In The Valley Below’s Jeffrey Jacob was raised on Memphis blues while Angela Gail escaped small town Muskegon, Michigan, for life on a small boat in the West Indies. They both eventually settled in L.A. and found each other through mutual circles, bonding over a shared love of Phil Collins and beer (they brew their own). On the heels of a summer tour and the release of their debut album, the pair spoke to Sound Dessert about music, jail time, vintage shopping and life in L.A.
Sound Dessert: “Peaches” is the lead single off your upcoming debut album dropping this October. Can you reveal any teasers surrounding the release?
ITVB: Our full album will be called The Belt. We recorded the album ourselves for fun and had it mixed by professionals who know what they’re doing like Lasse Mårtén (Lykke Li, Peter Bjorn and John), John Congleton (David Byrne, The Black Angels) and Dave Sardy (The Dandy Warhols).
SD: You’re quoted as saying, “Our biggest inspiration is powerful subjects like sex, crime and religion and how that fits into the lives we’ve chosen, our dreams and struggles, mistakes and heartbreaks.” Have either of you had run-ins with the law? What roll has religion played in your life?
A: I spent the night in jail once and I remember the panic that set in when the door locked. Most of my life I didn’t care if I was breaking the law, or sinning. I still do not believe anyone is sending me to hell. I just trust my instincts and treat others well. I did go to Sunday school as a kid, but no one could ever answer my questions.
SD: What’s the inspiration behind the patchwork imagery seen in some promo photos and the “Peaches” lyric video?
A: It’s from a pillowcase my Grandmother made. All these pieces of fabric sewn together to make a star, and we keep cutting them up and making other shapes. It soft but mathematical at the same time, kind of like our music.
SD: How did Passion Pit come to remix “Peaches”?
ITVB: We made most of this album between a tiny living room and a rehearsal space downtown, so it’s amazing when our songs get passed around and remixed, not sure exactly where they will end up. We’re glad they liked it enough to remix it.
SD: I read the band enjoys shopping for vintage clothing. Do you have any favorite vintage shops in L.A.?
A: I like Shareens and Lemon Frog Shop in LA, The End in Yucca Valley, and Sainte Marie Vintage on Etsy.
SD: Angela, was there a significant moment that inspired you creatively, during your time in the West Indies? And subsequently, what led you to move to L.A.?
A: The time itself was inspiring. So much time to play guitar and write songs. Also the opportunity to step away from everything I knew gave me perspective. There were times at night, under way, when the stars in the sky perfectly matched the phosphorescence in the water and it was like you were flying through space. It would bring tears to my eyes. It was at the encouragement of others I pursued my music as a career. I always dreamed of coming to Hollywood. It seemed like a fairytale place to me.
SD: You both moved from remote places to L.A. What was the biggest adjustment for each of you?
ITVB: So many people, the homes just go on and on and on. You can’t let yourself get jaded and forget about the fairytale part. The weather and the mixed cultures are the upsides of LA.
SD: Next month the band embarks on an international tour starting with the Pukkelpop festival in Belgium. Is there a particular show/festival you’re most looking forward to playing?
ITVB: Reading and Leeds have always been legendary in our minds. But really we are excited for them all. We are such a new band I think we play first every day.
SD: Which ice cream flavor best describes In The Valley Below?
ITVB: Moose Tracks
See In The Valley Below on tour:
8/15 Kiewit-Hasselt Belgium @ Pukkelpop
8/16 Leipzig Germany @ Stormthaler See
8/20 Berlin Germany @ Apple Store Kurfürstendamm
8/23 Leeds UK@ Leeds Festival
8/23 Reading UK @ Richfield Avenue
8/30 Los Angeles CA @ Skirball Cultural Center
9/13 San Diego CA @ Queen Bee’s Art & Cultural Center