AN INTERVIEW WITH LINDSEY TROY OF DEAP VALLY
By Madison Killian
Photo by Hella Whittenberg
Hailing from Los Angeles- Deap Vally is a contemporary rock ‘n roll band comprised of just two members: Lindsey Troy (vocals, guitar) and Julie Edwards (drums.) The band have a full length record behind them and are getting ready to release their sophomore. Lindsey chatted with Sucker about the new record, working with Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and how Deap Vally wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for knitting (no, really.)
Sucker: How long have you two known each other?
Deap Vally: Well.. What is today? *laughs* We met 5 years ago.
Sucker: What made the two of you start a band?
DV: Julie used to own a knitting store in our neighborhood. I went in there to take a crochet lesson, she used to teach classes. We ended up having this really intense connection, and I started going into the shop a lot. We were both wanting to do something new with our musical careers. Before that I had been doing a lot of solo stuff and Julie had been in another band called Pity Party. Pity Party’s a really fantastic band- but they were kind of at a standstill. There was just a lot of synergy between us and we ended up deciding to start a band. It was originally meant to be a three piece with this really awesome bass player Ashley. We jammed with her one time, it was really cool and we wrote a song. But she was really busy as a pro, she tours with big people like Cee-Lo Green. She was really busy so Julie and I started getting together and… the rest is history.
Photo by Shelby Duncan
Sucker: What made you and Julie realize you were going to work well together?
DV: We talked about our love of Elliott Smith and Leonard Cohen, but it was really just more a personality thing, you know? There was something about our personalities that really settled with each other. I hadn’t met a lot of people like her in L.A., she was very unpretentious and very blunt and really interesting. She was also really interested in hearing about my life and history, and my musical past. I wasn’t that used to people being so interested in me, because everyone is so interested in themselves in L.A. At that point she was actually thinking about going to school to become a psychologist. She’s really fascinated with people. And I like to talk, she likes to listen. She’s just a really creative, intelligent person. I immediately had a friend crush on her. I was just like.. “I want to be friends with this person, she’s smart and cool and interesting.” I thought it was cool that she had been in this band for some years. I had this plan. I was like “I want to be in a band with this person.” I didn’t say anything to her though because sometimes I’m so forward I scare people off- so I tried to play it cool and let her bring up the idea. I was like… planting the seed. *laughs*
Sucker: Do you have any allies/ mentors in the music industry?
DV: We have a lot of female musical peers that we have camaraderie with. Like Peaches, Pretty Doll, Savages, Romy from the XX, we’re all friends and it’s really cool. At the beginning our mentor was Vincent Gallo. He was one of our first fans. He kind of took us under his wing and was really inspiring to us. Vincent was a very genuine fan and he gave us a lot of encouragement and wisdom. It was really good for us because it was stuff that we needed to hear- we needed that kind of encouragement at that point. That was our first kind of “mentor.”
Photo by Koury Angelo
Sucker: Bands you get compared to?
DV: At the beginning we got a lot of the duo comparisons: The White Stripes, The Black Keys. We would also get comparisons to a lot of classic rock bands which was cool, and some riot grrrl 90s bands as well. I would say the weirdest comparison… I don’t want to say anyone’s name, we got compared to another contemporary female “sort of” rocker chick- but I don’t really see anything in common. I think it was just that this person didn’t really know that much about the genre. That one was just bizarre to me.
Sucker: What was your first musical endeavor?
DV: It was in my childhood. I was taking piano lessons starting at the age of 4 and I would do recitals- my brother and sister played as well. I was a real ham-bone *laughs* always singing and being very theatrical, very show off-y. At these recitals I started to sing while I played piano and my teacher was like “nobody’s ever done that before but.. sure!” I performed that Michael Jackson song from Free Willy, I was probably like 6 years old, and that was the beginning of my singing and performing career. Throughout my childhood I would perform with my sister and brother, I was kind of in a family band. I just come from a very musical family. I did that for many years, and when I got older I did a bunch of solo stuff. I really wanted to have a proper rock n roll band but I had never found the right partner. I mean, my sister and I worked really well together but I missed LA, and we both had to grow up into our own things. I hadn’t found the right person to collaborate with until I met Julie, and then it was just instant. It’s one of those really great pairings that you can’t really explain.
