Julie Edwards and Lindsey Troy make up dynamic musical duo Deap Vally; they’re the most bad ass musicians (AND crocheters) you’ll ever meet, and I had a chance to catch up with them recently. Or, one of them; Julie filled me in via telephone about all things Deap Vally, plus other super important stuff, like whose face she’d like to see on US currency, and how to deal with hecklers like Marilyn Manson. SO, read up on all that below, and be sure to grab their debut EP Get Deap, which just dropped on Tuesday. Bonus? The band will roll through DC on May 3rd (TONIGHT) at RnR, and NYC on May 5th at Bowery Ballroom. #AMAZING Here we go:
So how was the show last night? You were in London, yeah?
Yeah, the show last night was just as good as can be; it was totally packed, people were crowd surfing, girls were riding on their boyfriends’ shoulders…these poor girls at the front of the stage were getting totally squished! People were losing their minds, and we were losing our minds, and it was just great!
That’s awesome! And it looks like you have the night off from performing at least, so do you have any plans? Or just rest?
We do; we’re actually going to do our first red carpet at the NME Awards. They have a fun tongue-in-cheek reader-based voting thing, and we’re not nominated for anything, we’re just going. But it should be fun! We’re going to be sitting at a table with The Killers.
That’s crazy! Have you met them before?
[Laughs] We actually have met them a couple of times really briefly.
Well that’s good, it won’t be totally weird.
Yeah, but I was really hoping to sit with Blur.
Bummer, that would’ve been good! Well, it’ll still be fun, though. And you’ll be in Europe for a while doing shows, yeah?
Yeah, we’re in Europe until the end of March; we’re touring with Mumford & Sons in March, and then we’re going to Australia. And then we’ll be in the States for a little while!
Australia sounds exciting!
I’ve heard so many good things about it and I’ve wanted to go for a really long time, so I’m really excited.
And you’re based in California when you’re not on tour, right? LA area?
Yeah, Los Angeles.
So is it true that you guys met in a crochet class?
That’s totally true! I was teaching crochet, and Lindsey came into my class.
And is that something you guys still do to pass the time on the road?
We do a lot of knitting right now. Not a lot of crocheting on the road for some reason, I’m not really sure why.
Interesting. So what was the moment that you guys decided to form a band and make it sound the way that it does?
Well, she was coming into the shop where I worked a lot so I saw her a bunch, and I’d been wanting to put together a girl group; I had another band for many years called The Pity Party, which was me and my best friend Mark (a two-piece band), and part of me always felt that I’d never prove some point to myself if I didn’t just do it with women. So I was finally at a stage in my life where I wanted to try to put it together, because I knew all these awesome women musicians in LA. And she kind of wandered into my life (after I’d already registered some domain name of a band name that we didn’t end up using), so I asked her if she wanted to jam. The very first time we jammed we had a bass player (my friend Ashley), too, and it went great! We kind of knew right away that we wanted it to be unapologetic and confrontational and groovy and sexy (Tina Turner was kind of a name that came up a lot)…have you ever seen the documentary about the music festival in Altamont? Gimme Shelter?
Haven’t seen the documentary but read a book about it a while ago.
Tina Turner’s performance is fucking insane. There’s a lot about that documentary that’s really striking (like obviously the stabbing and everything), but the thing that rises to the top of it all is Tina Turner’s performance; I’d never seen anything like it. She gives herself so completely, just totally unbridled. So that was a huge inspiration point for us, was Tina Turner and those muscular thighs of hers. Anyway, the next time we were going to jam, my friend Ashley wasn’t available (she kept not being available because she’s a great bassist and goes on tour with other bands), so finally Lindsey and I decided to just carry on without her and keep jamming, and it worked. We played our first show and the rest is history, I guess.
Right. And how long have you been playing music? Since you were a kid?
