interview + photos by Alex Lyon
HP: I’m here with Valley at Webster Hall in New York City, could you guys introduce yourselves?
Alex: I’m Alex.
Karah: and I’m Karah.
So you just set out on this tour with The Band Camino, how’s it going so far?
Alex: It’s going really well, this is show number 4 and we’ve made pretty good friends with the band and we’re having a fantastic time. The shows are going way better than we expected, not like we expected anything lower but, [the tour is] blowing everything we’ve done in the past out of the water, so it’s amazing.
Can you talk a little bit about the themes in your new record, Maybe Side B?
Karah: In Side B there’s a lot of continued themes that we talked about in Side A. We did write all of the entirety of Maybe at the same time pretty much, and then a year later we were like how are we going to release this sixteen song record? We were like let’s just split it up because consuming music is so different now. I think just some overarching themes are nostalgia, growing up and being a mid-twenty year old. Also, that color yellow when you’re driving and it goes to a yellow light and you don’t know whether you should stop or just gun it and go, and I think we wanted to, I know this sounds so artsy but, we wanted to capture that feeling of yellow and hesitation. It’s a very neutral color, like when you have a child and you don’t know if it’s male or female you’ll sometimes use the color yellow. We kind of just wanted to play around with that kind of thing.
Alex: Also just feeling like you maybe don’t belong to a large group of people. It’s social anxiety, it’s that it’s sometimes okay to not fit in with the social norm, that’s a big part of it as well, I think.
Yeah I totally get that. What’s your usual writing process like?
Karah: Either we do cowrites with people, which we love doing cause collaborating with people is really important to us, or, it’s a very much equal process. Sometimes one of the band members will come to our little basement studio and be like I made this song, whatever, and then we’ll just jump on it and usually finish it in that week, or sometimes a song like ‘Park Bench’ will take months, if not a year to finish. Just cause you get stumped… and you know when they design a car, they do it out of clay. I think it’s so cool that the finished product is in that lump of clay, it’s there. You just have to take away the pieces. That’s how I think of our songs, I feel like, again, this sounds so artsy, [these songs] already exist in the universe, and I mean, of course they do since there’s only twelve notes in the Western scale, they already exist. We just have to put the puzzle together, we’re really good at doing that, the four of us. We never really found other people that we gel so well with, and our best songs, I mean the ones that have done the best with streams and whatever, have been the ones that we’ve literally put in twenty-five percent [evenly between the four of us].
Alex: Yeah, and even the ones that we do co-write, for example we did a writing trip for Maybe that was a month long thing, half of it being in New York and half of it being in LA, what we came home with we kind of ripped apart and put back together as a band, as a four piece. We kind of re-found ourselves in those songs, that was really cool.
Do you want to talk a little more about Park Bench and how the video came about and where the concept came from?
Karah: Yeah, we really like this band called Half Alive, do you know that band?
Yeah, I got sort of that vibe from it, I’m into it!
Karah: Yeah, we discovered their videos- before that band we always wanted to do a choreographed music video or something. We just decided to do a dance video very ambitiously. We took dance lessons for a while, a week, two weeks. We learned the choreography and it was super stressful because none of us are really dancers by trade. I think we all have rhythm being musicians but we only did that music video in four takes and it was very stressful cause there were all these extras, like fifty extras, a crew, all these people just watching us. We’re not dancers by trade so it was pretty intimidating especially because we knew we had to do a full take and we had to nail it. There is one tiny little mistake in it that’ll always bother me but that’s okay.
You’re probably the only person that notices it though.
Karah: Yeah I know, I know. You’re always your worst critic. But yeah, the Park Bench music video was fun.
Alex: It was really fun to make. It’s unbelievable that it was made, obviously with quite a bit of leadup with the choreographing and stuff but that it was all filmed in one day. That still blows my mind.
It was executed really well!
Karah: Thanks, it turned out great. I love that music video and I was really happy with the outcome.
What are your biggest goals right now?
Karah: Write a bangin body of work. We don’t know if it’s an EP, album, singles, but, I mean obviously our goals change day to day. Our short term goal is to really like, just do the best we can on this tour and make a good impression on people and literally just enjoy [it]. I think because there’s so much leadup to a tour, and we’ve been in the process of changing our team, there’s been a lot of transitions and it’s been a little rocky, but now it’s like, we just get to enjoy being on the road, traveling, touring, hanging out, hanging out with The Band Camino, just really smelling the roses. Later on, our main goal is to write as best as we can.
Alex: We wanna not take two and a half years in between releases. We were very focused on touring our first EP we released and we weren’t necessarily stuck, we were in bit of a writing rut for a second. Once the floodgates opened for Maybe, it kind of just all came and it didn’t stop. Then we were struggling to put the paint brush down, that was two years in and we finally capped it and collected all the songs that we thought fit together the best, curated it and ended up with a fifteen song record. We’re gonna try and do something similar, but in a much much shorter period of time so we can better capture a moment in time for our next collection of songs.
Gotta respect the process though!
Alex: Oh yeah, for sure. It was our first label debut too, so it was also learning how to work with a record label and learning how to work with their creative team and that stuff, so it was great and it was a fantastic experience. I’m sure the second time around is gonna be even better.
What are you listening to right now?
Alex: Good question, a lot of different stuff. Recently, ‘Easier’ by 5 Seconds of Summer.
It’s a banger!
Alex: It is a banger yeah. It’s a really good song, and obviously Charlie Puth’s version as well because he wrote that one, and it’s a really bangin song.
Karah: Whenever someone asks me this question I’m like, who? I’m not gonna lie, we’ve all been bopping The Band Camino to it’s death. We’ve beat that EP to the grave.
Alex: Every day man, it’s so funny.
Karah: We’re into this band called Babygirl.
They’re so dope!
Karah: Babygirl? You know of them?
Yeah! I’m really into their last EP.
Karah: That’s like our religion, we love Babygirl. The new Rex [Orange County] song is really good. Listening to a lot of Lizzo, Parcels, I was listening to Parcels today. Honestly, this might be kinda lame, but I’ve been listening to a lot of really old P!nk.
Don’t be ashamed of that!
Karah: It’s so good. Just because I grew up listening to that, it was on Much Music, which is like the Canadian MTV. I just started singing it and I was thinking to myself, what song is this? And then I realized it was a P!nk song and went down a rabbit hole in the van the other day and I’m just like, heck yes. Old P!nk is so good. She’s such an icon.
She really is. Underrated, for sure.
Karah: Mickey, what music are you listening to?
Mickey: Right now? New Clairo album, new Conan Gray, I’ve been throwing it back to Backstreet Boys. I was listening to them the other day to get inspired.
Karah: *laughs* That’s probably enough people!
Definitely! What can your listeners expect from Side C?
Karah: I think it’s a lot less conventional. Side C is essentially just the deluxe version of Maybe. Side A and Side B are going to amalgamate on Spotify and when that happens, there won’t be Side A or Side B, there will just be the record, Maybe. There will be six songs added, three of the songs are just different arrangements of existing songs, but there’s three new tunes and we’re playing one of them tonight. We got a 2000’s throwback song, and we’ve got a pretty alternative rock song, and then a folk song. I would say it kind of hits the targets on classic Valley, which would be folk roots with an alternative rock/pop spin on it. But there’s some really interesting stuff on Side C.
Very cool, I’m sure everyone is super stoked to listen. Thank you so much!