Sucker: Have you noticed your own taste in music changing/ sound of your own music changing as you’ve gotten older?
DV: I mean, of course. That would be so weird if it didn’t. When I was like 11 years old… I was obsessed with Jewel. I used to perform and sing all of her songs. I would say my taste in music has definitely changed. But then again, at that time I was also inspired by Hole and people like that. Music tastes are always changing. You have to grow as an artist.
Sucker: What was working with Nick Zinner (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) on your new record like?
DV: Incredible. He’s an amazing person and a dear friend of mine now. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are one of my favorite bands. I saw them perform in San Diego when I was a teenager. It was one of the most inspiring shows of my life. Karen O just blew me away. She was so unhinged and on fire and so inspiring, it made a big impression on me. The record Fever To Tell also left a big impression on me. We played a couple shows with them several years ago, and that was a total dream come true. They were such rad, lovely people, and Nick and I hit it off and kept a friendship going after that. He said that if we ever needed help recording something, that he would love to help. So when we started thinking about making a second record, and we were starting to record stuff, that came to mind. I reached out to him about it, and we started working with him. It felt like a dream come true moment. It’s somebody that I’ve looked up to for years and getting to collaborate with him musically- I learned so much from him. Nick, Julie, and I went out to a studio called Sonic Ranch out in Texas- which is like a mile from Juarez, Mexico. It’s this beautiful, beautiful studio. We were out there for about a week and it was so surreal being there. Nick wanted to challenge us, and he had us write kind of on the spot. He was just in the other room, listening. It was scary, kind of, and sort of embarrassing. It’s horrible to write in front of someone. We had to step up to the plate and be pro about it. It was a really cool challenge for us and we realized that we could definitely just write stuff very quickly- put under pressure we could be prolific. It was really cool. It was really good for us, I think. The record is great, I’m so happy with it.
Photo by Bryan Sheffield
Sucker: Besides the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, what were some other live performances that inspired you?
DV: That show, and seeing Peaches when I was 19. I also went to Coachella a lot when I was younger and I would push my way up to the very front and stay there all day- get the primo spot. I saw Nine Inch Nails that way about 11 years ago, and that really blew me away. It was so raw. It left a really big impression on me.
Sucker: Favorite music genres? (besides rock)
DV: I’m into organic music. I don’t listen to a lot of stuff that’s electronic influenced, there are a couple exceptions. I tend to like a lot of older stuff- like old blues, and old folk music. Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone. But I also like really fun, rhythmic, groovy stuff as well. It doesn’t really matter about genre I guess. Just something that feels true and very human, not digital. I really love the Bee Gees. I love stuff like that, like really incredible idiosyncratic voices. The Bee Gees- their voices are just mind blowing to me.
Sucker: Besides other music, where do you find inspiration?
DV: It’s pretty across the board. I’m actually watching Nymphomaniac right now. Have you seen it?
Sucker: I haven’t yet… It’s on my Netflix queue though.
DV: It’s pretty intense. But yeah, all kinds of things can be inspiring. Books, movies, travelling, conversations.
Sucker: What’s your favorite place to travel to?
DV: Italy. We’ve been there several times on tour and it’s just… my absolute favorite. It’s so cool there.
Photo by Sharlene Durfey
Sucker: After the new album gets released, what’s next?
DV: Lots of touring, and a third record. I can’t wait to write the third record honestly. I love being in the studio writing. It’s so much fun.
There you have it. Knitting, family bands, psychology… If you still haven’t become completely obsessed with Deap Vally… Please enjoy their music video for Royal Jelly (feat. Georgia May Jagger)