Yeah, as a kid I took piano lessons and a little violin (I wasn’t any good at it), and then in high school I started playing guitar. Then when I started my band The Pity Party with Mark, we rented an hourly rehearsal space that already had a drum kit and amps; we basically walked into the room and I just ran behind the drum kit, which is how I became a drummer. So there wasn’t a lot of premeditated thought that went into it, and I wasn’t doing it as a kid; I really only started doing it in my adult life, but I’ve been a performer since I was six, one way or another. And Lindsey started playing guitar when she was ten, and was doing the coffee house circuit in San Diego!
Honestly, I really feel like I could’ve been good at the drums, but my mom never let me play them. I could have been a PRODIGY by now, but I guess we’ll never know.
I mean, I’m not even a drum prodigy; I think anyone could be good at it, you know? There are places you could go and spend $30 for two hours, and be by yourself in a room with drums to figure out if you thought it was something you’d want to do. I’d say that anyone who’s curious should do that, because it’s low-commitment, you don’t have to buy a drum kit, it’s not in your house so it’s not noisy…
Right. Now, let’s talk about the EP a little bit; if you had to sum up the theme or vibe in five words or less, what do you think you’d say about it?
Heavy, humorous, groovy, conceptual, dirty.
Excellent. And if you were stranded on a desert island and all you could take with you was one of the songs, which would you bring?
I think I’d bring “Ain’t Fair.” It’s like the little B-side that could; I love that song.
Awesome. Now, do you have any plans to do a full-length anytime soon?
Yeah, we will have a full-length coming out in June! Super excited about that; it’s going to be called Sistrionix, which is a word that we made up, but it’s basically a conjunction of the words “sister” and “histrionics”. (It seemed fitting.)
Cool. Now, how does the writing process typically happen for you guys? Do you assign roles, or do you just kind of get together and jam?
We’ve done it any and every kind of way; sometimes we’d start jamming to a riff and record it on an iPhone and then see if any lyrics came to us, and then sometimes I’d just get behind the drums and she’d fiddle around on her guitar and a song would be born that way. We don’t really have a system, but in the end we just go with what feels right when we’re playing it together live.
Right. Okay, and now I’m going to ask you a couple of questions based very loosely on your song titles. The first one is for “Gonna Make My Own Money”, so if you could change the presidents’ faces on US currency to anyone else, who would it be?
Elliott Smith and my dad.
Awesome. I feel like I would make it be Blossom. Like Mayim Bialik as Blossom.
Amazing! You’re right, maybe I should pick women…let me see…
I mean, I think yours were solid choices, too.
[Laughs] No, but there’s gotta be…Fran Drescher and Beyonce.
Yeah! Both really good ones. Okay, the next one is for “End of the World”, and obviously the world did not end in December, but did you guys have any survival plans or strategies in place in case it did?
No, we definitely weren’t counting on it ending; we had too much that was about to happen. I keep a hand-chargeable flashlight in my house, but I live in LA where there are earthquakes, so that’s really more the point of that.
Totally. Now, you both seem pretty confident (especially when it comes to performing on stage) but do you have any pre-show rituals that you do every time?
We get nerves for some shows, yeah. We have a pre-show ritual that my dad actually gave to us! The first show he ever saw us play he asked if we did anything before we played; we said we didn’t, so he gave us a little thing to do that we do every night, and we change it up a little bit every time. But I don’t describe it because it’s a thing that we do together, it’s kind of sacred. But we do have a thing! And we definitely get nerves.
Well it seems like people respond super well to your stuff, but do you get hecklers?
Oh yeah. “Take your top off!” “I’ll give you MY stick!” It’s kind of amazing that in the context of how hard we’re working on stage there are men who will still just boil it down to that. But that’s okay; it’s not like we weren’t expecting that. In fact, Marilyn Manson heckled us during our whole second show ever, which was at this tiny venue and he was sitting there, right in front of the stage heckling us the entire time. So that was kind of trial-by-fire.
We kind of like it. We talk shit back to them.
Well that’s good! So what would your advice be to anyone who’s having a similar experience? Just throw it back at them?
Yeah, allow them to experience what they’re making you experience, I guess. Make them take what they dish out.