Blues rock & roll is largely a boys’ domain – on the surface of it at least. Lindsey Troy (howls) and Julie Edwards (beats), a couple of valley girls with a more of penchant for serious crocheting than hard-drinking might not be cookie cutter but their band Deap Vally, are here to kick things up a notch or two and offer more to the services of the denim cut-off than Daisy Duke ever did.
We spoke to Julie and Lindsey on a sunny LA morning and despite it being only 11am, they delivered fistfuls of spirit, unwavering self-belief, tons of talent and some interesting ideas on knitting. When they said they were bad ass they weren’t lying…
Deap Vally are creating a lot of buzz and excitement right now – how are you dealing with the pressure?
Julie: Deap Vally is just not a band that feels pressure. It’s not our vibe really. We just do what we do. But it feels good, it feels great!
Lindsey: Yeah, it’s good! It’s good pressure, pressure to be awesome…And we are awesome
You cite one of your inspirations as Thelma and Louise – can you see yourselves in those characters?
L: (Laughs. A lot) Yeah! For sure. They’re just 2 bad ass girls who don’t take shit and they wanna have a good time and that’s like us
Do you feel like you still have to take a lot of sh*t then? Do you feel you’re still playing against type and fighting stereotypes being a female band?
J: Not a lot but a little bit. I mean, we fill out the stereotype of a woman, you know, but then we catch men off guard. So if we ever load into a club and some guy’s like “Oh look at these 2 hot pieces of ass, I bet they have a passable ability to play” then at least we can show them that actually we’re pretty fucking serious about it
Some men do have that angle and I noticed internet reactions to you have been a little sexualised and creepy – do you mind that?
J: I feel like it’s just stupid. That’s just some weird coping mechanism of a guy who’s intimidated by us to just be like (adopts knucklehead voice) “Oh I really wanna bone those babes”, as if that’s all that’s happening. But it does come with the territory; I think we were both expecting some creeps. We’ve got a song about that actually, called ‘Creep Life’. But I think everyone’s been really lovely, even the creeps- They’ve been really supportive and enthusiastic and they’ve kept their creeping to a minimum
L: We don’t mind creeps if they’re polite. If they’re assholes then it’s a problem but the thing is the joke’s always on the asshole because we’re the ones onstage. We’re not against creeping as long as it’s respectful- Especially since we’re kind of both creeps too
Is there anyone you’re creeping on right now?
J: (Smiles) Oh god! It’s all part of the game
Are there any bands or other women in music who excite you in a non-creep way right now?
L: Karen O is a bad ass. Also Anna Troy, my sister. She’s a really bad ass blues musician
J: Personally I’m really inspired by tUnE-yArDs, she’s amazing. There’s a friend of ours who’s awesome called Jess Roberts - She kills it.
L: We have really diverse influences that are across the board. As far as female icons I personally love Lady Gaga, I think she’s bad ass.
J: We both love Courtney Love. We don’t endorse her as a person but as a performer and in terms of being bad ass and strong and not giving a f*ck, 90s Courtney Love is where it’s at
L: But then Joan Jett, she’s the one – she’s the queen
J: We actually got a talking to from Kim Fowley. He came to one of our shows in Hollywood and yelled at us for like 10 minutes before we went on so we felt that was like an honour.
Why did he shout at you?
L: He was just like “You have to make sure that you’re f*cking them all from the stage, f*ck them all!”
J: He told us not to die or get pregnant. I was wearing a big cape and he was mad at me for covering my body and he said “You’d better be wearing something slutty under that cape”
L: And then he does this, he goes (mimics cupping own breasts, gnarls face up and adopts letch voice) “These are your balls, these are your balls”
(Both collapse with fits of laughter)
L: Julie was more excited than I was; I was a little creeped out. It was cool but it riled me up, which was probably his intention. I don’t like being told what to do by old men
J: He was just doing his thing! It was cool- In a certain magical sense he may have given us some mojo
Who would be your dream band to play with?
J: It would be cool to open for The Rolling Stones before they break up next year
L: My dream is to play with Jimmy Page. We wanna do a Deap Vally jam sandwich with Jimmy Paie. We just recently met him and it was one of the best days of our lives
J: I can’t believe he exists! I thought he was a myth like a unicorn so I was blown away
L: It was really inspiring to meet him in the flesh and realise he’s actually just a person who happens to be so talented. That is an inspiring concept. He was so lovely and so nice and just made it really easy. That’s when being a girl comes in handy! If we were 2 ugly guys and went up to him we probably wouldn’t have got as warm a response.
J: See, I figured we were doing a Skype interview cos you were a guy and you wanted to have a little Skype hang
L: A little contact with DV
J: Where are you from?
L: Like the beer? Oh you know who we love from there? Beth Jeans Houghton.
J: We had a little slumber party with her when we were in London last- It was really fun, she’s a sweetheart. We know a lot of Newcastle girls!
