Heartbreak usually connotes that terrible gut punch we feel when it all comes crashing down. But what about those months after, when your friends are tired of hearing you blab on about how so and so was jealous, always flirted with your friends and totally still texts you when they’re drunk? You know, those months when the pain lingers like a cavity flirting with the nerve. This is what Nevada native Sam Valdez croons about in her new single “Toothache”.
“It is about a relationship ending but it’s also about adapting and helping yourself.”
The video for the hazy, guitar driven dream-pop tune follows Valdez through her own exploration of Los Angeles. The city, now home base for the singer, represents isolation in a beautiful environment. She gets to indulge in the caricatures of LA, cruising with the top down through Palm tree lined streets and singing in pretty old houses that look like they belonged to movie stars… but she does all this alone. An unintentional parallel drawn from heartbreak and quarantine life.
We caught up with Sam to hear about her childhood in classical music and some other things that “haunt her”…
“Toothache” seems like it is about the stubborn, long lasting kind of heartbreak… Could you elaborate on the perspective you were writing from in this case?
Yes it is about a relationship ending but it’s also about adapting and helping yourself.
The video for “Toothache” follows you on multiple solitary journeys. A very quarantine kind of existence. Did the Covid life have anything to do with this feel?
No, we shot this before quarantine but it definitely is relatable now. I guess it’s exaggerating that loneliness you feel after leaving someone you love and spending all of this new time alone.
The video also celebrates California with shots of Palm tree lined streets and your hair floating with the wind coming over your convertible. As a Nevada desert native, how much of the California aesthetic do you embrace and how much of it feels like you’ve been dropped inside of the set of an 80’s buddy cop movie?
It actually feels way more natural for me in California than it ever did in Nevada. California is so beautiful so I wanted to outline the very specific LA scenic shots and show some change from what I used to be comforted by in Nevada.
When you write music, do you feel more inspired to make it fit into the expansive soundscape of the Nevada Desert? Or is the city now the pallet you are drawing from?
I don’t really think about location when writing. I just write in the most natural and honest way that I can. The style waivers sometimes but I think as my influences and interests change, the music is bound to change in ways too.
You were a child violinist. Usually a strict regimen of music eventually turns kids away for good. How did your childhood experience with the instrument lead to you wanting to pursue songwriting?
Violin was a very strict process of learning which made me want to quit more than once as a kid but I’m so glad I stuck with it. It taught me a lot of persistence and gave me an overall interest in music.
Songwriting feels way much more creative to me and violin always felt more technical so I don’t relate the two all that much.
Do you still use the instrument as a means to write songs?
No, I don’t use the violin for writing. I don’t play very often anymore, but when I do I always play a classical piece.
For the sake of manifestation, where are you dreaming to play once live music is a thing again?
I want to tour in Europe again, it was such a beautiful experience. I’d love to play anywhere I haven’t travelled to as well.
CONNECT WITH SAM VALDEZ
photos / courtesy of artist
story / Chris Hess