Canadian alt pop quartet Valley have been perfecting their craft. Their uplifting, immersive approach is undeniable and eye-catching, with their recent run of releases projecting the band into new found heights.
The four-piece, made up of Rob Laska, Mickey Brandolino, Alex Dimauro, and Karah James, are building up to the release of their sophomore album, entitled Lost In Translation. Set for release on 23rd June, we have so far been blessed with four tracks from the album: “Throwback Tears”, “Good, but not together”, “Break For You”, and – most recently – the incessant, introspective and emotive single “Have A Good Summer (Without Me)”. The melancholic anthem sees the band at their dazzling best, with stunning vocals and consuming instrumentation drawing the listener into the immersive soundscape.
2023 is proving a busy year on the road for the band; following the close of their majorly successful North American Lost In Translation Tour, which saw the act gain fans across the continent, the band once again head out shortly to Southeast Asia and Australia, where they will play a series of headline shows to fans on the other side of the globe. The Autumn sees the guys join Dermot Kennedy for his Canadian tour dates, the latest example of Valley’s star power and endless potential acclaim.
We connected with Karah James, the band’s drummmer and vocalist, to discuss their origins, finding their sound, their recent singles, and what to expect from their upcoming second album.
Listen to “Have A Good Summer (Without Me)”…
Read the exclusive interview…
Who and what inspires you to create?
My band mates ultimately inspire me to create because we can push each other.m to new limits. It’s hard to always be inspired, and there are periods where I’m not inspired at all, but if someone in the band has an idea then that often times sparks inspiration, we feed off of each other. We are also super inspired by a lot of movies like The Truman Show, Thelma and Louis, and Lady Bird and pull a lot of ideas from those films.
How did the band originate?
We were 2 separate bands both recording music after high school at a local studio. We ended up showing up at the same time due to being double booked and we really liked each others vibes and musical direction and soon after that formed a band. We later found out that, our favourite band Fleetwood Mac also met the same way after the 2 bands met at a studio in California and joined forces.
What is it about working with each other that brings the best out of your respective creativity?
I think a lot of the time it’s the chemistry that makes us friends before band mates. Ultimately we need to be able to access that deeper connection to each other to make great music together.
How did you find your sonic approach?
A lot of trial and error and being true to ourselves. Following the gut of what feels right to us, not following a trend or play it safe all the time. The 4 of are able to bring a unique flavour to the band with our backgrounds. Karah studied jazz drumming for several years , Rob and Alex were in a ton of indie rock bands growing up, and Mickey focusing on recording and production has made us pretty self sufficient in what we do, from the conception of the song to the recording process.
What would you describe as the essence of your style?
To be honest we’ve struggled with this a little as a band, as none of us were the coolest kids in high school or even now, we are pretty normal looking for the way we dress to the things we like. We thought early on that to be an artist you had to be crazy and look the part, but then we realized our thing might just be that we aren’t necessarily reinventing the wheel and being the most out there personalities, but we’re keeping it classy, and relatable, and have leaned into that ever since.
How are you feeling about your upcoming North American tour?
We are currently on tour right now, and it’s something we’ve been waiting for so long, it’s the single most exhausting and fulfilling we do as artists.
What show are you most excited to play?
LA will be fun because we sold out 2 nights in a place so far away from us. Our younger selves would be so proud. These are the good ole days, and e’re living it now, so that’s pretty surreal!!!
We loved “Good, but not together” – talk us through the meaning behind that tune?
Good but not together is a song about leaving someone or something behind that just didn’t work. And it’s not about resentment or worrying why it didn’t work but rather just accepting and being okay with not knowing why something that seems so good on paper just didn’t work in life.
Recent single “Break For You” is a special one! How did that song come about and what are you conveying with the track?
Break For You is about wanting to bend over backwards for someone and take their pain and their burden so they don’t have to bare it. We all have a situation in our lives where we wish we could be someone’s problem so we could be the solution too, but the hardest part about loving someone is that they are on their own journey, and we can be a support to them, but ultimately any suffering they have is theirs.
What can we expect from your upcoming album, Lost In Translation?
Diversity, new territory, personal, a story about how we are reconnecting with ourselves as adults and trying to bring the inner child with us.
How was your feeling about the release?
“Break For You”, is one of my favourite on the record so it’s a good feeling that other people can hear it now too. I remember hearing the demo of this song when Rob and Mickey wrote it and it just clicked immediately for me. The song is also super fun to play live and the crowds have been loving it so far!
How does the album differ from your debut LP?
MAYBE was a very conceptual subconscious stream of thoughts and feelings we had learning who we were as young adults. It’s so hard to transition from a teenage with structure to an adult where you can eat candy for dinner. Lost in Translation is about being farther along in that journey and having had learnt a lot of things about adult life, it’s also about trying to bring the kid that wrote MAYBE with us everywhere we go.
What has the creative process for the album been?
We honestly just write like 70 songs and then pick the best one. How we get those songs is different every time, but it’s usually a matter of throwing a bunch of paint and then taking away the parts that don’t serve it.
What else is to come from you?
We are super excited to be play Sonicbang in Thailand this summer, it will be our first time playing there! We will also be joining Dermot Kennedy on tour in the fall playing arenas across Canada!