In a chaotic, confused, pandemic filled world that is Twenty-Twenty, these beautiful humans gave us a healthy distraction. Something we all yearn for more than ever.
Photo by: Debi Del Grande
October may have came and went on your calendar. But for DVG, it definitely is more profound than it is for most folks. From communicating with spirits, UFO sightings and to staying/performing in haunted locations, they tap-in to the unknown. Something that is heavily depicted on all 4 albums to date.
Bonnie(lead vocals/guitar/organ), Larry(guitar), Pickle(bass/vocals), Rikki(drums/vocals), Kelsey R(vocals), Little Ghost(vocals), Gabe(saxophone) are DEATH VALLEY GIRLS.
Under the Spell of Joy is the title of the new record by DVG. Released on October 2nd through the prestigious label Suicide Squeeze. It has been a smashing hit to say the least. There is definitely something more philosophical about this album than the rest of the band’s musical catalog. Adding some different components to the overall sound, you wonder why this band is not in a bigger spotlight. One thing is for certain, this is their best work to date and a top candidate for album of the year.
Photo by: Ledouche
Due to obvious reasons, DVG hasn’t had the opportunity to tour or play any live shows whatsoever. Something they, along with musicians all over, dearly miss. I’m sure they had something of epic proportion in mind for this one. Despite all that, they still managed to have a solid year. One album, an EP, music videos, an Amoeba live stream performance and a VHS release by Church of Pickle(Halloween Show at a haunted barn in the desert)
I had the pleasure of interviewing Bonnie and Larry of the band from our own respective homes. Safety first, kids.
Q: Have you ever had any paranormal experiences?
A: Yes, so very many. We would need a separate interview to go through the list, but here are a few. We’ve had extremely successful seances/communed with spirits, seen UFOs, had missing time, stayed in and played in several haunted motels/houses/hotels/venues, dreamt the exact same dreams as each other, had more synchronicities than you would believe! A couple of us are psychic, and one of us is a medium. When we play we communicate non-verbally and know each others thoughts entirely, so we are very open to all of the universes mysteries.
Q: Can you think of a place you had some of the most fun you've ever had while on tour?
A: So many fun places but this one in particular is Halloween themed! Last October we were on tour with The Distillers and played Des Moines, Iowa. In Des Moines there is a haunted house called “The Slaughterhouse” which the band Slipknot is involved in. It’s a crazy, messy, bloody good time. We had photos taken inside while getting freaked out by chainsaw wielding maniacs and menaced by zombies. A fun and memorable Halloween!
Q: What would you say is the most creative activity you've done during quarantine?
A: Our virtual performances we did with Levitation and Amoeba Records were super fun collaborative activities we did with a bunch of our friends. Larry started a YouTube Channel, Pickle has been making crazy band merch for her store, Rikki’s been getting creative doing computer stuff with her job teaching kids.
Q: Was the new album already done when the pandemic hit? If so, did that push back the release date or were y'all always aiming for an October release?
A: We finished the record right as the pandemic hit but October was always the release date. The last album was also released in October, our favorite month. We love to tour in Oct. and even though no touring is happening, we didn’t want to push back the release date. We wanted people to hear the new music as soon as we could get it out there.
Q: What kind of artistic changes have happened for DVG since the release of 'Darkness Rains' to today with the release of 'Under The Spell of Joy'?
A: We wanted to expand on some of the ideas from the last album by experimenting a bit more, having the back up vocals, sax & keyboard on songs to be even more dynamic. The songwriting is more wide ranging this time but not straying too far outside our little rock n’ roll universe.
Q: This would be the 4th record DVG has released... I'm sure you had a blast making all four. But is there one you had the most fun writing and recording?
A: They’ve all been very different experiences! All were fun and all had stressful moments as well. This new one was the most exciting for us so far because we feel our songwriting has improved and some of our crazy ideas really came together in the studio.
Photo by: Shit Show Dave
Q: How surreal is it when you first get to hold a new record you made in your own hands as a physical copy?
A: The best feeling ever! To have your artistic, creative vision in physical form is an amazing thing, we also put a lot of work in the artwork and packaging too so it’s so exciting to finally see the whole thing in real life.
Q: What does it mean to the band to be a part of Suicide Squeeze, a label stacked with impressive bands like LA Witch, The Coathangers, The Paranoyds..?
A: We love Suicide Squeeze! David Dickinson who runs the label is the best. It means a lot to us to be on a label that really looks after it’s artists and is also very supportive of any crazy ideas we have about music, videos or art. We’re fans and friends of the other bands on the label too and whenever we play together it’s like a little family reunion.
Q: Did you guys give full creative control to Louisianna Purchase for the video to "I'd Rather Be Dreaming" or how did it that work out? Such an amazing video by the way.
A: Thanks so much! Yes we were huge fans of hers and somehow magically she was a fan of ours. She conceptualized the video entirely by herself, and it made us fall in the love with the song again.
Q: What are your top 5 favorite horror films to watch during October?
A: 1. Night Of The Living Dead
2. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
3. Dawn Of The Dead
5. Halloween 3 Season Of The Witch (Silver Shamrock!)
-- All classic!
Photo by: Shit Show Dave
Q: If you can choose any location to have a comeback show to the public, where would it be and why?
A: Outdoors in the desert at night, we love playing out there under the stars. Either in California or Marfa, Texas for maximum extraterrestrial activity.