Valley: Lost In Translation

emilytreadgold #1, Features

Indie band Valley has captured hearts and playlists alike with their distinctive sound. We dive deep into the inspiration and creative process behind the music with the drummer and vocalist, Karah James. 

Were there any specific challenges or memorable moments you encountered while working on "Lost in Translation"?

Karah: Working on the album had so many highs, lows, and interesting stories in the process. The name of the album was birthed in a therapy session when we were talking about misunderstanding each other. Our therapist said, "It sounds like things have become lost in translation with you guys." We said, "That's funny because we have a song called Lost in Translation," and then we all looked at each other and realized that we had found the name of the album. This album was one of the longest writing processes we've had yet as a band. We wrote a lot of songs and found that there was something missing from a lot of the early songs that we were writing. It was hard to dig even deeper than we thought we needed to in order to get the songs that felt the best to us. But we finally did, and we're glad we pushed ourselves.

How do you feel your sound has evolved from your previous works to "Lost in Translation"?

Karah: I think that Lost In Translation is definitely a more mature album, and I think that it encompasses more finished ideas…things that we were trying to achieve on the last few albums but maybe that we didn't know how to do or didn't have the wherewithal to do. We were able to achieve those things in Lost In Translation. I think the biggest difference between Lost In Translation and our other albums is that we relied on instinct…not trying to make a lyric more artsy than it had to be. That can dilute what we're trying to say, so we were able to be more direct and intentional on this album.

In what ways do you hope your listeners will connect with the songs on "Lost in Translation"?

Karah: We talk about a lot of very relatable concepts on this album, like love and loss and desire. We say it in a way that is unique to our human experience, but I definitely think that the lyrics can also resonate with others and their personal experiences. At the end of the day, we all want the same things, which is to feel connected and be excepted. A lot of the songs represent a longing for those things.

How does performing live compare to the experience of recording an album for you?

Karah: We are a live band at our core. It's where we show up the best, it's how we've gained a lot of our fans, and it's helped people understand the music in the most authentic way. Playing live is our bread and butter, but recording the songs is where it all starts. The studio vibe is definitely a slower pace and more inward facing. Being on the stage and on tour is a much faster pace and a more outward-facing experience.

How did it feel to perform unreleased songs from "Lost in Translation" live before the album was officially out? Did the audience's response to those songs influence your excitement or nerves leading up to the album's release?

Karah: It's honestly the best way to see how people are going to react to the songs, even though they won't necessarily know the lyrics. You can always tell when people like a song based on their engagement at the live show. Watching them soaking it all in, you can see it in their eyes. The songs where it is harder to read the audience's reactions are always the songs that slowly grow on our fans but seem to stick around for a while.

Do you have any pre-show rituals? 

Karah: Yes! We do vocal warm-ups, stretch, and then we do something called the "cinnamon roll." The "cinnamon roll" is basically a handshake where we all four put our hands together, roll them up like a cinnamon roll, and salute onto the stage.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Karah: Some of our dream collaborations are Coldplay, Fleetwood Mac, Kaytranada, and Taylor Swift. 

What's next for you guys?

Karah: We are currently in Asia on tour, and then we head down to Australia for the first time, where we'll play three shows. We're touring with Dermot Kennedy in the Fall and playing Superbloom Festival! In between touring, we'll be writing songs and living life, gathering experiences to write songs about!

Keep up with VALLEY on Spotify and Instagram. 

Alexus Vanderpool

I’m a concert enthusiast who loves tea and boybands. If I’m not at a concert I’m probably reading a book, fangirling, or jamming out to One Direction. I’m very passionate about music and love the way it brings people together. I love moments where friendships blossom over a mutual love for an artist. One of my favorite quotes is “Real bands save fans, real fans save bands.” Follow me on insta @lexi.vanderpool