Deap Valley is a powerful rock-based duo that’s stunned audiences with their live performances. Lindsey Troy (vocals, guitar) and Julie Edwards-Pirrone (drums) have been to incredible places—and will be at the Desert Daze festival on Saturday, May 2, at the Sunset Ranch Oasis in Mecca.
The Independent caught up with Julie Edwards-Pirrone while she was DJ’ing at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs. She is the wife of the founder of Desert Daze, Phil Pirrone, aka JJUUJJUU. I asked her what inspired her and Troy to perform as a two-piece.
“I don’t really know the answer to that,” said Edwards-Pirrone. “The only other band I’ve been in was a two-piece, and to me, it seemed very normal. The music Lindsay did before me, she did with her sister. It was a very normal way for us to work, and we just went with it.”
It was important to her and Troy that Deap Vally’s sound be heavy and a bit confrontational, she said.
“Right now, we’re really inspired by Tame Impala, Kurt Vile, and Goat, and I’ve fallen back in love with Funkadelic so hard. That’s kind of where we’re at,” Edwards-Pirrone said. “We were really into the blues thing with the first record, and this new record we’re working on will open up the genre a bit. But there will still be the heavy blues and stoner rock, because that’s so fun to play.”
She elaborated on why it’s so important for Deap Vally to play heavy.
“Lindsay and I are rock ’n’ roll creatures,” she said. “We’re trying to remind people why rock is the ultimate music of defiance, rebellion and id energy.”
She said there are no plans for Deap Vally to add a bassist—although she and Troy might be open to one.
“I’ve never worked with a bass,” Edwards-Pirrone said. “…We’re not used to having a bass, but it might be cool one day if we find the right person. It’s like a marriage: If there’s going to be a bass-player, it’ll be because that person exists in the world. We approach the music from a very organic, jam-based, democratic process rather than a visionary recording-trick kind of way.”
Deap Vally has an ever-growing fan base and has played on big tours and at festivals such as Bonnaroo and Glastonbury. They also opened for Babes in Toyland for the band’s first show in almost two decades, at Pappy and Harriet’s back in February.
“We opened for Muse for a bit in Europe, and the biggest show was something like 14,000 people. I haven’t even been to a show like that since the early ’90s, when I saw Janet Jackson,” Edwards-Pirrone said. “With the environment, the sound check sounded crazy. You just can’t hear anything. But the challenge of going and being energetic and getting as many of those 14,000 people as you can into your world is so great.
“Playing with Babes in Toyland at their first show in 18 years at Pappy’s … I get choked up every time I think about it. It was a dream come true, and the most epic, beautiful and wonderful thing to happen to Deap Vally.”
Deap Vally has been involved in Desert Daze since the beginning, back in 2012.
“It’s like a vision,” she said. “We were like, ‘All right, we’re going to do it again this year. What’s the dream lineup?’ Slowly, you tap away at that dream, and the reality is … sobering. It’s an insane amount of work. You think you’re going to die—and then there are all these people having such an amazing time and having an amazing adventure. They’re feeling a sense of freedom, which is important to us. At a lot of festivals, that sense of freedom isn’t really there. Life is an adventure, and a festival should be an adventure, not a thing where you know what’s going to happen. The beauty of the Sunset Ranch, where we do Desert Daze, (contributes to that).”
This year’s lineup is impressive, featuring Warpaint, Failure (which just reunited) and Minus the Bear, as well as local acts War Drum, Slipping Into Darkness and Fatso Jetson.
Edwards-Pirrone said she’s happy with the diversity on the bill.
“Now that I’m in a girl-band, I’m always keeping my eye out for women who I feel are upholding the tradition of bad-assery, and we have so many on the lineup,” she said. “Every year, I’m always like, ‘Let’s get more women onstage,’ and I’m stoked about that.”
Desert Daze takes place in Saturday, May 2, at the Sunset Oasis Ranch, 69520 Lincoln St., in Mecca. Admission starts at $55. For tickets or more information, visit desertdaze.org.