By Nicole Fitzgerald
When: Sunday, May 6
Punk princess Siobhan “Duvallstar” Du Vall is still waiting for her producer to schedule her into the studio.
A year later, you might think patience is beginning to wear thin. But when it’s Vince Jones, who is currently caught up in production with Morrissey of The Smiths fame, it’s worth the wait.
It’s not like she is sitting around idle. She has a West Coast U.S. tour planned for July, occasional gigs closer to home — including a show at this Sunday’s Punk Night, May 6 at Garfinkel’s — and when she isn’t settling into a new found sound discovered by a guitarist turned vocalist, she never tires from tearing open envelopes to find cheques inside for her music download royalties.
Even though her self-titled debut album Duvallstar is five years old, legal digital downloads for her music continue to grow, reaching 100,000 this month.
“I am really excited about the future of music,” Du Vall said from her home in Vancouver. “In the past, you could have never had that kind of sales without a major record label behind you. If they tracked these things, (my album would have been) a double gold record in Canada… These days it is really possible to be an indie artist and be commercially viable. I did zero on line promotion. It just happened organically.”
Organic evolution is a theme running in Du Vall’s career these days. The former guitarist for The Bomshells, Bif Naked and The Widows with Billy Hopeless, is discovering a new side of her pumped up punk rock power pop on her new album — a very vocal one.
Du Vall was always a guitarist who sang because she had to, not because she wanted to. However, over the past few years, she has come into her own sound and now can confidently call herself a singer.
“I am glad it happened organically,” she said of her new sound. “Some artists have vocal quirks that have been fabricated and they sound annoying. I might have more expressive quirks, but they came naturally. I wasn’t trying. My vocals are a little more raw, more real.”
New song content helped Du Vall tune into this new voice. Departing from her usual odes to love lost and found that make up past tracks, Du Vall began penning more story-driven lyrics based on topics of all kinds, giving her the freedom and encouragement to connect and emote with her music.
“The songs on my new record are like little stories about my life,” she said. “I picture those stories going in my head, which lets me be more emotive with the vocals.”
Life snippets span everything from her dreams of being La Femme Nikita with an espionage track called The Spying Song, to wandering the docks where the Marlon Brando movie Hoboken was shot in New York.
A visit to New York to hole herself up in a hotel room was what got the material for the new album flowing. Suffering from writer’s block, the departure from relationship songs and hometown familiarity got her creative juices flowing.
She partnered up with bass player Martyn LeNoble for the album. LeNoble played with Jane’s Addiction, Porno for Pyros and The Cult.
While her new album awaits a belated release date in September, Du Vall couldn’t be happier — everything is progressing organically, as it should.