San Francisco, Californians Death Valley High fuse the distorted guitar riffs with over the top dance-punk beats that you'll always be at a doomsday dance party! Now that a few years have passed since their sophomore album "Doom, In Full Bloom" was released, this quartet is ready to rock n' roll with even bigger and better material with the release of their new EP and upcoming full-length. Frontman Reyka Osburn discusses the EP and other plans the guys have lined up.
1. It's been quite some time since we last heard from Death Valley High. Are you ready to spill some secrets as to what is to come?
We've been writing, refining, and recording 15 new songs. Due to some time constraints and conflicting schedules, we realized that it wasn't realistic to properly finish the entire record in 2012. Instead, we opted to release this EP to break the silence.
2. How has the band's sound evolved from Doom, In Full Bloom to Survival Program?
Everything is turned up a notch for the new songs. If it was dark, we went darker; if it was hard, we went harder; or, if it was dancy, we went dancier. Which seems to be a trend for us. The deluxe version of the EP has 3 remixes, so there's even instances where our "pretty" moments became "prettier".
3. Was your songwriting and recording process any different than usual for this release?
Not much different in songwriting. We did get a chance to work in a great studio (Fantasy Studios, Berkeley CA) which gave us space to hone in on what was indecipherable in our rehearsal space. We tend to play LOUD.
4. What inspired the title? Is it a concept album?
Since DIFB had themes of surviving various apocalyptic scenarios throughout the album, it was a conscious decision to make the new recordings reflect actually surviving an apocalypse. That, and also, to pay homage to the movie "Battle Royale", to which we owe quite a bit for inspiration.
5. Who produced the album? How did the producer aided the recording process?
I co-produced these recordings with Jesse Nichols who's worked with The Stooges, Ty Segall, etc. Jesse kept me in check while we constantly pushed each others' comfort zones. Underneath the edge and layers, you'll hear that the songs have a rawness and urgency to them.
6. You released this EP via Minus Head Records, how has your relationship with them been going for you guys?
Minus Head have been the greatest label to us. Working with Minus Head is like having tentacles for arms. It extends our reach, while mobilizing us to move in any direction we can seize an opportunity.
7. Did the band have any definitive goals they were shooting for before the recording process began for this release?
Our only goal was to take our musical concepts above and beyond all of our previous efforts.
8. Are you using any new instrumentation you've never used in the recording process before?
We're now working with sequenced synth and sampler tracks. We wanted the listener to be ambushed with more than just our normal artillery.
9. When did you start writing for this release? How was the songwriting process different/similar to previous Death Valley High releases?
We started writing in 2010 but then we hooked up with minus HEAD to release DIFB. We had to pause all writing, make a video and play shows to support its national release. When we started writing again for this record, we did the opposite and virtually stopped doing any shows. The process was a little different, since our initial deadlines to wrap this up was Fall 2012. The writing was done quickly and songs were prioritized, then chiseled down. Altogether we cut about 4 or 5 songs.
10. How was the vibe in the studio?
It all just gelled. There's always going to be moments of tension and it's great when you can sense it, take a step back, and reconvene. We had runners to get us food and/or booze, so we never had to leave our environment if we were in the groove. And there is an awesome local bar with an outside patio, just across the street. We went there when we needed get some fresh air and be outdoors; or, just to hear ourselves think.
11. Do you think this album is more or less accessible than Similarities of the Loveless & the Undead and Doom, In Full Bloom? Why?
The only reason that this album would be more accessible is if people started changing their opinions on what good and bad music is. I assume by popular opinion we would be chalked up as bad music, although I would say we should be chalked up as *honest* music. We enjoy what we make and we enjoy playing it. We're not just doing this to be famous, we'd prefer to impress ourselves and live up to our own standards first. If it translates quickly, great; if it takes pounding the streets, we welcome that too.
12. Why did it take so long to release new music and will you be releasing a new full-length anytime soon?
Touring and live shows halted the writing process. But we're on schedule to release the followup to this EP in May 2013. The new album is called PØSI†I√∑ €U†H (POSITIVE EUTH) and we're waiting to approve mixes by Eric Stenman (AWOLNATION, Thrice).
13. What are your expectations for the release?
We want to diminish any preconceived notions about us. People will know what we are, even if it annoys them. This will be a heatseeking DEATH VALLEY HIGH album.
14. Do you have any upcoming plans to tour?
We are planning on doing a tour through the south in Spring 2013; with frequent dates in California leading up to the release of PØSI†I√∑ €U†H. Then we hope to be on a wider scale tour by Summer 2013.
15. What makes you guys special and why should we check you guys out?
We're way more fucked up than any of these Nicki Minaj or Justin Beiber wannabes. We'll soothe your inner demons AND we'll make you dance!
16. Anything else you'd like to say or promote?
BUY OUR SHIT!