We had the pleasure of interviewing Valleyheart over Zoom video!
Massachusetts trio VALLEYHEART, who craft dynamic, cinematic alternative rock earmarked by lyrical eloquence and sweet melodies, recently released their second album Heal My Head, via...
We had the pleasure of interviewing Valleyheart over Zoom video!
Massachusetts trio VALLEYHEART, who craft dynamic, cinematic alternative rock earmarked by lyrical eloquence and sweet melodies, recently released their second album Heal My Head, via Tooth & Nail.
Valleyheart continue to build an emotional bond with audiences everywhere. Following the 2017 Nowadays EP, they deepened this connection with their debut album, Everyone I’ve Ever Loved, in 2018. “Friends In The Foyer” eclipsed 877K Spotify streams as the band took home “Rock Artist of the Year” at the 2019 Boston Music Awards. On its heels, the Scenery EP arrived to widespread acclaim. FLOOD noted, “they explore powerful, accessible soundscapes in an adequately sized package,” and Substream Magazine hailed them as “equal parts boldness and beauty.” Throughout 2020 and 2021, they assembled what would become Heal My Head at sessions at The Halo Studio in Portland, ME with longtime collaborator and co-producer Kevin Billingslea and at The Record Company in Boston, MA. Kevin Billingslea and Kevin Klein co-engineered, co-produced, and co-mixed the album, with a portion of the record being self-produced by Klein at his home studio.
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Hello! It is Adam. Welcome back to bringing it backwards. A podcast where both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal stories of how they achieve stardom. On this episode, we had a chance to hang out with Kevin of the band valley heart. Over zoom video. Kevin was born just outside of Queens in New York. He lived there till he's about nine years old and then moved to Boston. He got into music kind of later in his life. When his friend brought him a Metallica CD. And from there, he wanted to learn how to play guitar. He wanted to learn how to shred these Metallica riffs eventually started writing music. He talked about a hardcore band. He was in, in high school that would even tore the whole country. 6 (2m 33s): After high school. He started a solo project, which then became what is now valley heart. We talk about the first couple of records valley heart released, where they were when COVID hit and how that affected this new record, heal my head and the recent signing with tooth and nail records. You can watch our interview with Kevin on our Facebook page and YouTube channel at bringing it backwards. It would be awesome if you subscribe to our channel like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Tech-Talk at bringing back pod. And if you're listening to this on Spotify, apple music, Google podcasts, it would be awesome if you follow Sarah as well and hook us up with a five-star review, 7 (3m 15s): We'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcasts, wherever you listen to podcasts, 6 (3m 21s): We're bringing it backwards with valley heart. 8 (3m 25s): All right, how are you? 6 (3m 27s): I'm doing great, man. Thank you for doing this. How are you? 8 (3m 30s): Absolutely. I'm doing great as well. Thanks for having me. 6 (3m 33s): Of course. My name is Adam, and this is about you, your journey in music. And we'll talk about the new record coming out the beginning of next month. 8 (3m 41s): Awesome. Great meeting you. Can you hear me all right? 6 (3m 44s): Yeah. 8 (3m 45s): Perfect. Awesome. 6 (3m 47s): Awesome. Awesome. So this, like I said, this about you. So first off we always ask, where were you born and raised? 8 (3m 53s): Oh, born and raised. I was born in new Rochelle, New York, around Queens story. I grew up there till I was about nine. And then I moved to Winthrop, Massachusetts, which is right outside of Boston. And is what I've been in the Boston area since around nine or 10. And I moved to Montreal Canada last year, so, 6 (4m 14s): Wow. You're in Canada 8 (4m 15s): Now. I'm in Canada now. Yeah. 6 (4m 17s): Cool. That's awesome. 8 (4m 19s): How about yourself? 6 (4m 20s): I'm in Nashville now, but I'm originally from Southern California from San Diego. And then I moved to Tennessee, like a little like a year and a couple months ago. 8 (4m 31s): Okay, cool. 6 (4m 32s): Fresh, fresh to the south ish. Yeah. I love it here, man. It's awesome. 8 (4m 37s): Yeah. That's so cool, 6 (4m 39s): Brad. Well, so, well, I guess before we get to your boss and experience, what was it like growing up outside of Queens and New York? I mean nine, you probably have a little bit of memories from there. 8 (4m 48s): Yeah, I do. I do. We grew up in a neighborhood called Jackson Heights and I mean, I grew up in a neighborhood. I have no siblings. I'm an only child, but my parents. Yeah, good memories. I still feel connected to New York in a weird way, even though I was so young when I lived there every time I go back, which isn't too often, there's a sense of, oh wow. I was born here and had the first sort of decade of my life here. Sure. So, yeah, there's, it's changed a lot obviously as, as a lot of cities have, right. There's a lot of new businesses and just all sorts of things going on there, but it's always sort of nostalgic to go back and reminisce on those times. 6 (5m 25s): It's cool. And what about music in your household? Is that a big thing? Are family musical at all? 8 (5m 29s): Not at all, man. Yeah. I'm sort of the black sheep. When it comes to music, I was super into baseball and like my family, my dad's side was like big sports, like baseball, like baseball player. It was like super instant, New York myths. And you know, the music thing kind of came out of nowhere in seventh grade. I, my, my friend showed me a Metallica song. 6 (5m 54s): Like, 8 (5m 55s): Dude, you gotta check this out. And, and I remember watching the solo to one of their songs and I was like, whoa, like I want to do that. And you know, always, always like in love the music, but I grew up in like a pretty Christian household where like a lot of the stuff I was listening to is like Christian music. And didn't really branch out of that until like middle school, high school. So sort of yeah. Found a lot of it on my own and, and not a lot of sort of roots with like musicianship or even like parents being into records, anything like that. It was kind of just through friends and friend group and then eventually playing touring and just learning about music that way. Yeah. 6 (6m 35s): Cool. You talked about baseball. Is that something that you did through middle school and high school or 8 (6m 41s): Literally into middle school? And then there was actually a summer, I think it was eighth grade or ninth grade where I was, I had started getting into music and there was sort of this overlap and affinities as you do have as a child, you're like, oh, okay. I want to I'm baseball. Like, that's it like tunnel vision and then started getting into music and stopped practicing stuff, really showing up to like the prac you know, the optional practices and just write R and guitar and then eventually writing songs. And then from there, I remember there was a, there was a day I was just sitting in the dugout and I was like, I don't think I want to do this anymore. I just want to, I want to do me, someone play music. I want to be home. 6 (7m 20s): That must've been a pretty difficult day though. I mean, I remember as a kid putting baseball, like it was a big, I didn't play like that long, but I mean, it was like, like go to your family and be like, you know what? I really, especially the amount of time you've invested in it to be like, you know what, I'm, you know, I don't really want to