important to be transparent about this because i want to show people where i currently am in life and to be patient and accepting of that.