Deap Vally’s Julie Edwards on cavewoman drumming
Three years on from releasing their pulsating debut record Sistrionix, LA two-piece Deap Vally are back. As the band prepared to drop Femejism, we spoke to drummer Julie Edwards about the return of the rock heroes and what it means to her from a drumming perspective.
How did new album come together?
“This record was recorded piece-by-piece over almost a two-year period. In that time we had left our first label and we were looking for a new label. So in that entire time we were looking for a new label and at the same time we just kept on recording and kept adding new ideas. We started out in January 2014, that seems so crazy now. We started at Sonic Ranch in El Paso. It was a very luxurious recording process.”
Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner took on production duties, what kind of team did you guys make?
“Nick’s great. He has great taste and a real sense of guitar tone. He brought in some fun, crazy effects for layering and vibe. All three of us have very strong opinions so sometimes we would hash it out and debate it. It was so funny to be writing, recording and producing collaboratively. We were all coming up with reasons why our ideas were the best ideas! Nick is so talented that he stretched out our skills.”
In Deap Vally I feel strongly about brutal, abusive cavewoman drums.
Did you always agree on drum parts?
“Nick likes a subtle drum style. In Deap Vally I feel strongly about brutal, abusive cavewoman drums. So we had a push-pull. There’s a couple of tracks where I tried his suggestions and it was interesting and they’re better for it. There were also some times where the drums just needed to be raw and heavy. One time I snuck in there and re-tracked the drums. That was for ‘Little Baby Beauty Queen’. We had done a dynamic version of the drums and when I listened back it just wasn’t ‘capital H’ heavy. Nick was stoked with it in the end so it’s all good.”
How about drum sounds?
“We wanted a huge drum sound, Bonham- style with a lot of room and impact. Myself and Nick were on the same page with that. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs drummer [Brian Chase] is extremely technical and so good and I’m not that kind of a drummer so it was probably interesting for Nick to go from working with a scientist to a cavewoman!”
Was it difficult working on an album while shopping for a new label?
“It was a long time to go without a label but I never had a moment where I thought we were washed up and that we wouldn’t find another label. Our old label wanted to work a different way to how we wanted to work. We wanted to have a vision and fulfil it.
“We signed to Cooking Vinyl and that has been great. We were on a much bigger label before and we love this more hands-on DIY approach. We are much more in control of what is happening, it’s empowering, although it is also more work!”
You also had a baby while making the album, just in case you didn’t have enough on your plate.
“Yes, I had a baby and played shows and recorded drums while I was pregnant. We just had Independence Day in the US and none of the explosions scared my six-month-old. Being so close to the snare drum while she was in my belly has made her impervious to loud noises!”