continue doing this. Was that a difficult conversation to have? 8 (7m 42s): I think it wasn't difficult, but it was definitely interesting. Cause again, I kind of lived my mind as my dad would say, now I was living, eating and breathing baseball. Like I was your kid that like knew your facts. And like Cal Ripken Jr. Was on the Orioles from this year to this year, I had the baseball cards, I was obsessed and kind of found myself in those obsessive tropes as a kid of just really getting into certain stuff. So I think my parents were just my dad's specifically. I was like, okay, like it's more of like, the music thing will be a phase, right. And one that maybe you'll grow out of. And I had my stint with skateboarding as well and sort of grew up and music just kind of stuck in a way that it never left my so 6 (8m 24s): Sure. I feel like it was hard, 8 (8m 26s): But it was, it was sort of like cool, like it stuck around. So 6 (8m 28s): Yeah, it was this something that you will became, like you moved that obsession over to music. It's like, I got to learn everything about this. I want to know all about that. Okay. 8 (8m 37s): Yeah. I sort of have still to this day, that sort of obsessive nature about learning about new things, whether now it's like photography that I've kind of picked up during the last couple of years or like learning a new language where I started trying to learn French seriously the last couple of years. So I'd sort of get in that mode of like something new and like really committing to like learning as much as I can about it. 6 (8m 58s): That's awesome. I feel like we're similar in that way, but I would just like, not in that, like where I'll progressively move on, but it was like skateboarding for me. Like I knew all the guys and all the teams that people will skate it for what companies, all these guys rode for. Like all the same thing. And it was when it came to music. I don't play music, but I just became obsessed with the, I tried, I'm not good. And I could realize that very early on, but I would like pick up facts. Like, I'd remember like, oh, so-and-so is on this record. I'd like nerd out on like the, you know, liner loads and stuff. 8 (9m 29s): It's fun. And it gives you an end point to information, right? Where it's like, you now have an industry or a field that you can throw yourself into and learn about and learn about the players and the history. And I loved history as a kid. So I think a lot of it has to do with that. Just like learning about how things turned out, the way they were and why, and what was, you know, what proceeded that and really interesting to see how that, all that stuff plays out. 6 (9m 53s): So with that Metallica, what was the first on? What Metallica song was it? 8 (9m 57s): It was a one. 6 (9m 59s): Oh, okay. 8 (10m 0s): Yeah. It was one, yeah, Intel. It goes like one of the first bands that like really got into the, you know, it's just funny. Not that I, they still do their thing, but I don't really listen to that style of music or stuff anymore. Like pretty hard to telecom. 6 (10m 14s): Okay. So it was one. And then did you get a guitar pretty quickly after that? I mean, it sounds like you were watching the guitar solo and being like, whoa, I want to be the guitar. I want to be a guitar player. 8 (10m 24s): Well, it's funny because of that sort of phase nature that I was talking about with being into skateboarding and sports and then this and that. When I brought up the idea of buying a guitar to my parents, they were kind of apprehensive because they were thinking, oh, we're going to drop all this money on an amp and a guitar and lessons and all this stuff. And they were like, you know what, Kevin, I don't know we're gonna, we can't just give you a guitar. I mean, we didn't grow up super wealthy. So it wasn't like I could just ask for a guitar and it was there. It was like up and all that stuff. So I actually took it to prove to them that I was committed. I remember I used, I would cut out. I would watch these videos on Comcast music video on demand. That was like a season of life where like Comcast would do these videos. 8 (11m 6s): And I would watch these videos, watch the guitar solos and walks these like online lessons on my TV. And I would cut out these paper cutouts of like a fret board. I literally cut like a long fret board and tape pieces together and drew six strings on there and started like learning chords on the actual paper before I got the guitar. Just so I could like get a head start if I got a guitar, I could show that I was like, no, no, no, like I'm serious. I'm interested. So I did that for a while and my parents like, okay, I think we're going to have to get him a guitar for Christmas. 6 (11m 39s): Wow. That's cool. I've never heard of them. I've never heard of anyone doing that, but did it help at all? Like when you got the guitar or was it like, oh wow. I've got to push the strings down. My fingers hurt. Yeah. 8 (11m 47s): Yeah. I mean, from the sensor, I think it showed my motivation and showed her that I was into it. Logistically speaking. I don't think there was any benefit to it. I will say, I think I realized two months into getting my guitar, that my guitar had been out of tune the whole time. Like I didn't oh, it tuning was like sorta missed that episode. 6 (12m 9s): What's this guy got this machine for. 8 (12m 13s): I don't know. This sounds, this sounds weird. And, and yeah, it's, it's funny, but it, it all worked out so 6 (12m 20s): Sure. Okay. So then when you finally get the guitar and you, you know, realize that baseball, isn't something you want to continue with, or you writing songs at this point? Like how quickly did you try to write your own music or were you learning covers right away? Or how did you kind of start? 8 (12m 35s): I was mostly seventh grade, eighth grade, just learning covers into like a lot of metal stuff instead of system of a down that's Halakha 6 (12m 45s): We were learning to play these metal songs and guitar. Wow. Because the band doesn't sound like that. 8 (12m 50s): Oh, no. Not at all. Not at all. Yeah. That's that's 9 (12m 53s): Here's to the great American settlers, the millions of you who settled for unsatisfying jobs because they pay the bills. Of course, there is something else you could do. If you got something to say, start a podcast with speaker, from my heart and unleash your creative freedom. Maybe even earn enough money to one day. Tell your old boss a I'm no settler. I'm an Explorer. speaker.com S P R E K E R a salon over today. 10 (13m 24s): The general insurance presents shower ballots by shack. It turns out everyone does some better in the shower. And it turns out the general is a quality insurance company. 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If either team hits a three in any NBA playoff game, visit bed mgm.com for terms and conditions. 21 years of age or older, the wager Washington DC, only new customer offer. 0 (14m 36s): All promotions are subject to qualification and eligibility requirements rewards issued as non withdrawal, free bets or site credit free bets expire seven days from issuance, please gamble responsibly gambling problem. Call 1 805 2, 2 4700. 8 (14m 51s): The weird thing about it. I loved that stuff and that would, that's what got me into guitar altogether. So I wasn't even like songwriting. I bought an acoustic way later. I had an electric. I have I've been as sort of 6 (15m 4s): A, there you go. 8 (15m 5s): Yeah, it was, it was very, I still have 6 (15m 6s): Trenching. 