The hard rockin' duo shtick has been done ad nauseam since the White Stripes stormed the airwaves in the early 2000s. Though life has gotten better for jilted bassists and keyboardists in recent times, who says there isn't always room for a new twist on an old trick? Enter Deap Vally: two young women that have made a sound completely their own within the confines of the drum and guitar duo.
Grown under the romanticized sun of Southern California, Deap Vally's music is a melange of all that is great about the golden era of rock 'n' roll. The duo's debut full length, Sistrionix, was produced by former member of the Mars Volta, Lars Stalfors, and has enjoyed some serious critical praise that includes being selected as Zane Lowe's "Hottest Record in the World" on BBC 1. The album is painted in fuzzed-out guitars that sputter and scream over thumping drums in a way that smacks of the British greats, but the heart of '70s Detroit proto-punk fuels the affair.
We spoke with the band's howling singer/guitarist, Lindsey Troy, as she was recovered from a long day of climbing Aztec pyramids in Mexico about feminism, fuzz tones, and how much fun the band is having. Deap Vally will be hitting South Florida for the first time ever on Saturday, October 19, performing an intimate in-store set at Fort Lauderdale's Radio-Active Records as well as full show at Miami's Bardot later that night.
New Times: Are you guys touring in Mexico or just visiting?
We're doing some shows, yeah! We played the Corona Capital Festival, which was incredible! That was our first show ever in Mexico. We did like a secret show last night, we did DJ sets at the American Legion, and tomorrow night we're doing DJ sets as well, and then we head to Miami!
Has Deap Vally or you ever played South Florida ever?
No, we haven't!
Have you ever heard anything about performing in South Florida?
Honestly, no -- but I'm really excited about it! I mean, The Birdcage is like, one of my favorite movies of all time.
I always felt like there was a really epic opera lying within the character of Agador Sparticus...
It is soooo good!
There's no doubt that what Deap Vally does is in inherently feminist, but is the progression of feminism a focal point for the band, or do you prefer to let the art and actions speak for themselves?
We didn't start talking about feminism until journalists wanted to start talking about it with us. So, just the fact that we are women playing music, without men -- playing heavy music without men -- and singing about female issues, you know? We're just doing what we're doing and, like I said, the journalists are the ones wanting to discuss feminism.
As a guitarist and pedal dork, I really wanted to compliment you on all of the gnarly fuzz tones on Sistrionix ! Are you a gear collector?
Thank you so much! I'm pretty much a minimalist as far as that goes, like, I didn't want to have too many pedals on my pedalboard for the first record; like I intentionally kept it really stripped down, because I wanted it to have a really recognizable, concise sound that we were creating, and then from there we could build on it later on. I'm going to be adding more pedals for the next record, but it's almost laughable how minimal my pedalboard is compared to most guitar players in bands. I did it on purpose, because I'm singing and playing at the same time. I like to fill it out slowly. I need to get the muscle memory with my feet coordinating what I'm doing, you know?
You can't really plan it, right? There is something to be said for the spontaneity that comes out of just getting in a room and jamming. But, I will say that we did learn a lot from making the first record and we really love the idea of doing a record that's like, almost live. Phil Specter used to record all of his musicians in one room jamming at the same time, we like the idea of that. There's just the two of us, obviously, so it's different, but just trying to get it as live and spontaneous as is absolutely possible.
It would definitely play to the spirit of the music itself. Do you plan on working with Lars Stalfors again?
We would love to work with Lars again. It just feels really, really natural. We're not against the idea of experimenting with other people, and I think it could be really fun to do different collaborations. But like I said, working with Lars just felt so natural and he's so easy to work with, so good at what he does, he doesn't have an ego -- which is good because we're both kind of really opinionated -- but there's certain producers that would come in and maybe be like dictators, and we can't work that way.
Considering Deap Vally's humble, crochet class beginnings, how does it feel to have Sistrionix receive such acclaim?
It feels really busy (laughs). We've just been touring nonstop, literally. We're just playing all of the time, and it's definitely really flattering and a huge honor that people have said such nice things about the record, but we don't read reviews anymore. Most of them were great, but there were a few that weren't, and I think it's kind of poisonous to read reviews of your art.
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We're really busy, and it's really hard work, but we're having such an adventure, and we're doing what we love. We'll have those moments where we kind of wake up and realize amidst all of the frenzy and the driving around and the luggage and all of that that we're really fortunate!
Deap Vally, 5 p.m., Saturday, October 19, at Radio-Active Records, 845 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale.