Eric Val, 25, of Watsontown, is preparing for the upcoming release of his EP, "Three Year Struggle," this summer. Around age 14 or 15, Val began sharpening his music skills with guitar lessons, but music was something that had been part of his life since he was young. Val describes his father always sharing music like Guns 'N Roses, AC/DC and Pearl Jam, bands that to this day have been an inspiration for him.Today, Val cites bands like Sevendust, Shinedown, Seether and Stone Sour as his biggest influences. Val said, "I'll never forget the first time I heard Shinedown's debut single, 'Fly From The Inside.' ... I remember being astounded at the power and passion of how he sang it and the message coming through. I knew from then on, without a doubt, what I wanted to do with the rest of my life."After divorcing, Val's mother moved him and his family to Anaconda, Mont., where he lived until high school.
After a sports injury during high school, Val was able to focus a lot more time on his music, and to this day, it still is his full-time hobby. After high school graduation, he came back to Pennsylvania. Val tried warehouse jobs, eventually going to school for heavy equipment operation and finding a job. He was then able to further his music, buying equipment and starting vocal lessons.
Through his vocal coach, Suzanne Fedele, Val was able to utilize the extensive contacts that Fedele had. From there, he began working with producers Rich Rupert and Joseph Hauserman, who record out of Green Valley in Hughesville. Hauserman was a keyboard player for Tommy Cash, Johnny Cash's brother. Val also credits friend Alex Boyce as a big part in his musical career.
"He has been a big part in my music and everything else associated with it. Without him, I wouldn't be where I'm at today," Val said.
For his upcoming release this summer, Val said "Three Year Struggle" is a very diverse record. "It has everything from heavy stuff to laid back, very classical, and then a 7-minute power ballad. There's also acoustic tribal songs. There's something for everybody."
Val also boasts an impressive musical lineage, recently discovering that he is the ninth cousin of Elvis Presley.
Val said his favorite part of recording is tracking the vocals. "I try and get as much stuff prepared before I record. I get the melody line in good shape, and then I go in and do it," he said.
"I can't write when I'm happy, it's kind of my therapy. My songs come to me differently, sometimes I write chords and then go from there. Sometimes I start with the lyrics," he said.
Val likes to describe his style as, "diverse music with a hard rock edge." He said, "It's very vague, but it doesn't pigeon hole me into a certain genre. it's gives me room to do what I want."