8 (15m 9s): So I spent a lot of time doing that and started writing songs in high school for my girlfriend at the time, and sort of that morphed into writing songs about life and love and loss. And, and then through that, I mean, I started listening to more music and broadening, you know, the palette as they say, but a lot of it started off as like, cool, I'm going to learn a metal song and like learn the solo, learn this riff. Like it was lots of rifts. It was just rich Agios. And, and that sort of morphed into, I played in like a Christian metal core band in high school too. Like, you know, your, your sort of heavier stuff too. 8 (15m 50s): So there's definitely a background in like heavy music, but 6 (15m 53s): That was a whole scene for a long time. I mean, maybe it still is ish, but like, I mean, there's a bunch of huge bands that were coming out that were like, you know, in that same time, I mean, you guys are signed to, to, to the nail, which was kind of like the pinnacle of all of that in the beginning, which is huge, but I mean, it's, that must be a trip for you to even be on that label. I would thing if you're into some of those bands, 8 (16m 15s): It is heavily into those bans. Later after middle school, there was like the high school years were started getting into under oath and like more like post hardcore stuff. And yet to fail was, was, was very, very involved in that sort of whole process into really. So, yeah, it's definitely a trip and it's very full circle and it's really cool to see them sort of growing and moving on and how we're a part of that was sort of their new endeavors. So it's been really, really cool. 6 (16m 45s): Yeah. It's really cool to see that that live will grow and do what it's doing. A good friend of mine, actually, my neighbor, he works for them. We, I'm curious if you know, I'll talk to you about him after, but yeah, yeah. He works for to the now and mainly on the, the gut, the gospel side of the label, the BC. Yeah. But yeah. Anyway. Yeah, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. It doesn't even matter. I've brought them up on this show before, but anyway, it's so, so you're in this Christian hardcore band. And then when, like, was that something that you did through high school? And then what about when college comes around? 6 (17m 26s): Are you, do you go to school for music or do you go to school and like, how does your musical life kind of evolve from there? 8 (17m 34s): Did there all throughout high school did the touring thing with those guys? 6 (17m 39s): Oh, you taught in high school. 8 (17m 41s): I mean, we went pretty hard. We, we thought we were going to be the next under oath for 6 (17m 46s): Sure. 8 (17m 47s): And sort of gave our all in that era of life and glad we did. I mean, some, so many of the people, I still talk to you today around the United States. I mean, I met in like high school touring with that band. 6 (17m 59s): That's crazy. Like how big of a tours were you guys doing? 8 (18m 2s): There were out to like Texas and back from ANSYS, you, since they were like month long tour, we would just, our summer vacations would be just touring. 6 (18m 10s): Wow. And your parents were supporting of this. That's so awesome. 8 (18m 14s): You're the guys of your you're like using your band to like bring Jesus? 6 (18m 23s): No, no, sure. Yeah. Yeah. 8 (18m 26s): Right. 6 (18m 26s): So that makes sense. Yeah. 8 (18m 28s): So there was that extra layer of justification of like, okay, we get it, which was cool, but very, very interesting to think about the level of like trust and, and sort of experiences we have at such a young age. But yeah, it was cool. I mean, still think back on some of those memories, very fondly and those guys, but yeah. Moved on from that. Didn't go to, so I almost went to Berkeley, got in ready to go 6 (18m 57s): For guitar or what were you going for 8 (18m 60s): For guitar. And I just had this moment of freaking out about like the price of student loans and like what I was trying to accomplish. Like, do I need this and had this like moment where I was like, you know what, I don't think I'm going to do it. So actually didn't end up going and sort of just went straight into the music world workforce, et cetera. So yeah, it didn't do anything from college, but just kept doing music, kept writing. And then at that point I started writing more solo music and that project eventually became what valley heart was, who had a lot of the members from that old band from the solo project is sort of morphed into this like rock band that like cool sort of leveled out. And it's like an in-between the, like all the influences that we had been loving of, more like rock heavier stuff, and also more singer songwriter, folk sort of blending all those elements. 8 (19m 48s): And that's definitely where valley heart was born from. 6 (19m 51s): Amazing. Well with that, the band from high school, what was your role with the guitar? Were you the guitar player? Oh, okay. So you didn't have clean vocals. I was wondering if it was like heavy cause obviously your, your band now you're not really, I mean, there's a little bit of it, but not so much, especially in the two new songs that I've heard. Okay. So you did sing sing. And when did you realize that you could sing? I mean, you have a great voice. 8 (20m 17s): Thank you. It was pretty later. It was just primarily a guitarist for a long time. And in that band I was just singing sort of background harmonies. And then I started getting more confident in my voice and my song writing and those kinds of parallels and started writing more songs and singing more and it turned into, oh, Kevin can sing and sort of that shift happening. It's a weird shift where you're like, oh, like I do this now, you know? Right, 6 (20m 40s): Right. 8 (20m 40s): It's like, it's like almost like the language thing too. It's like, oh, I speak this language now. It's like, when do you say that? Cause it's always a learning process. And I still feel, I'm learning about my voice and, and trying to ameliorate my tone and all that stuff. So, but at some point I was like, oh, I'm gonna do this. I can do this, I guess, 6 (20m 57s): Where you just writing. Like, so once you decided to defer from going to Berkeley and you're like, I'll just going to do this music thing myself. Like where you, like, how did you never, was it just like, I'm going to start writing songs, the singer songwriter did that band eventually like dissolve and like how did you end up becoming more doing more of the solo stuff, which ended up becoming now valley hard? 8 (21m 19s): Yeah. I think there did the solar thing and I still have some solo music in the works for a different project. But at that time it was very full band sounding, solo music that I think at one point with the guys were playing with were like, I think this feels more like a band, so let's transition it to that space. And that project kind of took a pause for awhile and just sort of naturally morphed into to valley heart stuff in 2016, which is when we started the band and yeah. Still write songs for the solo stuff. But haven't really been focusing on that since Vallarta has been the priority. 8 (22m 1s): So yeah, they kind of, they're kind of parallel projects, but it it's always been like a weird or a sort of a unique focus of, of which one we're going to focus on now or later. 