In an era when bands are few and far between, alternative pop-band Valley is like finding a gem among stones. The JUNO nominated group (consisting of Rob, Karah, Mickey, and Alex) skillfully balances unapologetic lyrics and melancholic vibes with upbeat tempos and hooks so catchy you can’t help but nod your head. Their latest album Last Birthday is full of earworms, with a snippet of the standout track “Like 1999” going viral (over 5 million views viral) on TikTok before it was even released. Based in Toronto, they spent the summer of 2021 playing their first US festivals (more on that below) and touring with COIN to sold-out tour dates across the US and Canada. They’re keeping the momentum going this year with their first-ever North American headlining tour and a deluxe version of the Last Birthday which contains their 3-track EP The After Party along with new acoustic songs and voice notes from recording sessions.
Music aside, the group’s natural chemistry and charm make it easy for listeners to feel connected to them. We caught up with Valley while they were rehearsing for their “I’ll Be With You” tour at the Root Down Studio in Toronto. They gave us a tour of their Jam Space where we learned Karah’s hidden Theragun hot top, met Alex’s special keyboard companion and heard them rehearse “Last Birthday.” Below, we also talk about pre-show rituals, the performance at a US festival they’ll never forget, and the things they can’t live without on tour.
What are you looking forward to most about touring again?
Ahhh it’s all so exciting. Just being in new places after being at home for pretty much two years is gonna feel really surreal. Especially this being our first ever headline tour, we feel so lucky and grateful our fans have waited this long and still bought tickets. Most of the tour is sold out so, to be honest, we’re on cloud nine right now haha.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Yes! We put all our hands together, fold them counterclockwise and yell cinnamon roll! LOL, it’s something we’ve done forever. Our good luck charm!!
What is the one thing you can’t live without on tour?
Oh I mean my phone but that’s boring! I’d like to say my own pillow from home. There’s nothing like having a piece of your bed with you, makes me feel more at home. Also, manuka honey is crucial, helps my voice so I can sing every night!! also Whole Foods hot bar lol
What’s the most memorable live performance you’ve had to date?
We played [at] a festival in California called BottleRock and it was such [a] wild day. It was our first time doing a big festival in the U.S and the whole experience was magical. So many people showed up to catch our set and knew all the words, we’ll never forget that day! It was quite the moment for us.
What is your creative process in the studio?
We’re super hands on in pretty much every step of our career and it’s been like that forever. We all produce and write our records at home. We treat the band almost like a club we show up to and create stuff. It’s almost indescribable how we work but I think that’s why it’s magic. We all contribute to lyrics, production, mixing, artwork. That whole journey is the best part. It’s the climb!!
How did ‘The After Party’ come together?
We knew the second we wrote Last Birthday that we wanted to build a unique release around it… instead of just dropping it as a single. It’s such a special song to us. We came up with the idea of a deluxe version but presented as The After Party. A continuation of the Last Birthday ep and almost a closer to the mini era we created. We included two other songs called “7 Stories” & “Paper Cup (sorry for myself)” which were very much buzzer-beaters to The After Party but felt like they belonged.
What are you hoping fans take away from ‘The Last Birthday’ & ‘The After Party’?
We’d love for fans to know that we’re so thankful for them. They’ve built such a beautiful world around our music. Last Birthday really sums up the fact that we might not be around forever but our records will be with them forever. I think that’s a big realization we had while making these eps. We’re leaving music to the world forever to be rediscovered again and again.