Interview: 'Loud, proud and sparkly' LA rockers Deap Vally

By Anjali RaguramanEvents - 14 August 2014 10:00 AM | Updated 17 August 2014

Interview: 'Loud, proud and sparkly' LA rockers Deap Vally

Nothing like having a quaint hobby to set you apart from most rockers. The two women of LA rock band Deap Vally may tear down the stage with their performances, but off it, they are more into putting things together with needles and yarn. 

Yes, that's right, they knit. Julie Edwards (drums) and Lindsey Troy (guitar) met each other in a crochet class. And as inSing learnt, the band that crochets together stays together. They are just as serious about their fulltime job: Armed with face-melting riffs, headbanging and sharing duties on vocals that are reminiscent of 1980s pop-rock band Heart, the stunning duo released their debut album ‘Sistrionix’ last year. Surprisingly, their world tour has given them extra downtime to, well, continue with the knitting.

Read on to find out what Edwards had to say before they play in Singapore on 22 August, as part of the 'Dr. Martens #Standforsomething presents Deap Vally' event. 

The spirit of rock ‘n’ roll is so much about rebellion and being unapologetic. What were you like as a child? Did you always know that you wanted to be a rock star?

I was shy around strangers, but I was a total ham around my family and friends. I wouldn't shut up. I was always singing and dancing and dressing up in crazy outfits. I've been playing music and performing since I was tiny, and I always knew that's what I'd do when I grew up. Courtney Love was one of my earliest idols, I always wanted to be like her.

cry baby
Deap Vally bring 70s glamour to modern day rock ‘n’ roll (Photo: Stevie Dacanay)

As one of a handful of females in rock ‘n’ roll (Warpaint, Savages, Karen O, etc) how important is it for you to represent the female voice in your music?

The intention was always to be a badass girl band, to represent the stronger side of being female. There are so many representations of the victimised female stereotype in the media and entertainment industry, and we wanted to represent the opposite of that in our own loud, proud, and sparkly way. We want to empower women and be role models for them, like the role models we had when we were young.

Is it hard being in a two-piece band, where there is little else to support you other than each other on stage? What happens if you two fight?

Neither of us has ever been in a bigger band, so we don't know what it's like to have more members, but there are perks to be being in a two-piece. For instance, there is no opportunity for one of us to be ganged up on or outnumbered, there is no possibility of cliques forming within the band. There is really no front person; it's a partnership, not a tyranny. All the credit and all the responsibility is split between us. That being said, the Deap Vally family is huge. We have a "more the merrier" philosophy. We love to take our friends along with us on the road and collaborate with our artiste friends as much as possible. As far as fighting goes, we just don't do it much. We try to keep things peaceful. I don't have much of a stomach for drama, so I avoid it at all costs.

You once jokingly called yourselves "The White Keys" and "The Black Stripes" in an interview (a play on the two American bands The White Stripes and The Black Keys). Are you sick of constant comparisons to other prolific rock ‘n’ roll duos?

Haha. Yeah, we said that in response to all the comparisons we've had. On the one hand, these comparisons are flattering – they are both very prolific and important bands. At a certain point though, yeah, it gets old and makes me realise we have a lot of work to do to carve out our own place in history.

What’s next for you after ‘Sistrionix’? 

We're currently writing and recording new stuff. It's terrifying and liberating and exhilarating.

You’ve played at everything from Coachella in the US to the Electric Ballroom in London. Which do you prefer – intimate club gigs or huge crowds at festivals?

It's apples and oranges. Festivals are so fun, it's like summer camp. You meet all these new people, you get to experience new beautiful places, and it's the best way to discover new bands. People at a festival are there to have a good time, they're on an adventure, so as a band, it's easy to tap into that energy. There is nothing like an epic, sweaty club show though, with people cramped like sardines in a tiny dark room, crowd-surfing and falling onto the stage. An experience like that is so intimate and special.

Which song gets the best reaction usually?

'End of the World' always inspires some epic headbanging and fist-pumping. 'Walk of Shame' seems to be an anthem that everyone can relate to. 'Six Feet Under' has so many peaks and valleys; that's usually the emotional climax of the show.

The track 'Six Feet Under' is the "emotional climax of the show", drummer Julie Edwards says

You’ve some rad '70s-style stage outfits (silver spandex, sequins and paisley). Where do you get them?

Some stuff is vintage, but most if it is custom-made for us by our friends Michelle Rose or Kittinhawk, with the occasional Motel Rocks (a vintage-inspired fashion label) piece thrown in there.

Do you still have time to crochet or knit while you’re touring? What’s your latest crochet project?

Time is all we have on tour! We spend many hours on our butts driving from city to city. Knitting and crochet helps keep us sane. I just finished my brother's Christmas project which was a knitted hat. It was seven months late. Oops! Right now I feel like I never want to knit another hat again because I've made so many Deap Vally hats over the last year. I think my next project will be a crocheted blanket or a knitted outfit for my nephew, definitely something with skinny yarn.

How do you psyche yourself up before going onstage?

We do some stretches, jump up and down a few times, sometimes chug a beer. I like to visualise being on stage right before we do, set an intention for our set, and we do a little mantra or pre-show ritual.

What do you want people to take from a Deap Vally show and what can we expect from your show in Singapore?

A transcendent experience. A rock 'n' roll baptism.

‘Dr. Martens presents Deap Vally’| Date: 22 August 2014 | Venue: Beep Studios, Level 2, Spring Singapore, 2 Bukit Merah Central | Time: 8pm-10.30pm, with opening act DJ Natalie Pixiedub