6 (22m 11s): Sure, sure. Was there, like, what was, what'd you say like a validating or like a big milestone moment was either prior to valley heart starting or right. When you guys started that continue, like kept you moving forward. Like once you finished high school and you're like, okay, I'm going to start doing this singer songwriter thing. And there were more full band thing. Like, was there moments that kept you going forward or I'm sure there had to be like peaks and valleys and where like at one point you were like, eh, like, is this worth continuing or, 8 (22m 39s): Oh yeah. Till this day, man. Absolutely. I feel like that is the journey of music for a lot of people, you know? And, and the journey of, of just doing any creative endeavor of moments, where there are these highs and sometimes the highs aren't like you sold X amount of records. It's the highs are someone messaging you saying, Hey, your song helped change my life for, it was like a soundtrack for summer 2019 or like what was played at my, you know, my spouse and I wedding. Like these moments are like, wow, like this piece of art that we've made is like helping or impacting or adding an inspiring people's lives. And I think that till this day is what's kept me going, but it's, it's, there's definitely valleys of, of it being hard just to do some times and logistically to keep going. 8 (23m 26s): And, but I think as long as we're growing and still finding people to have those conversations with and writing honest music that connect with people that is sort of been the fuel to the machine that is pursuing music for me always. Yeah. It was just still writing music that seem to connect to in that way, which is kind of always the driving force, just maybe through different mediums to different genres in the last 10 to 15 years. But that is definitely at the heart of what music I write. I think I, it was an interview with your I've read something or a quote of yours, or you talked about like success and what that meant. And it was like, use like kind of what you just said as far as like record sales or whatever goes. 8 (24m 10s): It was like being able to do this, like just this, right. Like doing this as you're you're you're able to like live and play music. Yeah. Yeah. And that's some it's, I don't know how it happens. It's still a miracle in me, but the fact that it's happening is really cool, but yeah, not to romanticize it. There's there's often these valleys of should she, like, this is a lot, like, this is a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of risks. So it's a balance that I think a lot of musicians go through and I try to talk about it as much as I can, because I think it's easy for people to look. I mean, I do this with people, right. Where you look at what someone else has got going on. And you're like, wow, like they they're on the rise. 8 (24m 51s): Like they got it down, you know, whether it's through music or life or relationships. But I find that when you sit down with people and you talk to them, everyone's like, ah, like, it's great. But there are moments where it's hard and there are moments where you're doubting. If this is the path or you're having a tough week or a tough day. So yeah, that has definitely been the experience, but all in all, it's still sort of propels me to move forward. 0 (25m 15s): There's never been a better time to find out why bet MGM is the king of sports books. Download the bet MGM app and place a $10 Moneyline wager on any NBA playoff game. If either team hits a three-pointer in the game, you'll win $200 in free bets. Just use code capital 200 when you make your first bet, sign up now and discover bet MGMs daily promotions, boosted odd specials, and more. Download the app or go to bet. mgm.com and use code capital 200 to win $200 in free bets. 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So once the band go, or once you start valley heart, then obviously you're signed to tooth and nail. Was that something that happened later down the line? Like what was the first like once the band's going? Like, how does the band really get off the ground? Are you touring again right away? It sounds. I mean, since you had that experience, do you guys go to the studio and record something? Like, how do you, you know, initially start the band? 8 (28m 4s): Yeah. In 2016 we wrote an IEP and we recorded it and started just playing locally. And then through that, I think developed a small following of people who were into us locally, but also regionally through streaming and people finding us online. And then that got re-released then following year in 2017 with two new songs. And that was the now-a-days EAP. And then from there just kept, wrote our first full length record and then recorded that in 2018. And then also put that out in 2018. And then I feel like that record is really what put us in sort of people's purview of that. 8 (28m 46s): I dunno. Just, I feel like everyone shits on albums a lot nowadays and like the importance of albums and all this stuff. My ex my personal experience has been when I, whenever we've put out an album, which is for this project just once, but I've done it with my old band. There seems to be, that really seems to propel a lot of artists forward in the long run. Maybe not right away. Cause it's like a lot of music and maybe like a single blowing up, it feels like a bigger thing, but I feel like an album produces or introduces an opportunity for people to really sort of like, oh, I get what's going on here. Like I see the parallels. I see the story they're trying to tell. There's just more of the identity of that artist there. So I feel like after that first record, people were like, oh wow. 8 (29m 27s): Like, okay, I sort of understand what valley heart is and sort of slowly but surely started seeing people get into that album and being interested in what we were doing. And I don't know, that record seemed to really connect with people in a unique way, especially about concepts of faith. And I feel like that was the big thing that that definitely helped keep it moving along. And then we released an EAP last year and again, the EAP was great, but we're really excited to release this second record out in a little bit. Cause I feel like it's a continuation of that story from the first record. And I think it's going to be really exciting to see how it, how it intersects with people's lives. 6 (30m 7s): I love it. It's interesting that you said I haven't heard that perspective, but it makes sense with an album being more of like connecting with the band and really understanding what the band is about because it's, you're you're right on when it comes to having a song that streams well or a song that blows up on Tik TOK. Yeah. I mean, especially in nowadays in the current, you know, industry, I would think like if you had a song that you put out and it got 5 million streams in the first two weeks, that'd be great, right? Like people are gonna be like, oh blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But then it's like, now what? Like, you're not like if you have a record that people like you have 200,000 people that are like, wow, this whole album's incredible. 