They met in a very un-rock ’n’ roll way, in a crochet class in Los Angeles where Julie Edwards was teaching and Lindsey Troy was a willing student.
But just months later, the girls had formed Deap Vally, a hard-rocking two-piece band, penning gritty, sexy, angry, triumphant songs (their debut album “Sistrionix” was released last year).
Before Deap Vally, Julie was in another band called The Pity Party and Lindsey was working on her solo career. But together, with Julie on drums and Lindsey singing and playing guitar, the girls create a sound so solid, so heavy and so hard-hitting that they have spent the past couple of years touring the world and slaying crowds at music festivals.
Deap Vally was invited by Dr. Martens Singapore to headline its #StandForSomething show last week. Inquirer Super sat down with the girls at the Dr. Martens store in Wheelock Place and talked about life on the road, needlework and naked fans.
How did you end up in that crochet class?
Lindsey: I had a friend visiting me from out of town who had recently picked up crochet and she was making all this amazing sh*t. And she was selling it. She was German but she was living in Canada. She couldn’t work legally so she needed to make money. I was trying to come up with get-rich-quick schemes at that time, so I thought that if I learned how to crochet, I could get rich quick.
Julie: Just as a cautionary note, crocheting is not the way to get rich quick.
Was it rock ’n’ roll at first sight? Did you instantly think, “Hey, maybe we can be in a band”?
Lindsey: It was pretty rock ’n’ roll though. It was a rock ’n’ roll meeting. I was wearing a shirt with no bra and a stain and Julie was intrigued by that.
Julie: She was just very insouciant.
How did you end up forming Deap Vally?
Julie: I’d been thinking about starting a new kind of thing and Lindsey kept coming in the store. We were brainstorming what she should do for her solo career and I guess this was her master plan all along. I asked her if she wanted to jam with me and my friend Ashley on bass.
How did you get to the sound that you have now?
Lindsey: We knew that we wanted it to be heavy and rock ’n’ roll. Before we went in, we discussed a blues jam. We had some influences that we threw around like Led Zeppelin, Hole, Joan Jett, Rolling Stones.
Julie: We wanted it to be heavy and confrontational.
What’s your songwriting process like?
Linsdey: It’s kind of all over the map.
Julie: Yeah. Any which way.
Lindsey: Sometimes it gets great, sometimes it gets heated.
Julie: Sometimes she’ll text me just a vocal. Or I’ll text her a drum beat. Or we’ll just get in a room together and start playing and see what happens.
Lindsey: Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth, sometimes it’s great and transcendent.
Julie: Sometimes it just starts with like a song title. Like “Walk of Shame” was a title before it was ever a song.
Does writing for just two instruments complicate things or make them easier?
Lindsey: I think it’s a challenge.
Julie: Yeah, I think it’s more of a challenge. When you have less to work with, you have to get more creative. That’s what I like about there being two people.
You’ve played a lot of festivals; do you have favorite ones?
Julie: We played in a festival in Slovakia recently, Pohoda, and that was really fun. Latitude in England was amazing, really beautiful.
Lindsey: What about the one in Milan?
Julie: Oh yeah. And Moon Block Party Desert Daze which is a festival I helped put on.
Lindsey: Corona Capital in Mexico City. Eurockeennes in France and also Splendour In The Grass in Australia was pretty f**king gorgeous. Though I was the most miserable I’d ever been before we played that show.
Julie: Because we slept like only 30 minutes the night before.
Lindsey: I had a bucket next to me onstage in case I threw up. I didn’t throw up but that was the worst I’d ever been before a show.
Your favorite moment as Deap Vally so far?
Julile: I love when I have 8-year-old fans. I can’t even imagine when I was 8 years old if I had an awareness of a band like us. It seems like it would have been great.
Lindsey: Playing Jools Holland was one of the coolest moments of my life.
Julie: But coming to Singapore is not bad, not too shabby.
Lindsey: Flying across the planet is really surreal. Feels like an extraordinary blessing. We’re just so fortunate.
Julie: At Corona Capital in Mexico City, Queens of the Stone Age were headlining and we were just on the stage, like basically behind them while they played. That was really amazing.
Lindsey: Playing shows with Queens of the Stone Age in Canada, we opened for them, that was one of the most surreal moments of my life.
Why did you say yes to this gig?
Lindsey: Why not? You’d have to be crazy not to.
How does it feel to be performing in Singapore?
Julie: It feels lucky. We’re super grateful to Doc Martens for making it all happen. So awesome.
Lindsey: What a great company.
Its campaign is #StandForSomething; what do you guys stand for?
Julie: Women’s rights all over the world. I think we definitely stand for being courageous and being yourself. And sweating in public.
Does fashion play a part in your performances?
Do you get excited planning what you’re going to wear onstage?
Julie: A couple of our friends make all our stage clothing. Kitten Hawk and Michelle Rose.
Lindsey: It’s all very collaborative.
Julie: I just feel like you have this opportunity, you’re under lights, you need sparkle, you’re moving your body, you need stuff that moves. To me it’s a no-brainer that you’d want to put some fun and interesting clothes on.
Lindsey: It’s like Halloween every day. We get to wear stuff onstage that are not practical to wear in real life. If you walk down the street wearing some of the stuff we wear onstage, I don’t know what would happen. But we’re protected onstage. It’s like having a moat around us.
You guys are together a lot; do you ever get sick of each other?
Julie: I think anybody naturally would. I’m married and I love my husband but we get sick of each other, too. When I was living at home with my parents, I think we all got sick of each other. And on tour, the confines are really a big part of it—you’re in an airplane next to each other or you’re in a van or you’re in a really tiny dressing room.
Lindsey: Yeah. And everyone needs to have alone time and space.
Julie: We’re pretty well-behaved. We make a real attempt not to fight or have excess drama because it’s such an energy drain. It’s not creative.
Lindsey: It’s counter-productive.
Is it true you guys knit a lot while you’re on the road?
Julie: That is definitely true. We went to a knitting store here. There’s some good stuff.
Crochet or knitting—which do you like more?
Lindsey: I like knitting better. ’Cause there’s something about the balance of holding a thing in each hand. But I do love crochet as well.
Do you agree that rock ’n’ roll is still a macho world?
Lindsey: I think it’s a macho form.
Is being female in that macho world an advantage or a disadvantage?
Julie: I think it’s an advantage.
Lindsey: Yeah, it’s an advantage. And I think that… Rock ’n’ roll is the minority nowadays, it’s so niche that rock fans or people who play rock are so grateful to have anyone sort of like empowering it and giving it strength. It’s like it needs all the help it can get. Because it’s not a genre of music that makes a lot of money or is on the radio that much anymore. Maybe that makes it more of an equal playing field.
What’s the craziest thing a fan has done to get your attention?
Lindsey: Get naked at a show.
Lindsey: Uh-huh. It’s happened at least twice. I would tell the crowd that I want a man to get naked and someone would do it.
Julie: Usually after getting heckled. Like after someone says something dumb like, “Show us your tits!” you know.
You throw it back at them? That’s brilliant.
Lindsey: Yeah. I feel like it’s an offering. I feel really flattered that they do it.
Apart from music, performing and knitting, what else are you passionate about?
Julie: I love DIY home projects. I refinished a chest of drawers. It’s like we got off tour and I went to Home Depot. And then also, the festivals. It’s a lot of work. I’m lucky because [putting together festivals] is merciless and overwhelming work and this is a nice outlet. They’re all working their butts off on that right now and I’m here in Singapore.
What’s the best thing about being Deap Vally?
Julie: Getting to be outrageous.