You surely need to come play up here??
J: Oh yeah!
Julie, I was reading you’re also in a band called Pity Party. It all sounds pretty DIY and grassroots. Is that important to you and Deap Vally?
J: Yeah, we’re DIY! DIY is very much the underdog struggle to the end. It definitely develops character and there’s nothing wrong with that! When you’re into DIY you get caught up in things that aren’t about the music and performance and at the end of the day the music is the most important thing- I think it would be nice to have some help in those other areas so we can focus on just getting the music and performance down.
L: We have a really good team around us who respect what we do and are really supportive. If someone wants to help us out we have no problem with that
J: As long as it’s not a guy trying to play bass in our band.
Do you get those offers a lot?
(In unison) Yeah!
J: After our Old Blue Last show we had some guys offering their bass playing skills
J: I think some people are DIY on principle but we’re just that way cos we’re busy hands-on people. We do a lot of knitting and crocheting and like to be doing stuff all the time.
If you’re so into crochet and knitting is there going to be any knitted DV merchandise?
J: Yeah but it’ll be pricey (laughs)
L:It takes a long time to knit something!
Best Fit are too impatient for that
J: You get addicted to it!
L: It’s not about the end result, it’s more about the process. It’s like a nervous activity! If we come to Newcastle we’ll teach you
Knitting with Deap Vally! That could be a thing
J: Yeah! Like a weird public access show!
L: We should do webisodes!
J: And we could knit with dildos!
(Both laugh a lot more)
L: That is so disturbing.
J: We’d have to grease them up. It could be like a conceptual art piece- I’m just thinking out loud here. We could tie condoms together and knit them with greased up dildos.
L: Somehow I think you’ll include that in your interview
Yeah, that’s going in! Let’s move away from that area for now. Apart from conceptual sex toy art, what’s next for Deap Vally? When will the album be released to the world? Any juicy secrets about it?
J: It’s in process. In September we’re gonna buckle down and knock it out as soon as we can.
L: We’re still writing some of it right now!
J: We’re recording the album in a beach community called San Pedro- right near the ocean in LA where the 50s writer John Fante always wrote about. We’ll be recording in the Cold War Kids’ studio.
L: I have a juicy piece of information! We record all our songs naked. We heard that’s what The Horrors do
Maybe you should!
J: Yeah, but then we’d have to blindfold the producer.
No, they’d have to be naked too.
J: And we’d do it in a hot tub.
And then in the album notes it could be like ‘Recorded (naked) by Deap Vally, mastered (naked) by….mixed (naked) by….’
L: Can we return to something we were just talking about? Why don’t you think The Horrors would record naked?
They look a little strait-laced, like they wouldn’t enjoy flapping naked around each other
L: Like they’re a little buttoned up? They’re a great band though! Maybe if they got naked with each other they’d realise the love they have for one another. They’re a band that really grows and progresses with each album- If they went a Beatles sort of route and took a bunch of LSD and then did a naked jam with an album around that concept it could be really interesting
We love The Horrors at Best Fit – even from their first album when some people were kind of dismissive towards them.
L: I think it can be a blessing to be dismissed because then you can really play up the underdog. You kind of have everything going for you at that point and use the element of surprise and shock and really throw curveballs at people. It’s become a funny sort of thing where we talk about them in every interview. They’re the first english band we became acquainted with.
J: We went to Coachella this year and got to see them play twice – we just felt like compared to every other band they killed it- Their energy and their commitment to the moment was great to watch.
L: I also really love that each person in the band is like a character, like a puzzle.
J: Like the Spice Girls.
L: (Laughs) Exactly! Each person in that band is crucial and it’s visually and musically and personality wise very rich- There’s a lot to dig into. We’re very much, DV, we subscribe to the same ethos – we care a lot about our aesthetic and live performance and our outfits. Even though the music is the most important thing- All of it is still very important.
Speaking of aliases, where do your nicknames Pheonix and Heisenflei come from?
J: “Heisenflei” is like my alter ego. My favourite movie as a kid was Watership Down which is really dark so I was really drawn to it. One of the female bunnies is called Hyzenthlay and I always thought it was Heisenflei so I started using it
L: I came up with Phoenix cos it’s fun to have an alias. Plus since we’re both valley girls we like to play up the idea that we have these super cliche California girl names. Julie and Lindsey are like something out of the babysitter’s club. Truth can be better than fiction
J: We didn’t have creative hipster parents. It’s like if I google ‘Julie Edwards’ there’s like 400 million other ones
Your music has touches of the blues, which is a really narrative based genre – what’s the story you have to tell?
L: We just speak our truth, we just tell the story of being us, the story of growing up in southern california in the suburbs as white females
J:We don’t have any pretensions about who we are or what we’re about- It’s all pretty literal!
Deap Vally will release ‘Gonna Make My Own Money’ on Ark Recordings on July 30th. They play Reading/Leeds Festival and the 1234 Festival this year.