6 (30m 48s): And they're willing to spend 15, 20 bucks to go see you now because they have, they know more than just the one single that you have out. Like that's such a better position to be in. And I think you have more of a connection with people verus like it just because you have a huge single doesn't mean that you're going to go out and play, you know, a 10,000 seat venue just because you've sold one, you have one song that people know. 8 (31m 10s): Absolutely. And I've had friends, who've had songs blow up on playlists and stuff like that. And you know, they couldn't even sell 50 tickets in our hometown. You know, it's a weird doesn't map. Add up, don't get me wrong. It's super cool. And I'm not one of those guys that's like, oh yeah, like we got to get away from that. And like songs blowing up on tape. It's like, dude, that's great. And like that provides a lot of joy for people's lives and like that's super cool. I just feel like for us, the journey that we're on, like, what I'm trying to do is maybe just like a slower cook and just, just sort of digging those roots a little deeper and hope hoping fingers crossed that it'll pay off. 6 (31m 49s): No, for sure. And I'm not trying to downplay people's songs blowing up on tick-tock or whatever, but it's just like, I feel like for longevity, you'd probably rather be in the position of, I have this album. Maybe I have, you know, a third of the streams that maybe one person's one song halves, but I know that these are people that have invested in my band are willing to show up. I, I, you know, I, I can see physical people that are connecting with the record. I mean, I'm sure that's just has to be such a different, you know, feeling 8 (32m 20s): Definitely, definitely, and very thankful to have his experiences still. And so no matter, no matter what scale, right. Zuora is like, well, it could be more of those people, but it's like, well, at what point is it enough? You know? So that's a constant thing where it's like 6 (32m 33s): Probably never, right. I mean, 8 (32m 36s): Huge artists that blows up. There's still like Dua Lipa. You know what I mean? There's one that has two thirds more than you technically, unless you're like, you know, Justin Bieber or something. So I dunno, it's the idea of scalability and contentment and how those two things relate has been something I've just thought about so long. Cause you're like, cool. Like this blows up to like a point that a rock band can blow up. What does that mean in my life? All of a sudden happy and content with the things I have in life. Probably not like they'll probably be something new if I'm not having my contentment under control and like rooted in the right things. That's not going to just get fixed when something like happens, you know? 8 (33m 17s): So I try to think about that stuff. I always, I don't all the time feel like I have it down, but it's something I definitely try to keep it into perspective as, as we put out music and just live life. 6 (33m 28s): Sure. Yeah. It's like, you obviously don't want to be, you're not going to take these things for granted or like, but you always want to still look forward because it's like, you're not going to stay stagnant and like, okay. You know, I'm comfortable with the fact that I put out this one record and it did great. Like as a creative person, you've got to always be looking like, okay, well now what am I going to do? What can I do next? Like I want to re even it doesn't even have to come down to the numbers and the people, but it's like, it's always for yourself. I'm sure it's like, I want to write a better record than this past record or I'm going to work on sorting. Cool. 8 (34m 1s): Yeah. And that parallels a big thing of life, just the dichotomy of contentment and change where there's this constant struggle of all right. I need to be content with what I've done, what I've made, who I am, the choices I've made, but also live in a space where I want to get better and improve and grow. But I find when I'm too much on that other side, I'm like, I just need to grow. Like I find myself forgetting to be grateful for the things, but then sometimes you can get sort of stagnant, like he said, so it's this constant balance of accepting the things you can't control. But then also realizing like, oh, there's still some fire in me to like to grow and to make something new and to maybe change some things, you know? 6 (34m 40s): Yeah. No, totally, totally makes sense. When did you guys start the conversation with tooth and nail? Was that pretty early on? Like did they put out nowadays? Is that why you said they, you rerelease the record with two additional songs, so that's just something that you guys chose to do. 8 (34m 54s): Oh, 6 (34m 54s): Okay. Sorry. 8 (34m 55s): You've been now more recently. Yeah. This is actually our first race with them. 6 (34m 60s): Oh, wow. 8 (35m 0s): Okay. Yeah. So this is pretty, this is all new. This is feeling fresh. It's feeling good. We started chatting a long time ago just because these conversations take so much time by the time you sort of solidify things, but they reached out, I think in 2019 or 18. And we talked for a long time and talked about 6 (35m 19s): The stuff for the success of that, that first album. I 8 (35m 22s): Think so. Yeah. I would assume that that's what sort of got our record on their desk if you will. Yeah, I believe so. And then from there, yeah, we started writing and, and so this next album here in my head will be the first thing we released with them and it's really, they've been nothing but awesome so far and just supportive and really cool. 6 (35m 44s): That's amazing. That's amazing. So where were you guys in 2020 when the pandemic hit? Like if you had that record out, were you able to toward enough, I mean 2018 and then you're in a conversation if the conversation starts with, through the nail and then it's like the world comes collapsing. And then where were you as far as where this records writing process was? Yeah. Like tell me where you were. 8 (36m 5s): Funny thing about that first record that we put out, everyone I've ever loved was put out in the middle of December, 2018. Like album of the year lists had been done the label that we were on, they not to like shit on them or anything, but it was sort of a situation where they just kind of were like, we're going to just put it out. And it was sort of happenstance and sorta just like, oh yeah, like we'll just put it out. And there was no press, there was just nothing like just not a good release cycle, like nothing planned. And they were just kind of like, yeah, like it didn't really do anything. 8 (36m 46s): And I was like, okay. And I wanted to print vinyl because people started slowly like through the course of 2019 people started getting into it. But it wasn't, it was your perfect situation of it. Wasn't like a big hit at first. And then like people got into it. It was this like thing that came out very quietly. And then just through time it started spreading. I just saw people talking about it and, and, and then we figured out a way to be able to make vinyl ourself for it. 6 (37m 12s): Oh, I was going to say, I think I've seen photos on your Instagram where you have like a white vinyl. 8 (37m 16s): Yeah. Yeah. Well, the label was like, Hey, we don't, we don't think it'll sell. And I was like, I think it will. But I was like, Hey, that's fine. You don't have to do it, but can we do it? And they were like, yeah. So it worked out. I mean, we're on our, we've just sold out our second pressing huge, which is great, which has been really cool to see like, wow, like people are into it and you know, yeah. It goes to show that you just do what feels true to your heart and cheesy as that sounds like it will reach the people that it needs to reach and you will find your people. So that came out and didn't do much touring. Did, did a couple tours, did some east coast stuff, some Midwest stuff. 8 (38m 1s): And then late 20, 19 into 2020, we had put, we were writing that EAP, but that was kind of a weird time where we were in some transitions of members and it was kind of a good time to figure out what we were going to do. But then into early 2020, we had our band set again and started writing and right when the pandemic hit, it was like, well, I guess we're, we're really writing. There's no choice here. Right, 6 (38m 27s): Right, 8 (38m 27s): Right. So yeah, I mean, this album is definitely, as a lot of albums are coming out from various artists now a pandemic record that we wrote all of 20 into 2021 and recorded this time last year, 2021. So yeah, a lot of it came from that time of, I mean, I remember having practices in early 2020 where we didn't even touch each other. Right. We were just in rooms, all distant masks on like, you know, we were all sort of pretty distant, but excuse me. But yeah, we did a lot of the writing in 20 20, 20, 21. 