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SPOTLIGHT ON VALLEY

Valley's new single Tempo is out now! We caught up with frontman Rob Laska to chat about the release and more.

Image: Supplied.


JUNO nominated, alternative-pop band, Valley have dropped their glistening new single, Tempo. Featuring guest vocals from their co-writer Soaky Siren, the upbeat and carefree track will have you busting out a move, bringing a spark of happiness to your day.


Bringing a fresh zest to the track, the Toronto-based group examine love in its many facets, whilst frontman Rob Laska's enticing vocals and Soaky Siren's mesmerising harmonies float above faultless production. The release is accompanied by an official visual, where we follow the band on a day out, soaking up the sun, playing ping pong, enjoying an ice-block or two, and so much more.


Made up of Laska, Karah James, Mickey Brandolino and Alex DiMaur, Valley formed in 2014, with their debut EP, Car Test, arriving the following year. Since then, the four-piece have four EP's under their belt, a string of shimmering singles, and a legion of fans. Valley will return to the stage next month, taking to the stage at Wunderbus Festival in Columbus, OH, and Bottlerock Festival in Napa Valley, CA, followed by 17-date North American tour supporting COIN.


Tempo is out now! Read our interview with Rob Laska of Valley below.


Could you tell us a bit about your musical background and how Valley came to be?


Hey!! Thanks for having us! So we all grew up just outside Toronto in the suburbs. Alex and I went to highschool together, so did Karah & Mickey! We played in bands throughout our teens and one day we got double booked at a local studio!! The rest is history… one of our favorite bands as a collective is Fleetwood Mac, which met in a similar way at Sound City back in the 70s. So everything about Valley just felt right. We’re so thankful that the universe was nice to us that day and that happy accident happened!

Congratulations on your new single Tempo! Tell us a bit about the conceptual nature of the track and what prompted you to document on this particular track?


Tempo is a really special one for a few reasons. We wrote it with an incredible artist named Soaky Siren over Zoom one night a few months ago during another lockdown. I remember entering the session wanting to make something really positive and uplifting, which is honestly a lot harder for us when it comes to our songwriting...we tend to always write about our struggles and wrap them up with uplifting production. “Tempo” was a challenge in that way, but it’s a song we’ve dreamed about writing. We produced the song and wrote it pretty much in a day. “Tempo” is about obsession but in the most pure and sweet ways. It’s about wishing we could slow down time to be more present and experience love more deeply whether that’s a night out, a night in, a beautiful morning, going to dennys with your friends and putting your phone down!!! All the simple but good stuff we should be more grateful for.

The track creates a sonic tension, building towards a tempo change. How did you arrive at the overall sonic sound and exploration of the track?


That outro is one of my favorite things we’ve ever done musically. It was a very last minute addition. Tempo was pretty much complete at the time and we were getting ready to send it off to mixing. I was driving around one day listening to new music that my friends sent me, and Good Days by SZA came on. That song blew my mind. It’s such a beautiful arrangement and sonically so wild. I wanted to channel that energy somehow in Tempo so I opened up the session again and started messing around with a whole outro. I slowed down the entire Tempo beat, added string samples and those Queen guitars!! And the outro was born… It was one of those moments as songwriters/producers that you dream about ya know? Everything just clicked and it was the perfect magical moment to end the song. And the added literal element of slowing down the song is pretty cheeky I think haha.


What’s one line from Tempo you find at times could be stuck in your head? Or a line that you come back to?

“Sunday morning mwah kiss the sky” always gets stuck in my head because it’s the opening line and I love the vocal delivery/emotion we captured in verse one but one lyric that I really really love is “You’re my parachute to survive on.” That just really speaks volumes about the song. These simple moments we experience throughout life really do save us. We need people and nights to obsess over and love. Those are our parachutes.


Could you talk us through your creative process when writing and recording songs?

It’s always changing!! I guess one constant is that we write and produce everything together. We don’t really assign roles for each other in the studio which I think is why we can experiment so much with what Valley could sound like without losing our chemistry. “Tempo” was made over zoom in a day. Our next single took months to get right. Another song we’re dropping this year we’ve been working on for 7 years haha! There’s no real structure to the madness. Inspiration chooses when it’s gonna strike but we just make sure to show up everyday and hopefully we catch it. Lately we’ve been really into writing songs from a title or a concept sort of like a tv show pitch. We also love to build the sonic world sometimes before we think about lyrics. So if we’re like super into a song one day, we’ll study it a bit and see what kind of inspo we can pull from it.



Will you be dropping a full length release this year? And what can fans expect from your future releases?

