valley-hush

They drew us into their beguiling world with the exotic tones of ‘Sedimentary’ and we’ve been hooked ever since. We had to know out more, so we tracked down Detroit’s VALLEY HUSH to discover what went into crafting their debut album, what led them to this point, and what inspired their inventive sound. Vocalist Lianna Vanicelli revealed their secrets…

We can’t get enough of your recent track ‘Sedimentary’! We heard echoes of Grimes and Tove Lo in the track; tell us a little about what went into composing it.

The track started out as a weird beat, and we knew right away that it would be the final song on the track listing [of this year’s self-titled debut album]. It was one of those songs that gave me a ton of freedom to write vocals to. Lyrically, ‘Sedimentary’ is about how we are afraid of our feelings and how it takes something with the stature of a natural disaster to be honest and act on what we feel.

Your music is quite dreamy and experimental but you’re clearly a pop band at the core. How do you manage to strike a balance between being experimental, but still pop?

We’ve heard that a lot, and I think it’s actually what comes most natural to us. We are both huge on writing pop melodies, but when it comes to structure, we like a song to be a little unpredictable.

Congratulations on the release of your debut album! We loved the exotic sounds used in songs such as ‘Iced Cream’, ‘Concepts’ and ‘Iris’; who and what inspires you when you are writing?

Thank you! We are super inspired by nature sounds and record a lot of original samples whenever a noise, environment, or sound catches our ear, so we use a lot of those on our songs. Mostly, we just like people not knowing what exactly the sounds are that they hear; it keeps it interesting for everyone.

How did you find the process of writing your first album? Was it more difficult than you expected?

It was definitely a big endeavor, but we had so much fun with it. We [Vanicelli and producer and instrumentalist Alex Kaye] both really wanted to do an LP because it really tells a story, and it really gave a us a chance to fully express ourselves. We love working together in the studio and have really nailed a flow down. Alex produced, mixed, and mastered the album, so his relationship with the songs was a little bit more up and down since he spent an insane amount of time with them.

Liana, you have a wonderfully dextrous voice, often sounding similar to the aforementioned Grimes or Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife. Do you make conscious artistic decisions in regards to how you use your voice in each song, or is it something that is purely instinctual?

I love both of their vocals, so thank you. Actually, yes I did make a lot of conscious choices on how to use my voice in these songs. Recording is such a different game than live shows. It gives me the chance to be way more intimate, so I record with a softer voice than I use live for some of the songs, I think it has more character that way sometimes. Some of it was instinctual too, and Alex always hears things that I don’t in my voice that he’ll want to emphasize – so it’s a team effort.

What led you both to writing, singing or playing music? Is it something that has always been a part of your life?

Both of us have had a love for music since we were young. Alex started producing in his teens and I’ve been a performing vocalist since I was about 14. We are both glued to playing music, there’s nothing else we’d rather do.

How did Valley Hush start as a project? Do you feel that you have come a long way as writers and musicians since you first met?

We met through the music scene and worked together on a different project in the studio. We started Valley Hush right after we realized that we loved working with each other. I asked Alex to help me with a solo track, and it quickly turned into Valley Hush. We’ve definitely come a long way since then and want to keep pushing ourselves as writers.

The visuals for your album and video for ‘Iced Cream’ are very creative. Who was behind them? Were you involved in the process?

Jay Curtis Miller and Corinne Wiseman; we met them through Assemble Sound, a music community we are a part of here in Detroit. The storyline was Lianna’s idea, and then Jay and Corinne wrote the script and added elements. We wanted the video to reflect the darker undertones of the track, but still have a quirkiness to it, just like the song, and the project overall.

What is the creative scene like in Detroit? Is there a healthy attitude towards collaborating with projects? What is your favourite thing about the city?

Totally, the creative scene is super supportive! The music scene is pretty small, it’s an “everyone knows everyone” type of feel. It’s cheap to live here, so it’s good for artists to put their roots down. Then we have communities like Assemble Sound and Playground Detroit that help bridge the gap between our local scene and national artists, they are amazing – check them out!

Are there any experimental pop artists that we should be listening to, from Detroit or otherwise?

We love Gosh Pith, Humons, Tunde Olaniran, James Linck. All from Detroit.

Valley Hush’s self-titled debut album is available to buy now.