Music Interviews

Q&A: Deap Vally

deapvally You wait years for a hyper-talented US alt-girl-group, and then two turn up at once. And for those that prefer things a little louder than Haim’s melodic fare, LA duo Deap Vally – comprised of Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards – offer a snarling, feisty alternative; rocking the kind of fuzzy guitar licks and attitude Jack White would be proud of.

Ahead of a string of UK headline shows, we caught up with Julie, who filled us in a little on exactly what the Deap Vally sound is all about.

musicOMH: A lot of comparisons have been made between you and The White Stripes in terms of your sound – do you still find it flattering or has it started to wear thin now?

Julie Edwards: It is a very flattering comparison.  We also get compared to the Black Keys quite a bit. We don’t mind the comparisons; we realize they are just there to create a reference point for people who are just getting to know us.

OMH: Both your single Gonna Make My Own Money and its video feel raw… wild… – do you try and give a sense of the energy of your live performances in your studio recordings?

JE: Absolutely. Capturing that live energy in our recordings is the main challenge.

OMH: The message behind the track feels empowering, a finger-up to girls who’ll marry for money – would you describe yourselves as feminists?

JE: I guess by nature we are feminists. However, Gonna Make My Own Money is not a diss on women who want to marry rich. It’s a finger-up to people who think that a woman has to marry rich to survive in the world.  Women should have the freedom to choose to do whatever they want– and if that’s marrying a rich man, so be it. The new feminism is all about allowing a woman total freedom to create herself however she wants, even if that means being a housewife. All is allowable. A woman has the right to choose her own identity!

OMH: And did End Of The World see you pushing in a similar or different direction? To us, it feels tighter, more focused…

JE: Well, each of our songs has a different flavour.  End Of The World is just different from Gonna Make My Own Money. And those two songs are different from our other songs. Ain’t Fair – the B side – for instance, is almost funky. We love to find as much musical diversity as we can within the limitations of drums, guitar, and two vocals.

OMH: The video for End Of The World throws up some pretty striking, raucous imagery – are the visuals always an important element for you guys as well?

JE: That video is actually a tour documentary. The directors came on tour with us to England for a couple weeks and got all of that footage. We actually broke into a construction site in Manchester and the cops came and ejected us!

OMH: With Haim currently doing the rounds as one of the hottest-tipped acts of 2013, does it feel encouraging to be part of a wider movement of strong, retro-influenced girl groups?

JE: It’s great to have Haim around. We’ve played shows with them in LA, and their mom was my brother’s art teacher in elementary school! Crazy! It makes the world feel really small, and makes this experience a lot more manageable having friends in the ranks.

OMH: Was signing to Island a big moment for you guys? Were they accommodating in terms of saying, say: ‘we love your sound as it is, you don’t need to change anything’?

JE: Island/ Communion are giving us a huge opportunity and the resources to realize our dreams.  We are incredibly fortunate to be working with them. However, we have to stand up for ourselves and what we are about, what we believe in, and our vision every step of the way. It is a constant battle to stay strong.

OMH: In terms of live shows, what have felt like the most satisfying gigs to date? Supporting Muse?

JE: Supporting Muse was amazing – the first time we played for such huge audiences. Another really fun show was when we played Rock En Seine festival in Paris. The audience was so energetic and interactive.  Those are the best kind.

OMH: Musically, what kinds of influences have gone into your material – the ingredients that make up the Deap Vally sound, if you will?

JE: Blues, classic rock, heavy riffs, bombast, funk, rhythm, Led Zeppelin, Sabbath.

OMH: There’s been a lot of talk recently about ‘guitar music’ as a whole making a proper comeback into the charts – do you feel this is something that needs to happen?

JE: There’s room for all kinds of music in the charts. We love rock ‘n’ roll because it is raw and real.  There’s no distance between the performer and the performance. It is authorial music performed by the people who created it, in all its idiosyncratic imperfection. It’s scary though that a generation of kids might only be used to hearing quantified drum tracks and auto-tuned vocals.  Where’s the fun (or humanity) in that?

Deap Vally’s new single Lies is out on 25 February 2013, with a UK tour running throughout February and March, including a show at London’s Dingwalls on 26 February.

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More on Deap Vally
Deap Vally – Femejism
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Q&A: Deap Vally
Deap Vally @ Tamesis Dock, London