Iman and Madi interviewed Death Valley Girls about their motivation for making music, mummies, their supernatural creative process, and the upcoming Desert Daze festival! Check it out!
This is Iman and Madi from KSPC! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us today! First of all, we just want to see that your album has been charting a lot at KSPC which is really cool and a lot of our DJs like to play your music. We were wondering if you know how much support you get from other college stations.
We’ve been getting a lot, which is really crazy, we didn’t even remember that other people are gonna hear it until months after we made it. But we made it to the CMJ charts and everything.
Yeah, we’re hoping to get to lucky number 13 but we only made it to 16. I mean we can’t even believe we were on there at all, so that’s pretty good.
Yeah, beggars can’t be number choosers, ya know? But yeah, I can’t believe anyone even hears it, so that’s rad. Thank you for playing it.
Yeah for sure! Can you tell us more about your vision for the album and in general what you felt while making this album?
Yeah, well, basically it all began about last year around Halloween-time we played a show at the Natural History Museum for a mummy exhibit. It was called “New Secrets from the Tomb.” We had this idea that, like, these mummies had been in Chicago at a museum since they were found in 1890, we were certain that they never heard rock & roll before, so we thought it was so illustrious that we could be the first to bring rock & roll to the dead and we wanted to write a bunch of songs to introduce rock & roll and potentially wake them up if they wanted to wake up.
That’s really cool! How was it playing within the space of the museum?
Well, that was the one problem was that we were outside. And we were sort of disappointed because the drummer and I had seen a mummy about a month before. That’s how this all started, really, was that we were walking down the street and we saw a mummy, the defecated remains of a person that had been mummified thousands of years ago walking down the street making mummy sounds. Not like a dead person, it wasn’t a zombie, it was the mummified remains of a person walking around my neighborhood. So we contacted the museum to see if they had any mummies and they were like “Yeah, we just got Chicago’s mummy exhibit two weeks ago!” We didn’t want to ask them are any mummies missing but they were so excited that we were interested in mummies at all and the mummy that we saw was a female mummy because it had bosoms so we asked them “Are there any girl mummies?” and they were like “Yeah come down” and someone else said “Why don’t you come play for the mummies?” and that’s how this whole thing started and after that we realized, like, we had made all these songs to introduce rock & roll to the dead, why not introduce rock & roll to the living, you know, so we decided to record Glow in the Dark which is sort of a call to arms for lots of other concepts we’re working on.
So, do you think you succeeded in bringing rock & roll to the mummies?
Yeah, for sure, definitely! At the very least it was very conceptually starting there as our real first full record, you know you can only go up from there. If your goal is to wake the dead, introduce the dead, introduce the living, reawaken the living, only the sky is left to go. It changed the whole concept of what a rock & roll show can and should be.
What do you find was the vision in your previous releases? How has that changed?
Before we were just thinking that it would be cool to make a record that kids would listen to over and over again and learn how to play guitar or bass, just a regular rock & roll record that makes people want to dance or drive real fast or drive real slow or whatever, listen to after a breakup, whatever, but we didn’t realize before how important it could be, how globally and universally important a record should be.
Yeah, like transforming.
What’s your favorite song off of the new album?
Whoooooa! No one has asked that. Well there’s one song that’s recorded on there that was all first takes and first singing and first everything, actually there’s more than one, but one that I don’t think would ever be able to be recreated as it is on that record is Death Valley Boogie. There’s something special about it, it’s the most magical one where everything just happened right then and there, we had never really played it before and that was really cool. Pink Radiation, too, we had never played it before, most of the songs we had not played before, it’s hard to say! I don’t know, thanks for asking!
Yeah of course!
I’ll think about it later.
It’s a tough one. We were also wondering how the name Death Valley Girls came about and if you guys had a special connection or influence to the national park.
Well, we’re learning way more about national parks now than we ever knew was possible but Larry made it up, I think it came to him in a dream. Like a horror movie thing, sort of a Manson-utopian sort of theme that we are into.
I like the name a lot, it’s really cool.
It seems like there’s a lot of horror movie imagery, like how the name came, zombies and mummies, do you have a favorite horror movie or have horror movies influenced your work in other ways?
Oh boy, yeah. I think that Texas Chainsaw Massacre is probably our favorite movie but there are so many. I don’t see the difference between horror movies and rock & roll and gritty culture, you know, it’s all related.
What is your creative process like amongst you and the other members?
Oh, well, we don’t really believe that we write songs…it all just exists in outer space and when you’re lucky you can pull a song down but I mean mainly if it’s like a melody or riff it’ll come and it’ll be attached to one sentence and I won’t write the words until like an hour before we have to record it and then all of the words just fly onto the page. It has really little, I mean, as far as I’m aware, it has nothing to do with us but it’s that when we’re all together it just kind of happens.
That sounds special.
I wish we had a better process! You know what I mean? A less supernatural one.
I mean, clearly it works though!
Yeah! I just wish I was one of those prolific people that could just sit and write a bunch of stuff from my own personal head instead of having to wait for, you know, the magic of the universe to align and send us songs, you know? I mean, again, beggars can’t be choosers. We’re begging for it.
How you feel about performing at a festival like Desert Daze at Joshua Tree and how does that compare to playing smaller, more intimate shows?
Well I really love the place that it’s at, the Institute of Mentalphysics. I’ve been there before and there’s like vortexes. That place is super super cool. And obviously we’re super excited to see like so many bands, not the least of which is The Sonics, Television, Meatbodies, and then all of our friends. Like so many of our friends that are in such rad bands are playing. But yeah, festivals can be super fun it just depends how they’re run and we’ve never done Desert Daze before but I’ve only ever heard amazing things.
Yeah, awesome! It sounds like a great time.
Yeah, almost every festival we’ve played in the desert is cool because people are going there to enjoy themselves and be, you know, in love, and get turned on. It seems like a good place for it. I don’t want to say where we’ve been to festivals that stink but there are places where people are trying to be annoying.
Alright, so thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us! We’re going to wrap it up with one last question. What is a question that you wish an interviewer would ask you, and what would the answer be?
Oh man, oh man. Uh, whoa that’s such a good question! That question! Let me use my brain for a second. I have to go to the inner depths of my brain. Let me ask Larry. Larry, what’s one question you want interviewers to ask but they never do?
Larry: Maybe this question! I don’t know.
Bonnie: We’re finally speechless!
Larry: In interviews, there’s a lot of the same questions, and you always think “Wow, I wish they’d ask something different!” But when they ask something like this it’s like, “wow, I don’t know”
Bonnie: I know what it is! I know what question!
What is it?
“We heard that Iggy and Alice Cooper and Ozzy think you’re so cool. Tell me, how do you feel about that?”
That’s all I have to say about that.
If you can’t catch Death Valley Girls at Desert Daze, make sure to check out their new album Glow in the Dark by listening to KSPC or streaming from Soundcloud!