Craft Spells

Justin Vallesteros just needed to get away. The San Francisco native and creator of Craft Spells emerged from his escape to the San Joaquin Valley with a single a couple months ago foretelling the release of his first collection of new tracks since 2012’s Gallery. The new album, Nausea, is ethereal and spacious, residing in the purgatory between a corporeal reality and the dizzy space of a wandering mind.

Here, Vallesteros talks to us about the new album, dropping June 10 via Captured Tracks, self-reflection, and moving forward.

The Bay Bridged: You took a little break between Gallery and Nausea when you moved to Lathrop. What did you keep busy doing during that time?

Justin Vallesteros: ​I spent most of my time reading and hanging out with my friends in Stockton. My parents live by a quiet suburban park where I would skateboard to at like 4am and listen to whatever I demo’d that day.

Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind the new album?

​I couldn’t find the right atmosphere while recording in San Francisco. I moved my whole studio to my parents’ house where it was very bleak and away from distractions. I created a whole different reality for myself in these new songs; I grew really attached to them. I enjoyed stepping into that world and found myself partly in my dreamscape and the reality living in San Francisco where my life was over saturated. Being in limbo with the two caused me to have a very nauseating experience that was bittersweet.

In the release it mentions a bit about the album being spurned as a reaction to disillusionment from our generation’s obsession with social media. Can you speak a little bit to that, especially as it relates to the title track?

In a generation where there is an abundance of web articles that help shape humanity brings out a lot of self-reflection. I don’t particularly like being told how to live my life every day logging into Whatever website or forum. I unplugged from everything and took my time with everything and learned how to be alone without being dependent of synthetic friendships. It was great to take the time to respect everything. Things are so easily made into memes these days and hardly ever taken seriously, I wanted to heighten my senses and escape the over saturation of things.

How has Craft Spells evolved since 2010’s Idle Labor?

​I wrote most of the songs on piano without touching a guitar. Also, the production value is a bit better. Went into several studios in Seattle to produce the album.

What’s coming up next for Craft Spells?

​Were gearing up for a lot of touring. I’m also working on a lot of solo compositions for the piano, thinking of putting it out by myself.