Life After Valencia Shane Henderson toured around the world with his previous band. Beth Ann Downey learns about the musician's next adventure. When Philadelphia pop-punk band Valencia announced in October that it was taking an indefinite hiatus from recording and touring, frontman Shane Henderson had one clear message for fans - he’s not done yet. He wrote it in a statement right after the news broke and reinforced it while standing on the Electric Factory stage during the band’s farewell show in December. And from the novel that could be written about Valencia’s successes, failures and tragedies, Henderson is ready to live the next chapter - on his own terms. “I really can’t see myself doing anything other than playing music,” he says. “So, even though Valencia’s not really on tour right now or working as a band, I wanted to just keep going and give it another shot with the songs that I have because I’m really proud of them.” Those songs are penned under Henderson’s solo moniker, Promise of Redemption, which began as a side project and took off after a 2007 debut release, When The Flowers Bloom. The album’s somber, acoustic-based tracks were written and recorded as a tribute to Henderson’s former girlfriend, Dana Leigh Burrell, who died in a car crash in 2006. Though PoR started as a musical outlet to cope with his loss, Henderson says his new songs will really surprise people. “It’s going to be somewhat Shane Henderson performing in like Tom Petty-meets-Valencia Philadelphia in 2011. type of vibe,” he says. “There are somewhat rock songs, and then there are songs that are going to be just stripped-down acoustic.” Henderson has been in the studio since January, pulling from his list of musician friends to provide contributions - including drummers Will Noon of fun. (formerly of Straylight Run) and Jay McMillan from Jack’s Mannequin. “I’m just playing around with certain things musically in terms of instruments and styles and trying to mix in some things to see how far I can push it,” Henderson says. “When you’re in a band with four other guys who all want different things, it’s a lot of work to try and compromise on certain decisions. But for me, I can really take this wherever I want to take it, which is cool because I’ve never really had that opportunity.” He adds that Trevor Leonard, who played guitar with Valencia in its final months, has been supportive in the studio --not only helping with writing and recording but by lending an ear and a trusted opinion. “I rely on him to give me a fresh outlook because you can sort of get tunnel vision a lot of the time when it’s just you,” Henderson says. Henderson plans to bring Leonard and his band, The End of America, on the road as his touring band. PoR will be tour the U.K. in May. He hasn’t decided whether he’ll release his music himself or enlist the help of a label. He's been getting more into producing lately and he's interested in doing more commercial work (few know he wrote the song featured in the ad for MiO Liquid Water Enhancer). “I’m actually just kind of looking forward to the challenge of testing myself and pushing myself to work hard,” Henderson says. “It’s all the same challenge for any band. It’s really just a matter of getting your music into people’s hands, telling them what you’re all about and hoping that they latch on to it.” JUMPphilly.com
The Quarterly DIY
Your Band Needs Internet Skills Booking agents have a process. I’m no different. Upon opening an email, I quickly scan for a link to their ReverbNation page. I look for this first because the site offers bands – for free – a clean and easy-to-navigate profile that provides music, hometown, shows and links to web and social sites. I start the music and go back to read the email. Next stop: the Facebook page. Facebook is a remarkable tool for bands that, unfortunately, goes unutilized more often than not. It’s more than just a platform to announce shows. It’s a key piece to your marketing strategy. And with the exception of that one friend who still refuses to sign up for Facebook, everybody you know has a profile. What will they find should they visit your page? To start, is your profile ‘likable’? It’s mostly the singer-songwriter contingency who are guilty of this but having a profile that needs ‘friending’ is ANTHONY a huge turn-off for potential fans. And it prevents CAROTO you from having a music player or event listings. Compatibility is required for survival in today’s music widget market, which is why every ‘we can help bands, we’re experts’ company has an app for Facebook, ReverbNation, Twitter, YouTube, CD Baby, iTunes and a slew of others (that you just don’t need to bother with because they’re inefficient and will junk up your page) are all available for syncing. ReverbNation is my favorite because everything is available at a glance. It’s the column version of an actual ReverbNation page. A quick scroll down and I can see when and where you’re playing (most venues try to respect the unspoken radius clause). Don’t overlook the services provided by Facebook, most importantly the events listing. Some people discount its usefulness but I find it to be quite beneficial. By listing your show via the events tab, visitors have the option to share the link on their page as well. And if you choose to post the event automatically when you update your ReverbNation page, all of the other bands and their links will be included. Cross-promotion at its finest! People want information quickly. It’s easier to bore someone than it is to win them over. What do you sound like? Where are you playing? How can I keep in touch. Where can I buy your music? Win me over. Anthony Caroto founded Origivation, a Philly music magazine, in 2001. He sold off the magazine in 2006 and then bounced around the country before returning to Philadelphia in 2010. He now works at The Grape Room in Manayunk, doing a variety of tasks including promotion and booking.