6 (38m 59s): Okay. I mean, you, you talked about how this record is kind of the next chapter. Isn't the next chapter kind of the, the next part of the story from the, the first album, like in that sense? Like what, like, can you kind of talk about that a little bit? 8 (39m 13s): Yeah, absolutely. The first album, everyone I've ever loved really resonated with people that grew up in the church because a lot of those songs were about experiences. I had growing up in evangelical Christianity growing up with sort of that background and faith and, and the identity that comes with that being really, really rooted in that. And you know, it's funny, a lot of people now seem to be like, oh, like that is, there's this word deconstruction. That's like going around sort of a buzzword right now. And I'm like, oh, this, this album was written for like a deconstruction Anthem or something like that. Where, you know, at the time it was just writing about what I was going through and no intention to write a, a church album or anything like that. 8 (39m 59s): Looking back now, it's, it's one of those cool things that happens with records or any form of art, I think where like you have an intention in making it, you have a vision, you do it, and then you take a step back or like time passes. And you're like looking at it, like hanging on the wall. And you're like, oh, like, that's what that is. Like, I didn't really see that when I was making it. But like now I really see what it is, you know? 6 (40m 17s): Right. 8 (40m 18s): So there was this like, oh, wow, like this album is about identity and it is about your formative experiences and how there comes a point usually in your early twenties or mid twenties where you are faced with the choice to what do you keep from that? And what do you challenge? And, and that dissonance of the space between those two things can be really hard and can drive you into some pretty dark places, whether it's in Christianity or in Buddhism, or whether it it's in fundamentalism or any sort of set of beliefs that you're sort of instilled as a young person. So this next album, although it is not about evangelical Christianity is still about identity and it is still about understanding our place in the universe and how it's still a guest. 8 (41m 11s): And it's still something that we're all living with. We're all living our lives and we're doing our things, but there's the way of all these questions we have about our formative experiences stuff we go through now, the griefs, the losses, the joys that we have in our life. And this album still sort of, when you walk away from that thing altogether that you grew up with, where do you land? And I don't think this album is saying I land anywhere, but it is still exploring the idea of where do you put your hope into 6 (41m 39s): <inaudible>. And that makes a lot of sense. And with, with that, like, I mean, do you feel as if having a lot of time on your hands to kind of reflect on, you know, your, the past album and then like, I mean, I'm, I'm saying time on your hands with the pandemic, you know, shutting down the world and it's like, there's no real, like, time stamp on, like, we got to get this record out in six months because the label and we got a tour support, blah, blah, blah. I mean, do you feel like you had more time to kind of sit with those ideas and then was it like hard to be vulnerable with the record or, you know, when it came to, to that piece, was that difficult for you? 8 (42m 17s): Absolutely. I mean, yeah, it was one of the main motifs on the record is the concept of time and how it can get warpy and loopy and spooky when you are going through certain situations and time can feel long or time can feel short and life could feel like it's moving fast or it could feel like it's moving slow. So to write about that, when we had this sort of time of just pause was really interesting. And I think for a lot of us, it caused a lot of self-reflection and sort of dealing in a pruning things that we were sort of, you used busy-ness right as like a drug to like distract us. And there was just things you had to face and definitely experienced that personally. 8 (42m 57s): And a lot of the songs on this record are about uprooting those things. But yeah, it was, it was a crazy experience to be able to do that during the pandemic as froze for a lot of people. And, and I think the idea of time and having too much of it, or not enough for the feeling of how we spend our time and the anxiety around it and, and all of this stuff is, is definitely sort of the bedrock of what this record is about. And, and one of the lyrics that kind of comes up again and again on the record is take all the time that you want, which happens in a few songs and wanted to sort of, yeah. Introduce the idea of feeling like time is short. Life is short, but also if you live in the prison of that idea, you can feel claustrophobic walking through this life that requires you to maybe think, okay, I need to let myself grow and breathe and give time, you know, just to remind people like we have time yet. 8 (43m 52s): It is at the same, in the same hand, it is very fleeting. 6 (43m 56s): Sure, sure. Was there a particular song on the record that was like really kind of difficult to address the subject matter? Or like, you know, like once you got out the, the lyrics or whatever the song are you like, you know, like I'm so happy that that's finally like a weight lifted off me. 8 (44m 15s): Absolutely. Yeah. There are two songs in particular, but one of them is called warning signs. It's the eighth track on the album. Okay. And it is, 15 (44m 30s): Hey son, how are you feeling? 16 (44m 34s): I find pops 15 (44m 35s): What's on your mind. 17 (44m 36s): I just, 16 (44m 38s): I can't explain it. 18 (44m 47s): Who you talk to 19 (44m 48s): When your kid can't find the language up and find the lyrics, listen to the sounded out album and get tips and tools to start a conversation. It sounded out together brought to you by ad council and Pinnell ventures. 15 (45m 0s): Hey son, how are you feeling? 16 (45m 3s): I'm find pops 15 (45m 5s): Was Sonia mind? 17 (45m 7s): Just, 16 (45m 8s): I can't explain it. 18 (45m 16s): Can I ask who you talk to 19 (45m 18s): When your kid can't find the language, help them find the lyrics, listen to the sounded out album and get tips and tools to start a conversation. It sounded out together brought to you by ad council and Padilla ledgers 8 (45m 30s): Stuff I was going through during the pandemic and a little bit before some just that's up, you're talking about of shame and all those heavy emotions that you could go through your life sort of living and not really opening those, those doors to boxes, but having to do it during the pandemic and warning signs was about sort of navigating that process of opening up those things. But at the same time, having like a partner, like being in a relationship and how there's a temptation to not be vulnerable and to sort of think I'm better off dealing with this on my own, like this is, this is a mess. I don't want to drag anyone else into this situation. 8 (46m 10s): And that song was just about how do I love someone when I am figuring out I haven't fully been able to love and forgive myself. So to, to write that one from that perspective and, and, you know, I honestly like to be very candid. I was like, I was struggling with like suicide stuff and, and never, never had been in that place. And like had a new level of understanding of, of one night of writing that song and being in that really dark place. So to write that song every time I hear it, even though it's one of the brightest sort of songs on the album, it's like sort of poppy definitely has the darkest. 