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Deap Vally Discuss Crafty Beginnings, Black Keys Comparisons + Their Feminist Mission

Deap Vally
Bryan Sheffield

Deap Vally may look and sound like they’re straight out of the 1970s, what with their heavy, guitar-driven rock sound and long shaggy hair, but they’re very much of this moment. The Los Angeles duo is gearing up to release its debut EP, ‘Get Deap!’ on April 9, and with their fringe, lace, and thrashing beats, these ladies leave their mark with vintage-inspired blues and sneering attitude.

Comprising guitarist and vocalist Lindsey Troy and drummer Julie Edwards, the rising band has already played alongside such big-name artists as Muse, Thurston Moore, Josh Homme and Mumford and Sons. In advance of the EP release — not to mention a string of spring shows with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and an appearance at Coachella — Troy chatted with Diffuser.fm about the band’s crafty beginnings and how their charged up brand of rock empowers women.

Is it true that you and Julie met in a needlework class?

We actually met a crochet class at the end of 2010 when I stumbled into the store she was working at. She gave me a crochet lesson, and after a few hours, we started really hitting off. I became kind of obsessed with her and wanted to be her friend, so I kept going on there. The rest is history. Our personalities complemented each other really well, and we also bonded over the fact that were frustrated with our music careers not going anywhere. We both wanted to try something new and different.

What was frustrating you both at the time?

Well, Julie was in a band called Pity Party for many years, which was also a two-piece. I had been playing music with my sister since a very young age. We were kind of a folky duo, and it was a very family-oriented thing. My brother would play bass with us; my dad would play with us. I ended to moving to L.A. from San Diego a few years ago, and I was doing folky singer-songwriter stuff at the time. I just got burned out or bored doing solo music, so I had to take a break

You guys are playing a few shows this spring with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. How did did you get together with them?

God, I don’t even know. It’s just a dream to play with them, and I just have so much respect them. Someone played our music for them and said, “You should play with this band,” and I guess they dug it.

You opened for Mumford and Sons and Muse — how did their audiences react to you?

The Muse audiences were great. We toured with them in Europe, and everyone was immediately very responsive and up for us. With Mumford and Sons, we weren’t sure. We were a little nervous, and we weren’t sure if people would get it or not, especially because it was in Europe. We felt like it would go over okay, but it’s just a different audience over there. The first show in Munich was a learning curve. We felt good about that first show, but we really wanted to cater to the audience. They came for a night that was mellow, or at least clearly more mellow than us. So we would learn something in the language of that audiene each night, something just kind of cheesy like, “We’re going to rock your f—ing face off,” or, “We’re from America, and we like rock ‘n roll.” I think that helped give them some warning about what they were in for.

Are the crowds any different in Europe in general?

Those Mumford crowds were so good, and people were so receptive. We were joking that we were doing a romantic city tour with them — cities in Italy, Spain, Portugal — and I think those cultures are really appreciative of music and just up for anything. By the last few shows, we covered the Band’s version of ‘Don’t Do It,’ originally ‘Baby Don’t You Do It.’ It felt like a real ’70s collaboration.

But it’s hard to say if the audiences are that different. We haven’t done any festivals in the States, but we are about to do our first with Coachella. We’ve been fortunate, though, to do some festivals overseas, open for different bands, pack clubs for our shows. I don’t think it’s that different, though, honestly. We just try to win over the audience, and we usually do a pretty good job with that.

Do you mind getting compared to the Black Keys or the White Stripes?

Well, we love those bands. We know people just need a frame of reference we, so think it’s a very logical comparison. I think the Black Keys is a very logical one, but they do have a full band now, so we’re not all that much alike. I think early Black Keys we’re pretty similar to, and we have lot of respect for them.

I think radio people, other music people are really open to Deap Vally because of bands like that have blazed the trail, and people are already open to it. I think we’re a bit heavier than both those bands, but obviously they’re amazing.

Do you think that fact that you’re a female band playing rock music is something the media focuses on? Do you guys feel like you do have to represent women in rock?

It’s something we think about a lot. We’re feminists, and it’s important for us to represent women. It’s something that comes up a lot, and it is part of our music and our nature. Women and men are different, and our music is from a female perspective. We write everything, arrange everything, play everything, so our music is truly from a woman’s perspective. I don’t think there’s a lot rock music that’s truly from a woman’s voice in the mainstream, and that’s something that we want to change. We want to be raw and unadulterated, and we think it’s important to be role models with that energy. We want to empower our young female fans with our experiences and with our music.

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