In The Whale is a band that needs little introduction around Colorado, especially as of late. Included among the recent accomplishments of duo Nate Valdez and Eric Riley are a number of huge shows, including a set at Red Rocks for the Film on the Rocks, the main stage at the Westword Music Showcase, playing SXSW, performing with Local H, Middle Class Rut, and winning the Westword Award in the Rock/Alternative category. Earlier this year, the band signed to The Holy Underground, a management company that primarily deals with electronic and indie artists. “They are KILLING IT for us and that is helping us a ton,” explained Riley, “this has basically been our best year by a long shot.”
In addition to the major landmarks the band has already achieved this year, they have been writing new music, improving their live show, and working on a new three-song recording that will be released on 7’ vinyl and digital download in November. As always, they will continue to tour the region, playing shows nearly every week, often multiple times, at venues around the Colorado area.
Having played the Greeley Block Party every year since In The Whale began, they honor the tradition and will return to play September 6th. When asked about returning to the town that gave rise to their musical collaboration, the pair recalled several memories including near arrests for climbing on UNC property, burying bail money in a secret location on campus, suing a landlord for deposit money, noting that “all the REALLY good stories are an admission of guilt, so we’d rather not say.” While many of their memories are probably things they’d rather not repeat anytime soon, In The Whale consider Greeley their birthplace and much of the reason they have become the reputable act they are today.
“Some of the shittiest and best shows we’ve ever played have been in Greeley…. We’ve played to sold out crowds and to less than ten people. Greeley was the place that we really worked out who we were as a band… But honestly some the most memorable ones were the house parties,” concluded Riley. And although they attribute much of what they are to the local music and art scene, Greeley’s continuing growth in those areas owes just as much to In The Whale for their support and regular performances, despite having called Denver their home for some time now.
1. Favorite energy drink and why?
Eric: RedBull cause it tastes the best
Nate: Monster, ‘cause, fuck you
2. Worst thing you’ve ever had thrown at you on stage?
A full glass of beer…. excitedly
3. Favorite romantic place to take a date on a budget?
Olive Garden, cause we’re classy like that
4. & 5. Boxers or briefs. Where do you buy them?
Eric: Briefs from Target
Nate: Boxer-briefs from Wal-Mart
6. Most underrated pop star?
7. Most inconvenient time/place you’ve ever needed to drop a deuce?
Nate: During our set at Red Rocks
Eric: No comment
8. You’re each asked to form rock super groups, what famous musicians do you choose for your bands?
Nate: All of the members of Chickenfoot
Eric: All of the members of Damn Yankees
9. Chocolate or vanilla?
10. Prince or Michael Jackson?
Michael all the fucking way, Prince breaks guitars that don’t belong to him.
11. What is your biggest fear and why?
Eric: DEATH, cause I won’t exist anymore… and I love myself.
Nate: Zipping my dick up in my zipper.
12. At what point did you decide you wanted to play your respective instruments and why?
Nate: When my dad said, “don’t play guitar,” that’s when I knew…
Eric: I chose drums cause my lips were too big for the trumpet and percussion was my second choice.
13. If you could go back in time to any point in history where would you go?
Eric: I’m fine where I am. You get too far into the past as a black man and your ass will get lynched.
Nate: Prehistoric ages…. DINOSAURS!!!
14. Have you ever thought of each other as maybe more than friends and bandmates?
We’re totally best friends, no homo.
15. What, if anything, did you ask for for Christmas that Santa never brought you?
Nate: a Jurassic Park compound
16. Thoughts or opinions on the controversy surrounding Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” or Miley Cyrus at the VMAs?
The Blurred Lines video is hilarious. We didn’t watch the VMA’s. MTV has balls to host a music video awards show when they don’t even play music videos. Also, Miley Cyrus will never ever ever ever be sexy, no matter how hard she tries.
17. Female celebrity you are least attracted to?
Nate: Rosie O’Donnell
Eric: Sarah Jessica Parker
18. Male celebrity you are most attracted to?
Nate: Rosie O’Donnell
Eric: Ryan Gosling and his Mona Lisa smile.
19. Least favorite interview question?
Eric: How did you guys get your band name?
Nate: So, do you just hate bass players?
20. Biggest challenges finding your place in the Denver scene?
Figuring out when to say no.
21. What albums are you currently listening to?
“My Shit Shit Is Perfect” by Bob Log III
“…Like Clockwork” by Queens Of The Stone Age
“The Blackest Beautiful” by Letlive.
“American Love” by Bad Rabbits
22. What cartoon character would you compare each other to most?
Eric: Yosemite Sam
Nate: Cleveland Brown
23. Craziest thing that’s happened at one of your shows?
These rednecks booed us at Whiskey River and our female friend Alyse confronted them and got in their face. Shit almost got real.
24. Favorite thing to do when you’re not playing music?
Nate: trying to ruin Eric’s cooking
25.What are your thoughts on the royal family?
Kate Upton is hot
Photos by Rachel Waltman