8 (46m 52s): It reminds me of a very dark place, but it also encourages me of like, wow, I got out of that. And there was a, there's a line on that song that says, but this won't be the end to my truth at the edge of my mind on the news. And I know this is all very heavy stuff and I have, 6 (47m 7s): Oh, no, no, no, don't apologize. Cause this is well, I mean, like personally I relate to this, this like, like on a very real level, like, I mean, hearing you say that it's like for me to listen to you say that it's like, oh, well, at least I'm not alone in that situation. Like I have the same thing, you know, you carry all this shame and this guilt. And it's like, if I can't live myself, like how am I supposed to, you know, bring them my wife and my kids and all this stuff. And it's like, you're trying to do this balancing act. And the fact that like, I mean that last line you just recited to me, I'm like, whoa, like that's so powerful. 8 (47m 37s): Yeah. Yeah. And that's what that song was. It was sort of letting out all those questions. And, but at the same time, this proclamation that I'm gonna just keep fighting, fighting for that person fighting for vulnerability. Although I'll be at how hard it is. And I think that's a big theme on the record too. And in the song, vampire smile as well, which is the fifth song that also talks about vulnerability and sort of showing your mistakes and like accept the big thing is about accepting that guilt and shame and, and, and forgiving yourself for it and learning from it and moving on from those patterns and how it relates in relationships to yourself and to others. So yeah, those two, but specifically warning signs that it's song, that one felt like whenever I listened back, it feels like a moment in time that was really put onto the page and really emotionally charged there. 8 (48m 29s): Yeah. 6 (48m 29s): Well, I mean, do, thank you so much for sharing that. Like I said, like a it's, it is something it's interesting. Cause I, my therapist has told me a bunch of times, like if so-and-so did this to you, like wouldn't, would you care? Like, would you be thinking about it later? Or would you use the polyp, like accept their apology and move on? And I'm like, well, yeah, just accept their apology and move on. And they're like, well, why can't you, you do that for anything about yourself. Like why, when you do something, you just beat yourself up and you can't like, let it like just, and forgive yourself and go on. And it's like, I don't know. I can't, it just gets you thinking about those. 8 (49m 1s): Right. Absolutely. And I started therapy 2019 as well and have maintained. So my therapist has said the exact same thing and it's true. And I think it has to do with us being the main character all in our own lines. Right. You know, and in a movie, if the main character goes through a situation or like one of the extras happens in the background, you're like, oh, you're, you know, okay. But there's something about that sort of main character syndrome, which not that shame is rooted in narcissism, but I think there's a relationship between once you realize like, Hey, we're all in this together. We all have a level of, of darkness. We have to deal with. At some point I can't hold myself to that standard merely because if everyone held that to themselves, that standard, no one would move on. 8 (49m 46s): Like we wouldn't have a functioning society, you know, but we just need to be vulnerable about these things and talk about them. And this is why I love stuff. Like this is why I feel less alone when I'm able to talk about it, whether it's through music. And that was a big goal for this album was just to be able to talk about places like that and that, Hey, like you're not alone in that. You know? 6 (50m 5s): And I think that's the, yeah. The biggest thing people are going to resonate with, especially like hearing that conversation or hearing you say that it's like, oh, well, oh, this person also feels like that. Like, okay, now I have some, like, you know, it makes, you know, you'd feel. And like you said, not alone. I think that's in the way that you, I mean, I haven't heard that song, but I've heard the two songs that you've released thus far off the record. And I was in, I love that you, you know, back that with, well, if you hear the song, it's more like upbeat and like pop, like not popular, but like, like it's a brighter sound. And I was singing that when you were talking about it, I'm like, well, the, the, the numbers and the most recent one, I've just blanked. Oh, your favorite jacket. 6 (50m 46s): Like, those are like brighter, like upbeat ish, you know, more upbeat songs. And I feel like that's kind of what you guys deliver on with, with your sound and your, in your style, but having that kind of undertones dark, you know, like yeah. You know what I mean? Kind of Matt not masking it, but you're kind of wrapping it up nicely to present it in a way where it's like, I'm not going to be, you know, yeah. This is deep and dark and blah, blah, blah. But here is a way to digest it and this, 8 (51m 15s): Yeah, 6 (51m 16s): Definitely no more melodic way. 8 (51m 18s): It's not a new tactic. People have done it, but I think it's a very effective one because I think what happens is for some people, for myself included, when you hand someone such a heavy topic like that, and then there's sort of like a dark slow, like somber. So I'm like, that's great. But I think that just feels a little heavy for me sometimes. And I'm not always in that mood and sometimes I am, but I love, I love to be able to be like, oh, this is a jam. And then there's sort of an extra layer that if you, if you really lean in, you're like, whoa, like there's something, this is not what I thought it was. And I love that aspect in so many aspects of life where like, oh, there's more, there's more debt to this person or this thing than I thought there was like, I can enjoy it at face value, but if I want to lean in, there are these Easter eggs or these connections or this depth that I can tap into. 8 (52m 10s): And I think that just provides a contrast. That's really unique that you can find an art that I find really, really cool. 6 (52m 16s): No, I completely agree. There's not many bands that I can recall that are doing that as well as, as you guys have, you know, proven yourselves, I think saves the day does a pretty good job of being, but not in that same lane, but like, you know, just having those, like you listen to his lyrics, you're like, oh my gosh, he's talking about, you know, killing people or whatever, whatever he's saying. And you're like, but he's doing it. And it's like, so poppy presenting it in this way. But like, not that, like I said, I'm not comparing you and I'm not comparing your styles or your, even your subject matter, but it's just like having that similar, like, you know, yang, yang type 8 (52m 54s): Yeah. 6 (52m 55s): Presentation, 8 (52m 55s): But it's like mixing, right? It's it's like cooking, you're not going to overload something. It's like balance. You've got to find that balance to make something like each flavor pop. You don't want to like add too much of the same thing. So in that way, I think it's a nice balance of salt and sweet kind of 6 (53m 12s): Sure. W what the new record to you were recorded, some of it that your house is that what I read and you produce a lot of the record mixed it. Like, tell me about that. Is this the first time you've done this on an album, at least on your own project? 