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INTERVIEW: The Values

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

We’ve been happily busy! We finally finished mixing and mastering our upcoming EP, shot two music videos, and have been playing every weekend in NYC, Philly and NJ. We also can’t seem to stop writing new music, which tends to keep us feeling grounded.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Mass Destruction”?

“Mass Destruction” is one of a group of songs that’s sort of a second wave of music we started writing after our setup became fully electronic. After a couple of years of working with a bunch of different musicians, I think we’ve found the truest form of our sound. We think it represents a turning point in our sound and songwriting style.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Mason: A few months ago, I started thinking a lot about how every woman who’s a public personality is forced to publicly engage with her own sexuality in some way. Just existing as a woman means that people are going to see you as a sexual object, whether they see you as a successful sexual object (something they find sexy) or an unsuccessful one (something they don’t find sexy). Regardless of how you decide to present yourself – what kinds of clothes you wear on stage, what you sing about, how you move, etc. – you are forced to make some sort of decision about it. I obviously felt that was unfair, but it also struck me how much it goes to show the power and significance of the female body in our society. I wanted to write about my body and femme sexuality more broadly from an empowered standpoint. I wanted to write a song in which I could take that power back for myself. I like to dedicate it at our shows to the women in the audience, but also to anyone who feels that raw femme energy within themselves, whoever they are.

Evan: I really spent a lot of time on the drum samples we used for this song. I kept finding myself drawn to the 80s style gated snare so I spend a couple of weeks in the studio really nailing down a sound that gave me goosebumps.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

No, actually! But we did just film music videos for the other tracks on our upcoming EP.

How was the recording and writing process?

We had been playing the song live for a few months before recording and it always went over well, but it really flourished in the recording process. We worked with Oliver Ignatius at Holy Fang in Brooklyn on this EP, and he was so thoughtful and really helped us bring out what was special about the song. We used the Roland Space Echo on pretty much everything in the song, but Oliver had the idea to turn the actual echo effect off to give the sounds more character. We also really enjoyed using our Novation Bass Station on this track. One of our biggest concerns going into the studio was juxtaposing the energy between the verse and chorus. When the chorus comes in we wanted it to feel as if you were jumping into a pool at a party, you’re still in the same space, but everything has changed. Oliver really helped us with that and I think we made something really special.

What role does Brooklyn play in your music?

To be honest, there’s a very specific sort of grunge/surf rock sound that’s dominating Brooklyn right now, which is awesome, but very different from what we do. We tried for a few years to operate within that scene, and while we met so many great musicians and were always appreciated at shows, we never quite fit in. Instead of pushing ourselves into a seat at that table, we decided to make our own table, to book our own shows with bands that we wanted to see more of, that we thought were doing something a little different or special. Brooklyn has really driven us to be unique.

Do you tend to take a different approach when you are covering someone else rather than in your own or you usually try to pour the same old magic to everything you do no matter what?

For us, working out a cover and working out a new track are already two totally different processes. When we’re writing something new, it’s a lot of discovery, a lot of unknown variables along the way. When it comes to a cover, the material is already there, so it’s not so much a matter of discovering as it is figuring out what parts of the original we want to keep and what we want to do our own thing with. One of the tracks on the EP is a Bruce Springsteen cover, and we’re really excited about the interpretation.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

Yes! We’re always working on new material. Since we live together, we don’t have to schedule band practices, which means writing together is more of a constant process.

How’s your new EP coming along?

Mixed, mastered, and ready to go in May! We are so happy with how it came out. We think that this is the first thing either of us has released that we’ll still be listening to ten, twenty years from now.

Any plans to hit the road?

Being a duo means that our schedule is more flexible and amenable to touring. Almost every week we’re playing at least two shows out of town somewhere. We recently did a four-day stint in PA, so we’re sort of working our way out to the Midwest. We love playing house parties and other sort of DIY shows and they don’t really exist in New York so we’re always looking for interesting, different types of places to play.

What else is happening next in The Values’ world?

We have lots of new content coming out! Our EP will be released on May 11th and keep an eye out for our music video for “Civil”, lots of shows in town, and lots of out-of-town dates featuring Honey, our mini pitbull and tour mascot.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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