Val Martino is the one-woman noise/beats/electronic/psychedelic act UNICORN HARD-ON. She has also toured as a member of the Laundry Room Squelchers, Gang Wizard, and done collaborative recordings and performances with Leslie Keffer. Though for the most part she's been operating under the radar (so far!), Unicorn Hard-On has had a significant influence on the underground weirdo/noise/experimental scene. If you connect the dots, you start to find that an awfully large number of movers and shakers have seen or played with, and fallen in love with, Unicorn Hard-On. For several years Val has been sticking to her personal style and following her unique vision - and wherever I travel it seems I'm witnessing storms that started with her butterfly wingbeats.
Val was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about her music and share some tracks with all of you.
When you first started making music as Unicorn Hard-On, what was the intention and what gear did you start out with?
Has that changed any between that time and now?
You often play in the "noise" scene. How is Unicorn Hard-On received at noise shows?
You've moved around a lot and recently returned to Nashville. Is that the best place to live? Why or why not?
Most of your stuff has been self-released or put out by friends. (I think) Have any bigger labels been after you to do releases? Would you consider that or are you happy putting things out as you have been?
You've done some collaboration with Leslie Keffer before. Will you be doing any more stuff together?
I happen to know you like some pop music. Does that influence Unicorn Hard-On? Would you ever try making some straight-up pop music yourself?
Where is the strangest place you've played a show?
What is the most rewarding part of making and playing the music you do?
Am I right that you started getting involved in music when you lived in Richmond? What is your take on the scene there between then and now?
What releases and/or shows are coming up next?
A couple of people shared the following praise for Val and Unicorn Hard-On:
"I discovered Val's work in 2006 and totally fell in love with it. I view Unicorn Hard-On as being one of the first projects in a line of many who started mutating the contemporary noise scene into a more rhythm oriented and club influenced community. Val has definitely always been ahead of the curve."
- Jonathan Coward (SHAMS)
"she makes the best cupcakes and beer coozies."
- Leslie Keffer
Check out the following MP3s:
Unicorn Hard-On "Your Many Furry Features" (MP3)
And you will definitely want to visit Val's blog, which covers not only her own stuff, but also documents lots of other excellent music: http://www.tangledhares.com
Unicorn Hard-On on last.fm: http://www.last.fm/music/Unicorn+Hard-On