Penning songs with a focus on mental health and always showing their goofiest sides on TikTok, Canadian quartet Valley is not your average indie pop band.
Comprised of vocalist Rob Laska, guitarist Mickey Brandolino, bassist Alex Dimauro and drummer/vocalist Karah James, the Juno-nominated act returns today (June 9th) with ‘SOCIETY’, a song that looks at the pressures of the music industry and how the band is clapping back and rising above.
With its guitar riff and 2000s-inspired melody, ‘SOCIETY’ might just be Valley’s most catchy work yet. “Society sucks / I think I messed up / I think I sold out when the sales went up,” they sing on the anthemic chorus that comes right on time as the band prepares to get back to touring this fall.
To celebrate the release of ‘SOCIETY’ and get to know the band a little better, POPJUICE got together with Rob, Mickey, Alex and Karah for an interview about how ‘SOCIETY’ came about, what they’re itching to do when they resume touring and what we can expect from the band this year.
POPJUICE: So, ‘SOCIETY’. It’s a rebellious, tongue-in-cheek song. How did it all come about?
Rob: We were on a writing trip and Karah’s friend who was with us was going through something, it was a darker, sadder topic and we wanted to write about it. We always want to be honest and write about what we’re going through, what we’re feeling. That’s kinda the way we work. We wanna write about issues like the feeling that everything’s running through a machine, being filtered, and us wanting to not be judged by what kind of song we’re making. That’s where ‘SOCIETY’ came from.
POPJUICE: With a lot of songs these days, there’s this sense of candour and like “hey, this is what’s wrong with society and we’re not afraid to say it”. How do you guys feel about being a part of this generation of new artists who aren’t afraid to speak their minds?
Karah: I think the divide between music listeners and an artist, where you don’t know how they make music, you don’t know why, you don’t know who wrote it, you don’t know if they’re actually singing—that whole era is so done because of social media. And I think the more you try to desperately close that curtain again and make yourself inaccessible, the more of a disconnect you’re going to have with your fans. It feels good to be part of an era where musicians and artists and storytellers and people like that have a platform to be candid, as opposed to feeling like we have to put up a facade.
Alex: I think music is also one of the best ways to break that stigma of “don’t talk about mental health, suppress certain things”. Music is an easy way to talk about those things and a great gateway into allowing people to be genuine and honest about how they’re feeling and I’m so happy that we can hopefully lead the charge and be a part of that.
POPJUICE: Along with ‘SOCIETY’, you guys also announced that you’ll be going back on tour later this year! What’s the one thing you’re itching to do on tour?
Rob: I’m a big foodie so I love going to every city and finding the best food spots. Food is such a big part of travel for me and that’s how I consume the culture in every city and it’s just fun to explore. And then the shows. We have such crazy live arrangements planned.
Alex: I’m very, very excited to play live shows again. I feel like a piece of our soul has been missing, collectively. We really bond when we play live on stage and it’s just so much fun. Missing out on that for the last two years has been unfortunate, but I think it’s gonna make it feel very special when we can finally get back on the stage and play our new music for new fans and old fans.
Karah: I would also say my number one thing is 100% meeting the fans. I miss everybody and everyone who listens to our music. They’re so funny, they have so many stories and that’s probably the most heartwarming thing for us.
Mickey: Yeah, that’s honestly super weird. You kinda get used to it and it kinda gets over your head and seeing it on the Internet feels intangible. But as soon as you talk to a human in person and they come to your show and tell you a story, you think about the times that you did that for another band, the artists who were such an integral part of your life. And you’re like, holy, we’re that for somebody else.
POPJUICE: Speaking about fans, do you have any heartwarming or interesting fan stories to share?
Rob: There’s one I remember, we were in Colorado. A fan sent us care packages for the road, it was the sweetest, it had things like a portable phone charger, candy, socks, a hand sanitiser.
Alex: I still use those things! I still use that portable phone charger and I still wear those socks.
Karah: Somebody snuck into our green room one time and pretended to be our photographer, that was weird but also really memorable.
Mickey: Also we’ve had a couple proposals where we have to send Congratulations videos, that’s wild.
POPJUICE: You guys have been putting music out for years now and you’ve obviously come really far. Looking back, how has the music you’ve made changed and evolved over the years?
Mickey: I think we’ve always had the mindset that it either has to feel classic or it has to be really fresh, like something that you’ve never heard before. And I think what we really strive to do is to combine the two so it’s a very familiar feeling but there’s elements and lyrics to it that are very quirky and new. What I’ve realised we’ve been doing over the years is just getting more focused. Being more intentional with our lyrics, being more intentional with our production, being more intentional with the delivery of the vocals and just trying to hone in on the craft while not forgetting to have fun.
POPJUICE: Something I’ve also noticed about you guys is how visual everything is—like everything down to the covers, the designs, the music videos—I get the sense that you’re really involved in the process, is this something important to you guys?
Rob: So important, I think that’s the stuff that pushes it over the edge for us. We always wanna strive to build a little world around the music and we’re heavily involved. We have an amazing team that we’ve worked with for years now. They help us with photos, design, videos—shoutout to Oliver Whitfield Smith, Becca Hamel and Katie Goodfellow. We’re the ones that have the wacky ideas and they’re the ones who help us tie it all together.
POPJUICE: Looking forward, what’s something that’s still on the band’s bucket list?
Mickey: Get a radio song, like a big radio song that doesn’t sound like a radio song. Because it opens up new lanes within radio. Lil Nas X killed it, Billie Eilish has done that. I just love it when artists do that because it just diversifies what pop culture is on mainstream radio and I think that’s a big life goal.
Rob: I really wanna write a song with Olivia Rodrigo. I’m putting that in the universe. Olivia, I have concepts ready for you. I just think she’s so wise and so beyond her years. It’s just insane how someone at 17 can write songs of that calibre.
POPJUICE: Okay, last question, what can we expect from you guys this year? Will there be an EP, or an album?
Mickey: We’re basically releasing a song every month or month and a half, and then gonna tour with a body of work with COIN, and then after the tour we’re probably gonna release another song to make people cry in the November or December times, maybe a softer song. And then new year, more music, more touring.
Rob: We are working towards an album but we wanna make sure it’s the perfect collection of songs. What we can say is that by this year you will be getting another body of work of songs, ‘SOCIETY’ and there’s other stuff coming. New music is coming, we’re constantly working on new music.