Valley has been nonstop and if you are a lover of indie pop music you probably have heard of them. This Canadian indie pop band based in Toronto. The band members are lead vocalist Rob Laska, guitarist Michael Brandolino, bassist Alex Dimauro, and drummer Karah James is top notch and just always making music that will impressed. We were lucky enough, many years ago, to have the opportunity to interview the band after the release of their first LP This Room Is White, and oh my, these guys have taken off since then and it has been a joy to watch them shine. Why not catch up and see how these guys are doing now?
Unheard Gems: Welcome back to Unheard Gems! The last time we chatted it was in 2018 and oh man, you guys have really taken off since then. How are you?
Valley: Oh wow yeah that feels like a lifetime ago! We’re great though, obviously, we’ve all had some *ahem* obstacles to work around over the last couple of years, but we’ve managed to continue working / living / writing and enjoying our time together. It’s great to finally be back on playing shows and have a couple more EP’s under our belts since the beginning of the pandemic with new music on the way!
Unheard Gems: For our readers who don’t know you yet can you give us a glimpse into your musical origin story, how did Valley come to be?
Valley: We have a fun little Fleetwood Mac-style meetup story actually! We were fortunate enough to be double booked at a studio in our hometown and had never met before with zero mutual friends. We immediately loved what each other were working on, starting hanging out and the rest is pretty much history as they say!
Unheard Gems: What have y’all been up to since 2018? It’s basically, 4 years have passed and it has been so incredible to watch you guys blossom!
Valley: We’ve pretty much been doing what we do best - writing / producing music that we love and trying new things to always keep it fresh. On top of that we’ve done a LOT of touring and haven’t really looked back. We were lucky enough to support some of our favourite artists/friends in 2019 (Lennon Stella and The Band Camino) and in 2021 jumped back on the road with COIN followed by a headline tour this past spring 2022!
Unheard Gems: You released the deluxe album Last Birthday(The After Party) out on Valentine’s Day…why this date? Why this album?
Valley: We really didn’t plan to do that but it just so worked out I guess lol it’s funny cause the deluxe has like the saddest most deep songs we’ve ever made but maybe that’s why we did it?? Not everyone has a valentine and sometimes needs a good ol cry! haha but last birthday the song is really about loving unconditionally with no looking back so I guess that serendipitously lined up with the day!!
Unheard Gems: You have included track commentary in this deluxe release too, what are you most excited for fans to learn about by including this? Any things you think might come as a surprise?
Valley: hmmm there’s definitely A LOT of hidden little gems in the commentary on how the songs came together but I will say “ain’t my girl” is a song that we wrote almost 7 years ago and there’s a whole story on how that song got re-recorded which I was stoked for people to hear about! ! Ya never know when a song will feel right to put out into the world!
Unheard Gems: Your newest single is titled “CHAMPAGNE” and, Karah, you have lead vocals on this one! What was the decision process like to have Karah take the sole vocal rather than drums?
Valley: it’s something we’ve always wanted to do and funny enough, I was sick that day and couldn’t record the demo so Karah just jumped on the mic!! We then realized that it sounded amazing and kept most of the demo for the version you hear now!!! A lot of serendipity type shit happens with our band and it keeps us going!! The universe doing its thing.
Unheard Gems: Speaking of this new song, what was the songwriting process like on this release? How has your writing style changed or stayed the same through the years?
Valley: kMickey and I wrote this song with Johnny Simpson and Jake Torrey and Jake brought this line, “turn this pain into champagne” and Mickey and I jumped out of our seats and said YEP thats our song right there, so we based the entire song around that lyric, it all came together pretty fast.
Unheard Gems: I was lucky enough to go see you perform in LA at the Wiltern when you opened for COIN. What an awesome show! It was so amazing to see how many Valley fans showed up even just for you! How was it being on the road with COIN?
Valley: The COIN boys have been role models for us for a while now, so touring with them felt like a full circle moment for us! They would always check in on us before shows, and make sure we were taken care of. They are incredibly kind people and they have paved the way for bands like us to do what we do.
Unheard Gems: I feel like you must have barely gotten home and you were immediately back on the road again! You had an incredible headlining tour across North America, how was that experience?
Valley: We’ve kind of just accepted that we’ll always be on the road and you start to adjust your life style to that as the norm. We couldn’t believe all of the people that came out to our shows from all over, and getting to meet all of our fans and hear their stories makes it all worth it at the end of the day.
Unheard Gems: Any favorite tour stops? Any tour traditions or band dynamics that come out when you are on the road?
Valley: ouuuu quite a few. We’re big foodies so we’re always on the hunt for fun food trucks and just unique places to eat. We also love theme parks and rides so any day off we’ll try to hit up one of those!! but our fave thing to do on long night drives, is waking up and getting off the bus at trucks stops in the middle of nowhere to explore and buy dumb merchandise, snacks and play with those toy claw machines hahah
Unheard Gems: I would love to know if you have any advice for other emerging artists these days, if you could have received advice starting out what do you wish you were told or known? Especially since we talked so long ago now, it is really valuable to see what you’ve learned.
Valley: One thing we learned along the way is the world has spoken, people love genuine artists. We’ve unapologetically been ourselves more than ever through the last few years and feel that it’s benefited us more than being the *mysterious artist* ever could. We’re just like everyone else and being relatable through your music and the way you present yourself matters!
Unheard Gems: We always like to know who our Unheard Gems artists are listening to, if you could recommend to us another artist you think deserves more recognition in the music industry who would you recommend?
Valley: Babygirl. BABYGIRLLLLLL, and I’ll scream it from the top of a mountain. They are truly some of the best writers of our generation, and they will get the recognition they deserve very soon, I’m sure of it.
Unheard Gems: Lastly, for all of our readers, where can they find you and your music, and is there anything else you want to leave us with that we didn’t talk about in our questions?
Valley: You can find our music on all streaming platforms! Stream Champagne for fresh breath!
Interview by Hannah Schneider