Entertainment & Arts

Deap Vally planning 'all out assault' on rock music

Deap Vally
Image caption Deap Vally are due to support British band The Vaccines on their UK tour in November

California duo Deap Vally plan on bringing some much needed girl-power to the macho rock world with their brand of lo-fi dirty blues rock, which contradict their origins at a Los Angeles crocheting course.

Rolling Stones Mick Jagger and Keith Richards met at school, Ozzy Osbourne joined Black Sabbath after placing an advert "Ozzy Zig Needs Gig - has own PA" and young vocalist Robert Plant was recommended to guitarist Jimmy Page by singer Terry Reid - the rest is Led Zeppelin history.

But very few of rock's great stories begins in a crocheting shop in California's San Fernando Valley.

"There probably aren't any," says Deap Vally drummer Julie Edwards. "I was teaching a crochet class and Lindsay kind of wandered into it.

"She gave me her EP of solo stuff which I listened to in my car and, also, she learned to crochet really quickly so I thought, 'Oh, there's some potential here. She has co-ordination - that eye, hand, brain, body thing'."

Until that point, singer Lindsey Troy had been performing as a solo artist in LA, singing sensitive Elliott Smith-style acoustic numbers on her debut EP Bruises.

Image caption The band have been playing intimate venues across the UK

Edwards was playing in arty experimentalists The Pity Party under the pseudonym Heisenflei.

"Before we jammed, we definitely discussed what kind of band we wanted to be," she says.

"We knew it would be something heavy, a lot of groove and rhythm," adds Troy.

The result was Deap Vally, a scuzzy White Stripes-meets Led Zeppelin rock and roll duo which The Guardian compared with "Robert Plant with all the testosterone sucked out, wailing over beats that make Meg White's dragging approach to time-keeping seem positively machine-like and metronomic".

Much of the early buzz surrounding the band centres on the sheer noise that comes off a stage shared by just two musicians.

"Originally we were going to be a three-piece," says Troy. "At our first practice we had a girl playing bass and that was cool but she was really busy touring with other bands. But I was used to playing solo before so having an extra person on stage already seemed a lot."

White Stripes comparisons notwithstanding, Edwards insists she is not completely opposed to swelling Deap Vally's ranks: "Bass is awesome but at the moment, the challenge of writing music for just two instruments is awesome.

"People say we sound loud and its so much sound for two people but I think there's a dynamic. There's sparseness and openness and then there's fullness and loudness."

The influence of bands like Black Sabbath and The Stooges are obvious in their music but Edwards says: "As much as we have in common, there are things she likes that I don't but we meet in the middle. Neither of us were playing this type of music before."

Any example of a source of tension? "Lady Gaga," says Edwards to Troy's embarrassment. "She's cool, but I'm a drummer, and dance music that's made in a grid doesn't speak to me at all because I just hear a machine."

"I adore her," says Troy. "I want to be friends with her."

Image caption The band say they want to be positive role models

The band have recently wrapped up their first tour of the UK and are due to support Brit nominees The Vaccines on their forthcoming tour.

"They've been great," says Troy of the small yet utterly devoted audiences who have been coming to watch the shows. "It's crazy to go halfway across the world and have a room full of people, they all start getting excited and sing when we play our single Gonna Make My Own Money.

"The lyrics aren't too hard to remember, but it's great. We feed off each other's energy - that's what music's about."

With their daisy duke shorts and in-your-face sexy stage attitude, it could be easy to dismiss the band as male fantasy cardboard cutouts, yet the aforementioned song espouses the ideals of financial independence.

"You say marry a rich man, find a rich one if you can / Daddy, don't you understand, I'm gonna make my own money, gonna buy my own land," sings Troy.

They say they are happy to be held up as feminist role models for young women in and out of the music industry.

Says Troy: "As you get more fans, younger people start to look up to you and I want to be that positive role model that I had."

"For me, its a drummer called Carla Azar, who I've known since I was a kid," says Edwards. "She's in my brother's band and is now the drummer in Jack White's all-girl band. It was logical for me to become a drummer.

"She's amazing and I'm just so glad I had her in my life because she set the bar really high and it's good to aim for."

Deap Valley are yet to record their debut album back home in LA. "It needs to sound raw rock and roll, music that's played by our hands. Her guitar needs to be ferocious and my drums needs to be huge," says Edwards. "It needs to be an all-out assault.

"It's about capturing a moment in times, it's not about perfection", agrees Troy. Its about giving it as much authentic energy as we can."

But will transferring the rawness of their stage shows be a tricky thing to recreate in a recording studio, minus the sweat-stained walls and smell of whisky and beer?

"You harness the powers from the universe of rock," says Edwards, smiling as she raises her arms skyward. "You're like... 'Come to me'. And then you just play."

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