Bobby Rodriguez and Joey Valdepena first met, briefly, in New York in the late ‘90s and they reconnected in LA in 2001 and thus their band, Fiction Company, was born. On their debut EP, Maps and Measures, Valdepena provides vocals and plays guitar, while Bobby plays keyboards and contributes back-up vocals.
Their work has previously appeared on the soundtrack to Blood and Chocolate (a cover of Billy Idol’s “Flesh for Fantasy”) and the Napoleon Dynamite soundtrack (“Design”), Grammy-nominated as Best Compilation Soundtrack Album in 2006.
Rodriguez and Valdepena wrote all the songs on Maps and Measures, though they recruited a wide range of LA-based musicians to contribute music to the album. These include guitarist/bassist Dan Horne, who co-wrote “Crystal Ship”; guitarist/producer Scott Ford, who worked with them on “Dark of the Day”; Boogie Jones, a long-time inspiration for the band, helping them to mold their sound over the years, here offering back-up vocals; Gregory Butler, who produced “In Your Head”; and Tom Radon, who plays drums on “Crystal Ship,” as well as having co-written that track.
Rodriguez says of the album’s title, “It’s where you are and where you’ve been. It’s a point of measurement with which you can gauge your progress. Or in this case, our progress.” They’ve both come a long way, personally and professionally, to produce this work. The album’s emotional high point is “Dark of the Day,” in which Valdepena’s lyrics reveal a poignant, personal back story: “I wrote the concept for ‘Dark of the Day’ very soon after my brother drowned last year. I remember feeling so empty, but thoughts of being with him made me happy. It was like I was ashamed to be happy because someone I loved was just gone all of a sudden. It was in June and it was sunny. The birds were singing and the flowers blooming. It was just dark at the same time.”
The band’s arresting and genuine lyrics are backed by an interesting, multi-textured sound—a result of their extensive, varied influences. While Rodriguez’s points of reference are The Mamas and the Papas, The Beatles, NWA and Elton John, Valdepena cites “Weird Al” Yankovic, Damon Albarn, Paul Simon and Belle and Sebastian. Fiction Company is its own unique creation, a true collaboration between two artistic soul mates.
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