Four young adults came together in the suburbs of Toronto to create music for other young people navigating their way through finding themselves in that awkward transition.
VALLEY made up of Michael Brandolino, Rob Laska, Karah James and Alex DiMauro, have released two EPs. Their last EP, “This Room is White,” caught the attention of many and earned 10 million streams on Spotify.
Now, after two years of hibernating in the studio, they’re getting ready to release their first LP with Universal Music Canada. The group decided to release MAYBE in three parts. To get fans prepared for the 15 songs, a song titled, “Push for Yellow,” was released into the world today.
Drummer and vocalist, Karah James, mentioned the single is her favorite to talk about.
“You can think of it as very conceptual but also on the surface, it’s about running away from things physically and emotionally,” explained James over a phone call. “More of the underlying concept we wanted to allow the song to bring to surface was this idea of the color yellow. On the album, we make a lot of references, and in terms of aesthetic branding, we chose yellow because we feel like it’s kind of the color that’s neutral.”
The four-minute tune shows the versatility of the alt-pop group in their craft and songwriting; “I need shelter, won’t you help me? In this silence, why is something dead not killing me?” The rawness of the lyrics can be heard with Laska and James harmonization, while the catchiness of the Latin-infused beat and the “quintessential” chord progression VALLEY is known for makes the listener invigorated.
“We think of it as this in-between color as well. When you’re driving and a yellow light comes, it’s in between the red and green, which are too really black and white things, you stop or you go. When you hit the yellow light, you either step on it or aggressively stop. We tried to put that color or feeling of hesitation into words for this song. When you listen to it, you’ll hear some of the lines talking about the feeling of hesitation.”
James teased the music video, hinting at a car-crash scene for visualization for the song.
“If I were to wrap it up in a little bow, I would say it’s mainly talking about the feeling of uncertainty you feel when you’re a young person.”
VALLEY have been harboring their new music for two years. James explained the group didn’t feel rushed by their fan-base.
“Being the writers of music, we felt like we needed to collect more information about ourselves, more experiences, more lyrics and more field samples—all this stuff we need in order to make a good album took time and we let that process unfold naturally.”
After hitting a pivotal point in their production while demoing one song, the band was on the same page for what they wanted to release next.
“Before that song, we really thought of music being a certain way, and we just kind of let everything hit the fan for that song. Everything we would produce and writer after that song would be really great because we didn’t feel any pressure to do anything that was at all conventional. We do a lot of conventional pop writing because that’s what we’d always gravitate to, but we didn’t feel like we had to. If we didn’t want to have a second verse, we wouldn’t.”
Sticking with unconventional ways, them and their team decided to release their debut LP, MAYBE, in three parts.
“While talking to our team and figuring out the best way to give the album the lifespan that we felt is deserves, we came to the conclusion that putting it out on sides was the best way for the consumers to consume it.”
“You’re to get those people who still love listening to a full LP stop to bottom, no stopping—there are those people. Kudos if you can do that, but we had to be realistic with our audience and the way people listen to music these days. It’s so accessible and it’s a sad reality that people don’t do that anymore.”
Cohesively, James discussed that the three parts all have a group of songs that “live” with each other and the sides will feel and sound innate.
“When we were being creative in our basement writing all these songs, we decided there were about six songs that lived together so it was almost intentional. Side A and Side B will piece together these stories when you listen to the whole record, but for now, they’re little anecdotes.”
Side A of the LP will be released sometime this fall. Until then, stay updated with VALLEY here.
“It’s a new era of working with people, gaining more knowledge and being better at what we were trying to do with the first album but didn’t quite make the cut.”