We cannot give too much away yet but we’re definitely dropping lots more music this year. We have a collection of new songs ready that we’re really excited about playing live on tour! And going into 2022, we’re focusing on making an album. We actually already have the beginning and ending of our next album written in a way haha but more on that later! All we can say right now is we’re always writing new music and it will be coming out!!!


Toronto has a diverse and vibrant music scene, who are some emerging local artists you think we should be listening to and why?


Ooooo so many!! Very hard to choose haha. Today we think you should check out….Dizzy, The Accents, Babygirl, Elio and Bestfriend!!! Also Drake is really great, super underground tho...


You’re gearing up to play Wunderbus Festival next month, followed by a 17-date North American tour with COIN. What can audiences expect from this run of shows?

Ahhhhh live music!! Tour!! We legit could not be more excited to see everyone again. So lucky to be playing festivals and COIN are such an inspiration to us. Love those boys so much. We’ve been really working on our live show, it’s kept us busy during the pandemic. Live is such a different world than the studio and it’s sometimes very intimidating for us tbh, but we’re very happy with how rehearsals are going and the new songs are so engaging and fun to play live. Though I will say as we put out more music, making setlists is tricky haha I guess we need to do a headline tour to play more songs….


The past sixteen months have taken its toll on the music industry, specifically the touring sector, but also in terms of making that in person connection with audience members and creating a shared feeling and experience. How important do you think live music is not only for yourselves as musicians showcasing your art, but also for the audience members who resonate with your music?

This is a great question and we think about this a lot. Firstly, 1000% yes. Live music is integral to everyone. I think we’ve learned the hard way over the past two years with a world pandemic that the internet can only take a musical experience so far. And that’s not to say we’re not innovating the industry, we shouldn't stop! We’ve managed to still create ways for people from around the world to be together online and experience a show through live streams but we don’t think anything can compare to being in one room together. There’s an unexplainable relationship that we share with experiencing live music not through a screen. It’s down to the details. It’s buying your ticket and getting your friends together, commuting to the city and getting dinner before the show, buying merchandise in person, discovering the opener… There’s such an experience and storyline to a live show or festival experience that is very difficult to emotionally replace with the internet. Live music also allows the data and stream numbers to become real life. People are not just streams anymore, they’re people with stories and are all there because in one way or another we’ve soundtracked their life and that feeling is irreplaceable to us and I could imagine for many others lately!


Any chance we’ll be seeing you on Australian stages in 2022?

Yes!! Love all our Aussie val pals and would love to play a show for you as soon as we can get over there!! Thank you for being patient!!


RAPID FIRE

Biggest influences? I’ll do one for each band member! Also this answer changes daily haha. Rob: Coldplay Alex: Paramore Karah: Ariana Grande Mickey: Kacey Musgraves

Dream collaboration?

Coldplay!!! Or Taylor Swift?? Shawn Mendes!!!

Album that has had the most impact on you?

Another answer that changes daily but today let's go with Rumors by Fleetwood Mac, Viva La Vida by Coldplay and Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves

How do you define your musical style in 3 words? Someone once said ‘nostalgic fizzy pop” and we love that!

Best song of 2021 so far?

Ooooo tough one. Really really obsessed with a song called Last Day On Earth by Beabadoobee.

If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be? Lady Bird. 1000000%.

Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?

OMG Hannah Montana! We grew up watching that show everyday before school haha Hannah Montana songs are forever in our DNA!!

A song you would love to cover on tour? You Get What You Give by the New Radicals or Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind! All Star by Smash Mouth maybe too???

Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip? Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves is the perfect road trip album. Every feeling you would ever need.

First concert you went to? First concert I went to on my own was seeing a pop rock band from Arizona called The Maine! But my first ever concert as a kid was Duran Duran with my dad!



Best concert you have been to?

The 1975 a few summers ago was wild. We went with our entire friend group. It was a really special and inspiring night!

First album you ever bought?

Metamorphosis by Hilary Duff!!!

Would you rather be a Spice Girl or a Backstreet Boy?

Spice Girl

If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?

Sappy Spice….I listen and write a lot of sad music idk hahah

Most memorable show you’ve ever performed? Way too hard to choose!! We did play a hometown show in Toronto before the pandemic and that was insane. We sold out a 500 cap venue which is like a dream come true for us!!

Guilty music pleasure? No guilty pleasures in music!! Listen to what you want!! Lifes too short.

If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?

Coldplay!!!!

An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.

So so so many for different reasons. Today I will say Billie Eilish and FINNEAS. You can make world class pop music in a bedroom!! And win Grammys!!

What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?

Stop overthinking so much! Drink more water and show up everyday. Just show up and do the work.

The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician? My mom signed me up for singing pretty early on in my life. It was always something I dreamed of doing. I remember watching Blink 182 on MTV and air guitar rocking out for hours haha



Tempo is out now! Listen to the track below.