By Jason Hall
Two piece bands are a hard thing to pull off and get a full range of sound with. Deap Vally are one of the few who accomplish this and make it heavy. Sure there are bands like Flat Duo Jets and The White Stripes who are amazing two piece bands, but they are more straight up rock or punk at times. Deap Vally are in the same company as Big Business and Big Pig. This female duo consists of Linsey Troy on guitar and vocals and Julie Edwards on drums and vocals. The sound they pull out of their instruments makes them sound like a 4 piece band. True, Julie has had plenty of practice having previously been in the duo The Pity Party, but without Lindsey, Deap Vally wouldn’t have had the success they have now. They’ve toured with Marilyn Manson, Peaches, and just finished The Rage and Rapture tour with Blondie and Garbage.
Julie and Lindsey met at Julie’s knitting shop, The Little Knittery (present owner, Kat Coyle, is the brain behind the pussyhat). Julie had to sell off the shop since Deap Vally got so busy. Julie Edwards is also the wife of Phil Pirrone. Phil and Julie are the creators of Desert Daze. In fact, Julie will take credit for coining the name “Desert Daze.” Julie is a busy woman. She is constantly on tour. She brings their daughter with her. So to paint a perfect picture, all at the same time, she tours, is a full-time mom, and helps where she can with Desert Daze. I was thoroughly shocked when I found that she would take some time out of her schedule to have a conversation with us.
CVW: When did you start playing music?
Julie: “I always did musical theater. You know, dancing and acting. I think I started that when I was 6 years old. I didn’t start playing drums however until I was 25.”
CVW: What drummers inspired you to start playing drums?
Julie: “Carla Azar who is the drummer in my brother’s band Autolux. She also played in Jack White’s band. She is ridiculously awesome and interesting drummer. Of course John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) and Keith Moon (The Who)
CVW: How did Deap Vally form?
Julie: “I used to own a knitting shop in Atwater Village in Los Angeles. Lindsey came in to learn how to crochet so she could make some extra cash around Christmas. That’s literally how we met. She was buying yarn. She came back for a crochet lesson. Inevitably, when you’re crocheting or knitting together, you talk about everything. We realized that we were both musicians and both hit a plateau in our musical lives and were both looking for something else. She gave me her EP, which was sort of folky, but I thought she had a fantastic voice and great rhymes. I felt there was definitely some potential. The genre of the music was really different from Deap Vally. We got together to jam and knew we wanted to do something heavy like Led Zeppelin or Sabbath. We also wanted to do something confrontational and unapologetic. For our first band we actually had a bass player. Our friend Ashley Dzerigian of Filter, but she was too busy to do anything with us, so we carried on without her. It was an accident that we ended up a 2 piece. We’re always looking for a bassist, but it has to be the right person. My fantasy for many years was for our bassist to be Paz Lenchantin from Entrance Band and then she joined The Pixies. Then I figured, ‘oh man. We’ll never get her now.’ She is amazing. I’m in love with her style of playing.”
CVW: What’s your involvement with Desert Daze?
Julie: “Phil gets a lot of credit for Desert Daze… like 99% of it…”
Phil Pirrone: “I get all of it.”
Julie: “The first year was an 11 day long festival at a dive bar in Desert Hot Springs. It was free or $5.00. Phil and I planned it in this little tiny cabin in L.A. we called the ‘term less cabin.’ We sat in there all day every day getting this thing together. I’m pretty sure I coined the term ‘Desert Daze.’ I did right?”
Phil: “I don’t know…”
Julie: “I remember I did. It’s up for debate. I was really involved the first 4 years, but then I got pregnant. Between Deap Vally, the kid, and Desert Daze (my name…), something had to give. Desert Daze can survive and thrive without my involvement. Deap Vally, probably no so much, and my child, probably not so much.”
CVW: When Deap Vally formed, you hit the ground running. Were you surprised by the instant success?
Julie: “It was nice to have some success and some momentum. It was sort of ironic though. When we started this, I promised myself that I wouldn’t keep doing this if something didn’t happen after 6 months. Pity Party was a labor of love I put 7 years of my life into. It was always a struggle. It was a hard time in the economy. We couldn’t catch a break. I decided I would never do that again. I didn’t want to get burned again… then, of course, Deap Vally took off. It worked. I don’t know… maybe that’s the approach… say, ‘I’m only going to give this a certain amount of time, then I’m bailing on it.’”
CVW: With your busy schedules, have you found time to work on new music?
Julie: “Not yet. We’re too busy. Right now, Lindsey is on tour with White Lung and she flies straight to Austin to do Austin City Limits, then we fly to the desert, then back to Austin for ACL weekend 2. Then we’ll finally get some time to work on new music. We did release an unplugged EP a few months ago. It was unplugged versions of our favorite tracks off Femejism. It was acoustic guitar and brushes and our friend Andy Stavas from the band Kiev played sax. It came out so good. We love them. It’s called Femejism (Unplugged).