LA Garage Rock Duo Deap Vally Find Their Voices in the Midst of Collaboration

Photography by Kelsey Hart

LA garage rock duo Deap Vally are partial to a bit of collaborating. Their third album Marriage has seen them shift a little bit from only writing for themselves and their guitars to welcome the likes of Peaches, KT Tunstall, Jennie Vee and Jennylee to this new record. The collaboration bug bit them after they created 2020’s LP Deap Lips with The Flaming Lips. There were also appearances from Jamie Hince, Savages, Warpaint and others on Digital Dream and American Cockroach, two other recent LPs. It just felt natural to start creating music with people they’d met along the Deap Vally journey. “Some of the collaborations were friends we’d had for years, like Soko and Jennylee,” explains Lindsey Troy, Deap Vally’s guitarist and vocalist. “Others were artists we’d met more recently. For instance, we ran into Jamie Hince of The Kills after a Queens of the Stone Age show. We were waiting for a Lyft together and we got chatting and the rest is history. All of the people we worked with were people we had met under organic circumstances, who we thought were cool and whose work we really respected.”

Is this new openness to collaborating a way of constantly striving to learn from others or do they just like stealing guitar picks and stuff off other bands? “It’s true!” laughs Lindsey. “I don’t know, we just kinda needed to shake things up a bit, and we just so happened to have a shit ton of awesome and talented friends, so it just seemed like the perfect thing for us. Collaborating is a really fun excuse to dip your toes into other genres and styles. It was really important for us to do that. We needed to change it up and just have FUN, ya know?”

The Deap Vally way used to be rigid: writing for two specific voices and just two instruments. So Marriage sees them opening up their horizons and moving away from the constrictions they put on themselves in the past. “It’s really fun to just start exploring all these different tones and flavors and textures in production and songwriting,” Troy says. “But it’s also a slippery slope because there’s so many directions you can go and you still want to keep the essence of the band. But I think what we realized is that us singing and playing is the essence. Our voices and our creative choices really make it what it is. Album track “High Horse” brings together four distinctive voices. Lindsey and drummer and vocalist Julie Edwards are joined by KT Tunstall and the formidable Peaches to create a unique track. “Yeah, it was pretty special,” agrees Troy.

We met KT when we both played on the same episode of Later…with Jools Holland. When we embarked on this collaboration series, she was a natural choice for us to work with. We were both so impressed with her, just all around. She’s so talented, kind, and professional. She’s friendly with Dave Grohl, who let us record at his 606 studio on his Sound City board. We were working on the song and it just had so much attitude and groove that we just felt like it would be a dream to have a female rapper on it, and then we’re like “duh, Peaches.” We’d toured with her and been friends with her for ages, so we reached out and she came on by. Peaches was a massive influence on me as a budding artist, so it was really such a huge honor having her on our song.

Deap Vally are a band born to be on the road getting grimy on a tour of festivals and live shows. But the mandated lockdown was well-timed for Lindsey, who’s recently given birth and was able to have extended maternity leave during shut down. Even so, rehearsals for the new live tour have whet the appetite to get back out on the road. “Now that we’re starting to gig again and rehearse, it feels so freaking good,” enthuses Troy. “I’m getting in touch with this part of myself I think I had neglected. It feels so good to be back at it. I feel like I’m falling in love with playing music all over again.”