Interview – Jon-Mikel Valudes of Valerian Sun Speaks On Releasing New Single and Video For, “Burnout” and More!



Valerian Sun released their debut single ‘All at Once’ during 2021. The three members (Jon-Mikel Valudes, Trey Alexander, James Wolpert) started writing, recording everything from scratch during their four-day studio sessions with Grammy-nominated record producers Grant McFarland and Carson Slovak.

The band’s very existence was meant to be. Their names and faces could even be familiar James Wolpert was a top-5 contestant on Season 5 of The Voice, Jon-Mikel Valudes was the founding drummer of FROM ASHES TO NEW and Trey Alexander is known in the world of guitar, winning Guitar Hero 2006 – a contest held by Guitar Player Magazine and voted on by legends like Steve Vai, Richie Kotzen and Steve Lukather.

We caught up with Jon-Mikel Valudes on release day of their single, “Burnout” (below) and got an in depth look into the band and how relativity easy it was for them to come together and form their music for the masses, even though the project was up in the air at first. They pulled all the stops and put their creativity to the test and thus, Valerian Sun was born. Take a look at our conversation below and see what he had to reveal to us!

Official Video for, “Burnout”

Toney Emmons (New Transcendence): Hi, Jon, congrats on the release of your new song and video, for, “Burnout “and your time for New Transcendence

Jon-Mikel Valudes (Valerian Sun): It’s honestly crazy you mention New Transcendence because when my publicist first mentioned it, I remember doing some stuff with them in the beginning of From Ashes To New

Toney Emmons (New Transcendence): That is right man, From Ashes To New did do some stuff with us back in the beginning. I believe it was 2004?

Jon-Mikel Valudes (Valerian Sun): Oh, it was actually 2014, that would have been crazy if we hit in 2004, like whoa! (Laughs)

Toney Emmons (New Transcendence): So what went into the song, “Burnout”, give me the behind the scenes rundown

Jon-Mikel Valudes (Valerian Sun): So this song was recorded on our second round in the studio. It’s the same theme with all the songs, we write them from scratch. We go in with no direction, no idea. It makes it challenging, because music is a language. If we all believe music is a language, We wanted to see how fluent we are at it. It was great working with James, and not only is it one thing to write a song from scratch but the way he reacts with different things is great with his vocals on top of it.

Toney Emmons (New Transcendence): How was it actually writing the track, “Burnout”?

Jon-Mikel Valudes (Valerian Sun): Believe it or not we had the instrumental first, like most artists do. And we were sitting around wondering, “what do we wanna write the lyrics about?” and it’s a pretty upbeat song, and we were all kinda burned out for awhile. We got really close to where we wanted to be as kids, you wanna make it a career and a result of that is partial burnout. So now that we are back together that was the them of this song.

Toney Emmons (New Transcendence): It goes without saying that I have to mention the Muse band sound in your tracks, are you aware of it? Are they an influence, I have called that a bit ago when I was first introduced to Valerian Sun

Jon-Mikel Valudes (Valerian Sun): You know! I’ve heard that a few times so far! Yeah I’ve listened to them and it’s quite flattering to hear. I was actually told by a buddy of mine told me that they’ve gotten ‘harder’ in the past years, so I’ll definitely have to check them out now!

Toney Emmons (New Transcendence): Now you worked with some great producers, how was that, working with those guys, cause they have an awesome reputation and repertoire.

Jon-Mikel Valudes (Valerian Sun): Those guys are sick. Carson and Grant, Man, I’ve known those guys since back to From Ashes to New. I’ve gotten a chance to see them work. And Grant, that man has to be, like some type of prodigy, he can play like 4 or 5 instruments and perfect pitch and can recognize notes by ear it’s literally borderline superhuman. Him and Carson are awesome and to have them 30 or so minutes away from me is a great privilege. It doesn’t always work that way.

Toney Emmons (New Transcendence): So a whole 4 Day stretch in the studio? I bet that was insane.

Jon-Mikel Valudes (Valerian Sun): It was insane because we had no idea was genre in the beginning,  started as a country but we decided on rock. We went in with zero. I was like “trust me this is gonna work, I have a feeling.” The 4 days we came out with two songs. One was, “All At Once” and the other isn’t released yet. It was the most bizarre, it was definitely  the most wild, creative experience that I’ve ever seen, it was wild.

Toney Emmons (New Transcendence): Well, Jon-Mikel I’ve enjoyed talking to you, it’s nice to know you were in a band I love and that you helped paved the way. I appreciate your time, and I hope we definitely talk again!

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