As it turns out the former members of the punk band Midtown are still involved in music. Gabe Sabota of course has his band Cobra Starship, but Rob Hitt, the former drummer of Midtown, has a label and his first real 'gem' signing is the band Valencia. Hitt has been instrumental in the band's success and their transformation from independent pop punk band to the major label act that they've become- a major label band that could grow into Columbia's next big thing in the alternative genre.
After coming together from different projects, Valencia started out playing in the local Pennsylvania scene pretty heavily, and sending out their demos to several labels. One of the places that the demo wound up was on Hitt’s desk, and he immediately got in touch with the band.
"Rob was actually the one that got back to us, and he was super-stoked,” drummer Maxim Lawson told Alternative Addiction. “We just couldn't believe that we were actually talking to someone from Midtown (laughs), so we inked the deal with him, and the rest is kind of history.”
Valencia's debut album, This Could Be a Possibility, was released on I SURRENDER Records in late 2005, and was everything that a debut independent album should be. It wasn't over produced, the general instrumentation was really unique, and it showed Valencia's potential to be something bigger than they were.
"A lot of people have kind of viewed it as a growing up classic. Because they always know where they were when they first listened to our album. Which is weird, because we didn't really have an idea of writing songs, we just wrote songs in the vein of bands we liked," explained Lawson.
After the success that the band gained from working with Rob Hitt on I Surrender, Sony/Columbia came to the table really excited about the band. They signed them to a deal and financed Valencia's major label debut We All Need a Reason to Believe. A pop punk album that was produced by Arriele Arikshad, and an album that stands out from almost everything to come out in the genre for the past two years.
"There were lots of bands coming out in 2006 at the end of the year and they all kind of sounded the same to us. We wanted to steer away from that, but not too far away from that because that's where our fan base comes from,” Said Lawson. So instead of the polished, perfect, pop-punk that so many bands are releasing these days, Valencia tapped the grittiness of Arikshad’s production to create a product is one that reviewers and fans can both get into. So much so that last year Alternative Press named them a band to watch for 2009.
So what's next for Valencia? They're out on the road with their 'Say No to Neon Tour" where they're out with Houston Calling and Artist Vs. Poet while working to pick up some radio play in mid-2009. Regardless, Valencia is a band that Alternative Addiction fans need to be aware of. Yes they're similar to lots of other bands that have come out before, but they're gritty and artistically conscience enough to separate themselves from the pack.