Valleyheart on Their Unique Sound, New Single and Staying Grounded [Q&A]
Have you ever felt like every day just feels the same? Do you feel like a robot just going through the motions? Especially now with the pandemic, it's easy to get stuck in a repetitive rut. Valleyheart helps you break that cycle of monotony with their new single "Stepping Stone." With this gritty, inspiring tune we are reminded to stop and smell the roses. There are so many small moments in life that are so beautiful and should be cherished, but many times we just let those days pass us by. In this song and throughout their EP Scenery, they capture the essence of treasuring the little things and finding ourselves through that process.
The Massachusetts natives are recognized for their wistful, melancholy sound that penetrates with driving guitars and rich, raw vocals. Fronted by singer/songwriter/producer Kevin Klein, the foursome formed in 2016, taking Klein's stunning folk songs and adding a riveting rock element. Through their courageous offerings, Valleyheart continues to carve out their lane in the indie scene.
Ones to Watch: Valleyheart displays an intense indie/alternative sound with elements of punk splashed in. How did you develop your distinct sound?
Valleyheart: Well, half of us grew up playing and listening to heavy hardcore metal kind of music. When I was a teenager, Filipe (our guitarist) and I played in a band called Exiting The Fall and started touring in that band at like 14. So most of our teen years instilled a love for a heavier side of things. And though I would say we don't really listen to that kind of music anymore, let alone play it, it shines through from time to time. I think for a while I tried to bury that side but now whenever it feels natural to us, we're leaning into it.
For the sound we have now, I don’t know, I would say it's just a natural blend of most of all the artists that inspire us, from all sorts of styles you know? The other two guys come from playing more in the DIY alt scene so it kind of all fuses together.
Your hard-hitting single "Stepping Stone" features smooth vocals skating over pulsating drums and jangly guitars. What was your process in constructing the intoxicating tune?
This one started out as a very chill acoustic song. A lot of our songs start like that sometimes. I had written the verses on my acoustic and made a little cassette tape demo of it. I was ready to resort to it as a solo song, until the next night I got together with our old drummer Jon and was sound checking with it as I was getting tones and he started playing that driving drum groove. And it was kind of like that light bulb moment of "Oh this could be something different, something VERY different"
The track examines finding satisfaction in everyday activities and staying in the moment. Could you explain this concept further and what inspired the song?
Yes. I will say that I have NOT mastered that and am very much in that process still. Haha. One day I'm doing yoga and seeing the face of God in the grass or my coffee and others I'm thinking "I didn't even feel the day pass by today." The song was kind of written to myself; Examining the ways I used to cope with discontentment and boredom. Comfort can be a drug you know?
How do you practice gratitude in your lives and what helps you remain present?
Gonna go for the old classics but ... yoga, meditation, writing. Writing is a big one. Drinking water is another. I want to say most days when I'm in a funk, a big reason is just like nutrition, hydration and general needs. I feel we're all big, moving, thinking plants sometimes. Sometimes I look at my house plant all droopy and defeated and I'm like - "I feel you dude" And give it some water, and it's back! We're not that different. Light and water.
Also, going on walks. That's always a game changer. Just noticing things around my neighborhood and city. Just noticing.
Your new EP Scenery explores our sense of self, change and life's many mysteries. What draws you to these profound themes?
I don't know, I kind of just think about these things. Always have. And writing about them helps make sense of it. And songwriting especially has really been my place to be honest and not hold back any hard questions or introspection.
The four songs from the offering come together to create a narrative, but are all so unique from one another. How does the placement of the songs tell that story?
This EP is all about contrast - sonic and lyrical. We really wanted to have songs that countered each other and even created tensions between the songs themselves. Contrasting heavy & chill ("T.I.K." & "Scenery") and bright & dark ("Stepping Stone" & "The Point")- It was about experimenting with that idea rather than trying to make the most cohesive, linear thing. Which, we may very well do for our next release(s). But with this contrast concept in mind, it was really fun to explore different sounds and ways we could push our sound for this EP.
Is there a track that stands out to you the most from the EP?
"Scenery," the title track, is my favorite. It's the most different and I wrote and recorded it all in one summer afternoon. It kind of feels like a little snapshot of that time.
Who are some musical talents that you truly idolize?
David Bazan, Sujfan Stevens, Men I Trust, Joao Gilberto, Justin Vernon.
Finally, who are your ones to watch?
Runnner, Jay Som, NNAMDI