8 (53m 24s): Yeah, so we, it was, we were saying it is, it was co-produced by co-produced co mixed and co engineered by myself and Kevin Billingsley, who was our producer for the last record. Everyone I've ever loved as well. And we love working with him and he really does a great job in bringing out what the valley heart sound is and tightening things up and getting good takes out of us. So for last IPI scenery, I did a lot of, we did some tracking with him, but I did a lot of the mixing and production myself, which was a lot of fun and a great learning experience and had a great time doing that. But for a whole record, I didn't want to, you know, take on that. 6 (54m 2s): Sure. That'll and you have to write it, sing it recorded, and then do the, yeah. Gotcha. 8 (54m 8s): Like an impossible way that I was like, I'm right now, I'm not in the Headspace to do that without this falling apart. And I'd seen bands do that, like the whole production process themselves successfully. And I think there's so many bands that do that. Not so many, there are a few bands and they do it, they do it well, but I've also seen bands do it where they like break up, because there's just so 6 (54m 32s): I was exhausted at that point. You're like, ah, 8 (54m 34s): That's good. You can't point to this guy or this guy or this girl, you're like, oh, this is like, everything is us. Like this sucks. You know? So I don't know, it didn't feel ready to do that completely, but I still loved a lot of the things found in mixing stuff yourself for like having that creative involvement in the mixing process and the production process and all that stuff. So Kevin was super open to letting me sorta like hop on ship with him and that stuff. And we found sounds together. And, and so the process was, we did a lot of the demos before recording the record at my house, as I usually do. And some of the elements from the wreck from the demos made it onto even the final master, like production stuff, even some like guitar stuff. 8 (55m 20s): But then we went to with Kevin and we cut the meat and bones of the record, the drums, the bass, the main vocal did a lot of the lead guitar there too. And then after that, we rented out a studio for about a week and a half where we did a lot of the auxiliary elements there. And then anything we didn't finish up from there. I ended up doing in this room right here. Wow. And did like a lot of some backing backing vocals, some key stuff. But I really loved that process. Cause I think when you're with Kev, he works out of like a legit studio and, you know, it's an expensive space and you're not, there was moments where on our first record we had nine days to record that whole thing. 8 (56m 2s): And you know, part of me is like, I love to find this like weird feedback sound, run my guitar through a synth and run this through a pedal and then distorted on a tape. And I love doing that stuff. And I love finding production elements like that and places for records. But if you have a limited amount of time at an expensive studio and you have finished guitars or vocals, there's no justification for you to be like, let's spend six hours chasing this, like, you know, piano sound. 6 (56m 28s): Right, right. Then it might not even make the record. 8 (56m 31s): Right. But I still find the importance to explore those things creatively. So having that contrast was really cool. We were like, cool, in this head space, we're going to like, get the backbone of the record. We're going to make sure everything is solid. And then the time after in that record companies that it's called the record company where we rented out the studio and then stuff did on our own in my house. And you know, other places there was that time sort of explore little things creatively and little sounds and like did a bunch of weird feedback stuff. And it had this blend of experimentation, but commitment at the same time, that is sort of hard to find that balance. So I think you worked out really, really cool. And, and then Kevin, I remotely, we mixed a lot of the record. 8 (57m 14s): He would do like a main mix. And then we would hop on a call where he had an app that streamed audio from his workstation, the section would stream high quality audio into these headphones. And I was sort of listening and be like, oh, like, let's bring this up a little bit. And instead of sending notes back to each other, we would just sort of mix in real time together. 6 (57m 33s): That's cool. 8 (57m 34s): And that was really, I know a lot of bands did that during the pandemic when they didn't were able to meet up. But yeah, it was super collaborative down to the mixing process and, and it was, it was a great balance. I think, of, of those two things, like I said, 6 (57m 48s): Amazing, amazing. That's it's cool to, to hear that, like, you know, this is probably something you'll do moving forward. I'd imagine like being able to mix and this way, just because if you already know the person you've worked with them, it's like, well, am I going to drive all the way down here? We're going to go to the studio, we'll get blah, blah, blah. When you can just be like, I can hear you, you can we'll, we'll go over this together real quick. I guess I'm way more efficient. 8 (58m 11s): And I mean, props to Kev to, to Kevin Billingsley. Cause I think in not a lot of producers are open to that. Like artists are coming in and being like, Hey man, like let's, let's do this different completely different. Or like here's my perspective. And it can, it definitely requires a lot of trust because you know, mixing is weird. It's, it's like music, it's, there's a right way, quote unquote, to do it. But it's also subjective. And like some people like the vocal super loud, so I'm like them a little bit more drowned out. Some people like the drums really upfront the mix, others don't. So when you're having that battle of like, no, the drums are too loud. It's like, well, what does that even mean, subjectively? Yes. But you know, so you have to have someone that you're really in tune with. And I think that really trusts you and you trust them that we're just not trying to sort of push our own preference, but more like what's best for the song. 8 (58m 59s): And that was definitely a challenge, but like a really cool exercise. 6 (59m 2s): I love it. 11, man. I appreciate your time today. Thank you so much. This has been great chat. I and the record heal my head is it comes out with, at the beginning of next month, third or something. 8 (59m 14s): That's 6 (59m 15s): So cool. Are you doing a tour to support it yet or any, 8 (59m 19s): Some stuff in the summer, but we're hoping to hit the road soon. 6 (59m 22s): Amazing. Amazing. And well, just off a random question. Not, well, how long have you been living in Canada? Like when did you move up there? 8 (59m 28s): July of last year. So nearing it on a year almost. 6 (59m 31s): Wow. That's awesome. Very cool. 8 (59m 35s): I'm up in Montreal, so, 6 (59m 37s): Awesome. Awesome. So my last question for you is I want to know if you have any advice for aspiring artists. 8 (59m 45s): Yeah. Let's say nothing out of the ordinary, but focus on finding your voice and not sort of your vocal voice, but what makes your sound unique? Don't be afraid or ashamed of your influences? I think for a lot of time, a long time, I, I, when I got out of the Christian metal core world or all that stuff, or even just my identity as a Christian, I spent a lot of time trying to like hide that or like, no, no, I'm like not there anymore, but only recently when I was like, that's part of who I am for better or for worse, whether I agree with it or I'm proud of it or not. That is part of what makes my story unique and the intersections of musical influences. 8 (1h 0m 27s): So just own own where you came from own the influences that you love own, the things that make your sound that made your life was that.