Doug Rice, Stephanie Tupper of ARMED WITH VALOR discuss creation of band, time off to

Based out of Syracuse, Armed With Valor has seen a great amount of success in the short year that they have been performing together. As individual musicians, they are workhorse veterans that have been involved within the regional music game for years. The buzz in Upstate about this band is picking up on a daily basis. Fans of bands like In This Moment, Arch Enemy, and Walls of Jericho, will find much joy in what Armed with Valor is bringing to the table. I had a chance recently to talk to vocalist Stephanie Tupper and bassist, Doug Rice about the early origins of the band, and the promise of things to come.

Erik:  It has been a quick moving first year for the band, and things have gone extremely well for you. How did the band come together out of the ashes of your previous bands?

Doug – Well, it was last fall (2010) that the band I was in with Fred and Brad (Torment the Vein) started winding down. Our singer/2nd guitarist announced that he was leaving and we were basically finishing off the shows we had for the remainder of the year. By the time we got down to our last few shows, the three of us had pretty much decided that we were NOT going to continue on with that band.

Stephanie -My band (Amelia Is Dead) was going through something similar in that right around the time TTV called it quits, we basically lost our rhythm section. We played our last show in January with fill-ins, but then things just kind of started to fizzle out afterwards. I guess that was a few weeks into February.

Doug – By March, Armed with Valor had gotten a few songs together and had started discussing what we were going to do for a singer. A few days later, we had started hearing rumblings that Amelia had broken up, so I called Stephanie up immediately. Our bands had played a few shows together in the past  so we already had a bit of a working relationship. I basically just told her that we were doing something COMPLETELY different from our old band and wanted her to come check it out. Likewise, she also wanted to try something different from her previous project, so… we sent her a recording of one of the songs. She showed up 2 weeks later with some ideas and by the end of practice, that was that. Offered her to join right then and there and Armed with Valor was born. Spent a few months writing and hashing shit out and by July, we were just dying to get out and do it. Been going pretty much balls out ever since.

Erik:  Response to your EP has been really impressive in Upstate NY forums. Tell me about the recording process, and what you set out to achieve when entering the studio.

Doug : The CD idea more or less came just from the fact that we didn’t want to be out and about for long without a GOOD recording. That being said, we were also totally broke. I mean, we had all just gotten out of two serious regional bands at the time and without doing shows, we just didn’t have a lot of dough for the process. Luckily, my friend Matt Corey and I had been discussing doing some recording for a long time previous. I basically negotiated with him to see what he could do for us, discussed it with everyone and decided to do a 3 song demo/EP.

Stephanie – We all decided on 3 songs not just because of the money situation, but more to the point, we REALLY only had about 4 songs that we felt great about. We basically just took the 3 that best went together and went with those. Ironically, the three we used turned out to be our “lightest” songs. It wasn’t totally by design, it just kind of happened. Regardless, we had already been recording and re-recording stuff for months in Fred’s basement as we were writing, so we had already kind of been doing pre-production all that time. It was a pretty simple process. Matt was awesome to work with. Just went in and got it done. Tracked the three songs in three days.

Doug – Yeah, we think it turned out great. We talked with Matt a lot about what we wanted to do with it and how we wanted it to sound and he just nailed it. For a three song demo, we couldn’t be happier… especially considering that we hadn’t even played our first show at the time.

Erik: You are spreading out rather quickly within the scene. Tell me about the bands that have you played with, and the brotherhood you have formed with many of them? What impresses you most about the scene?

Doug – Yeah, we’ve tried to get back out and into a lot of the areas our old bands used to play frequently. We’ve tried to reconnect with some of the bands we used to play with in those previous projects.  Oddly in just the short time we were away, some of those bands didn’t even exist anymore… or they don’t quite jive with what THIS band is doing now. That being said, we haven’t had any problem making new friends.

Stephanie – Probably what impresses me most about the scene is it’s diversity. I mean, a lot of the bands do SIMILAR styles, but most of them find a way to make it their own somehow. That and the pure caliber of a lot of the bands out there is super high. There are some absolutely amazing young bands out in the area that play way above their years. On the other hand, you’ve got some real veterans out there that continually raise the bar and set an example.

Doug – We have had the good fortune to play with some awesome bands already in our short time out.  As I said, some of our friends we’ve been able to get hooked back up with are going strong. Nine Round, is one of those veteran type bands that really brings it. Cry to the Blind, is getting ready to release a new record and they’re sounding great. Then you’ve got, Neon Guillotine, out of Cortland. Young from both the band and individual standpoint, but immensely talented. Divot, a three piece out of Elmira, is really great. Razed in Hell, is extremely young, but one of the most promising bands in the area, I think. Bruce Campbell, Made in China, Walking With Titans… the list goes on and on.

Erik:  I understand that you are taking some time off in January and February, what do you have in the works during that time frame?

Stephanie – Uh, not too much. LOL. I think the most important thing is writing. Basically, since we got to the point where we started doing shows, we just haven’t found the time to be as focused in our writing process and making new music. We’re REALLY picky so it’s not easy.

Doug – Some bands can shit out a song in one sitting. I wish we could do that. I suppose on the positive side of it though, we’re really able to come up with stuff that sticks, I think. I mean, sometimes we catch ourselves and are like, “Are we overthinking this?”, but most of the time if we’re all digging it by the end we’d like to think that others will too.

Stephanie – Yeah, so writing and really just taking a little break. We’ve been going nonstop since July, so a recharging of the batteries doesn’t hurt either. We want to be even better when we come back out by the end of February.


Check out Armed with Valor-

-Erik Jensen

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