INTERVIEW: Alternative band on the rise Valleyheart unleash new single and video for “T.I.K.”
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Hailing from Massachusetts, rock outfit Valleyheart amazes listeners with their pungent and fiery flair. Their contemplative lyrics and haunting melodies make this bold band a radiant rock triumph. Valleyheart’s new single “T.I.K.” plunges into the nature of paradoxical behaviors and is an insightful study on how emotions and thoughts interact. With its clashing guitars, melancholy arrangements and punk style vocals, you are instantly sucked into this penetrating, passionate offering.

Valleyheart was conceived in 2016. The group took singer/songwriter/producer Kevin Klein’s stunning folk releases and turned them into true rock statements. Concocting heavy, driving tracks that come at you with full force, their music takes you on an intense ride you will not want to get off of. Culture Collide chatted with the band on their new song, video inspiration and more.

Your group is a spirited collective melding rock with elements of punk. How did you develop your intense and powerful sound?

Some of us came from playing punk/hardcore shows as teenagers, I think you may still hear some of that in there. Always love rock music and how nostalgic it feels since a lot of us grew up on that sound. The trick now is to find ways to stay innovative in it and always be pushing the boundaries a bit. From the beginning of the band we knew we wanted a big sound that was layered. I think despite shifting sounds over releases, we try to maintain that essence to the music we write.

Your latest single “T.I.K.” (Thoughts I Keep) explores the inner psyche and reflects on the workings of paradoxical behaviors. Can you explain this concept in more detail?

T.I.K is a song I wrote attempting to dive into my own mind and understanding of my paradoxical behaviors. The mental dissonance often felt when wanting to be alone when with others, yet wanting to be with others when alone; the introvert/extrovert dilemma. When you feel a deep sense of discontentment in certain areas of life yet still hold the gratitude for the things you have in life. When you have companionship in someone who deeply knows and sees you, yet you still feel like you need to start over and find yourself all over again at times; the need to self-destruct. And how frantic that state can feel at times.

The surrealistic visuals for the track display bizarre acts such as making a soap and sponge sandwich and throwing dirt on your shoes, washing them off and then lighting them on fire. What inspired this eccentric video?

Benjamin Lieber directed the video and him and I spent many hours prior to shooting it gathering our inspirations and coming up with concepts. We wanted to create visuals that were absurdist and just really created an uncomfortable dissonance when watching; In that way, paralleling the lyrics and energy of the song. What we ended up with was a wild ride of me engaging in acts such as ironing raw fish, making soap sandwiches, and burning eggs. We rented a cheap motel room in Cape Cod and made it all happen – we loved the colors and vibe there and it ended up being perfect.

Visually, I would say David Lynch was a big inspiration here. The Shining was another inspiration we referenced. It was really cool to borrow inspiration from a world outside of music or what “rock videos” are supposed to look like. Gathering inspiration from movies, film photography, comedy, or whatever really inspired us at the time and translating those concepts into a musical context. We wanted something dark, but silly – heavy but catchy – strange but normal. Ben understood the paradoxical vision from the get go and just made it happen like the insightful creative he is –  it was so great to create and collaborate with him. We had a great time.

 The foursome is led by singer/songwriter/producer Kevin Klein and rearranges Klein’s folk songs into vibrant rock offerings. How did all of you meet and how was the band formed?

Filipe Inacio, our other guitarist, and I met in 2008 and have been playing music, on and off, since then. Chris joined in 2017 on bass. And most recently Zac on the drums in 2020. I would say the underlying thread that unites are the friendships and how playing music with your friends can be the best thing.

As a band from the northeast, how has that influenced your sound?

Winters here can be brutal and cause some isolation and sadness for sure, so there’s a pretty clear parallel there haha.  But I like to think that having the volatility and range of seasons has an effect on how we write music together; that the dynamics and shifts in weather can be paralleled to different moods and inspire dynamic writing.

 Your music studies life’s great mysteries and touches on themes of identity and change. What draws you to these profound ideas?

I think like most people I’m attracted to honesty; in music, people, brands, really anything. And the music I find myself connecting with the most are artists who really open themselves and their stories up. It’s terrifying and often uncomfortable to be vulnerable and kind of give strangers a piece of your life, but I find it to be so rewarding and resonates with others. So I would say the introspect stuff I sort of write has to do with just wanting to honestly wrestle with the stuff life throws at you, and somehow come to a deeper understanding of myself and others around me in a creative way. And with the hope to spark those conversations in the people who listen to our music.

 On the topic of change, how have you evolved musically over the years?

I’ve become more open to different genres and styles for sure. Growing up I was playing hardcore music as well as being in a worship band and that was the extent of my circle. Grew up on A LOT of worship music and didn’t really allow myself to listen to any secular music until maybe middle school, which is bananas. But since then it’s kind of been an exploration and I feel like I had to make up for the lost time haha. That is, the greatest evolution is probably just not really having an agenda or genre limitations while finding new music that inspires me. I’ve been really into hyperpop lately with the likes of Caroline Polachek, A.G Cook and that camp. Just such a unique way to view production and creativity. Also have really been immersed into Bossa Nova, Brazilian samba and Jazz from the mid 20th century – it speaks to me like no other music does. So it’s really about diversity and appreciating different approaches and styles – like, I’m much more concerned about the stories these artists are telling, rather than what genres they represent. It’s 2021 and I feel a lot of people are starting to feel this way and indifference to genre, especially with so many unexpected genres bleeding into and influencing each other, which I find so exciting.

 Lastly, what bands or artists have really inspired you?

COPELAND, MEN I TRUST, SUFJAN STEVENS, STAN GETZ/JOAO GILBERTO, PHOEBE BRIDGERS

You can watch the video for “T.I.K” here.

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photo by: Andrew Bonadio
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