In The Valley Below: Irresistible Synth Pop for Even the Most Jaded Indie Fan


What's life like lately? Have you been working on more songs? Have you been playing a lot of shows? Has it been insanely hectic?

It's actually all of the above. It's hectic because we've been working on a lot of new songs and playing a lot of shows, so it's pretty much a crazy nonstop adventure. We're prepping a bunch of other songs; maybe just writing as much as possible so we have a lot of stuff to choose from for a full-length that will hopefully be coming out later this fall. But also playing a bunch of shows just to get the experience under our belt as well.

Will this be the longest time on the road? Or have you toured for a prolonged amount of time before?

No, we did a couple weeks in December in the East Coast with Mates of State, which was really fun. But, yeah, that's been the biggest thing we've done with this band so far, so this will be a really fun trip to do.

It might be safe to say you're making music for the love of art, while other upcoming bands might have a mission just to be a relevant indie buzz band. Aside from the music, what sets you apart? And what are some of your struggles as an artist?

[pauses]Yeah, I think the struggle artistically is a constant struggle, to make the best part of music that you can. It's not so subtle. It's frustrating. Some songs happen really immediately and organically and show up just ready to go. And others, you have to drag 'em down, kicking and screaming. You know, it's a fight. But at the end of the day, you have to put in the work -- because it is a job, in that you have to put in the effort or you're not gonna get anything from it. So, that's the struggle, but it's a part of why we all do it. Deep down, we all love that struggle, even though it's a pain in the ass sometimes.

Slave to your art.

I mean, you know, it sounds cliché to be an artist or something, but it is a part of the creative process, and you just have to try to stay in that creative headspace because it's easy to get thrown out of that if you pay too much attention to celebrity news and gossip and the 24-hour news cycle. There's a lot of distractions that takes time away from whatever it is you want to do, [laughs] so that's a struggle, too. I try not to pay attention to that other stuff.

How would you describe your partnership with Angela? You've obviously played music and been in other bands before, but do you guys actually like each other?

[laughs] We have a complicated relationship, but we do like each other. We played in a few different various projects over the years and we're both transplants to L.A. So, over the years, we kinda circled each other for a while. It wasn't like an instant, "Hey, you and me. It was more, like, "Eh, all right. This might be cool." We both actually played in more of a proper rock band for a while -- she played bass and I just played guitar, and there was another singer.

But, yeah, we've done different things and tried different stuff musically. As I think you mentioned, it started as more of a side project. The fun was to see what we could come up with musically. We just said let's do something different then we've previously done before and try to stick together and see what happens.

You've been compared a lot to Beach House. It's definitely a good comparison to have, but does it bother you to be compared to other bands?

We're flattered. We love Beach House. I get the reference in that it's dreamy in a sense, and with [Angela's vocals], it's easy for people to put it in that box. But no, I don't get upset about people comparing us to other bands because everybody has to have some kind of reference point to kind of think about things. It all depends on who you're talking to. For instance, I was trying to explain our music to an older relative in my family, so he would have no idea in the world what Beach House would be, so it was really hard. I just said, "We're kind of like Fleetwood Mac, but new." Then they were like, "Oh, okay I get that." You know, there's male and female vocals, there are harmonies. Even though we sound nothing like Fleetwood Mac, it gave them something to hold on to. We're happy to have anyone asking about us so we're flattered. Most of the time I like to let the music do the talking.

In the Valley Below is scheduled to take part in New Times' Carnaval Eléctrico at Crescent Ballroom on Friday, March 8.

See also:

-Cold War Kids to Headline New Times' Carnaval Eléctrico at Crescent Ballroom
-New Times' Carnaval Eléctrico Expands With Wooden Indian, Diners, and Stan Devereaux & The Funky Suns


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Crescent Ballroom

308 N. 2nd Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

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