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Q&A: IN THE VALLEY BELOW

By RENÉE GEORGE
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Scenario: Music duo In The Valley Below sit next to you as Jeffrey Jacob strings his guitar and the angelic Angela Gail sips the same cocktail you have in hand – the kind that have those lit up ice cubes in it, with a cherry floater. Shriek! These two musicians bring sensual electro-pop new life in their Man Girl EP — their hit track “Peaches” went haywire earlier this year with remixes from the hands of international DJs and producers, and other tracks like “Hymnals” set the tone of what we may expect from them as they grow as artists and bring us future music.

We all give a genuine smile, salute our drinks and compliment one another’s personal style — she in a floor length white dress and he rocks a classic white button up and suspenders. We are at the EventBrite LA‘s BriteSpace LA pop-up closing party hosted by LA CANVAS, and the magnitude of chemistry exuding from them fills the green room we lounge in, and is as amplified and passionate as their stage presence. Abide:

LA CANVAS: What brought you two together? 

ANGELA GAIL: I randomly saw him playing at a club in LA. We came here separately. I thought his guitar playing was perfect. I wanted to get to know him and we became friends.

LA CANVAS: What brought you two together? 

ANGELA GAIL: I randomly saw him playing at a club in LA. We came here separately. I thought his guitar playing was perfect. I wanted to get to know him and we became friends.

JEFFREY JACOB: I actually don’t remember meeting her the first time, which is awful, but we just kind of all of a sudden we were hanging out all the time, within the same circle of friends and musicians. She was just there. We are both somewhat shy so it was a slow friendship evolution, and then it took a long time before we started writing songs together. That was also a slow process too, and writing songs with another person is really intimate, especially if your not used to it, which I wasn’t. First few songs we wrote together was pretty bad, but we got comfortable, opened up a little bit and it started to get better.

LAC: Give us a few words to describe what your partnership in music and compadre-ship is like: Your process, things you abide by when you create music

JJ: We write all the songs together, so it’s definitely a collaboration on everything. Every song is different, so some songs start off with an idea that I have on the guitar or vocal, and she’ll come in for that or she’ll come in with an idea and we’ll finish it out together.

AG: I feel like every song starts with some idea that falls upon you. Almost like you channel something and you want to sing it over and over, so you have to build the song around that one little piece.

LAC: How do you separate that from your friendship? Is it always just about the music, or can you go to dinner and talk about other things? 

AG: We do try to do that. We just love music so much and because it’s such a big part of our life, it’s what we end up talking about so it’s OK.

LAC: About your spark and manifestation of creating a song, and about something bigger. What rituals do you have in your creative process? 

AG: We usually write all the music first. It’s gibberish. Sometimes it starts on the piano, sometimes it’s the guitar, sometimes it’s drums and bass. We just want to write something that’s catchy and fun. The lyrics we want to spend a little more time with, so they’re not cheesy or obvious.

LAC: We blasted the Peaches remix by Bloc Party on the way here. What’s the deal with all these amazing remixes popping off?

AG: There are a lot of remixes out there right now. The Passion Pit remix is a fun one!

JJ: There’s a good one by this Austrian duo called We Love Machines. They did a really aggressive remix.

AG: My favorite may be the Dirt Caps remix.

LAC: What artists are on your wish list to work with?

AG: Peter Gabriel

LAC: What are you listening to right now?

AG: Classic Rock, old Bonnie Raitt, London Grammar.

JJ: Saint Vincent had a show at The Wiltern and it was pretty good. Bob Segart. We’ve been on his kick for a long time.

IN_THE_VALLEY_BELOW

LAC: What does your voyage as emerging artists feel like?

AG: It’s really exciting. We’ve done so many things we’ve never thought we’d be able to do but only dreamed of. But then you get to the next level and there’s so much more that you want to accomplish. At the same time, it’s like a Cinderella effect: you get a great opportunity and then your back home and nothings happening — and that happens over and over and over. I guess it’s hard on the ego but it’s also good for it as well. It keeps you in check. We’ve realized how lucky we are, we try the best that we can.

LAC: Do you ever work each other’s nerve?

JJ: When you’re on the road, everybody kind of gets on each other’s nerve. A month in a van leads everyone to need their own personal space, but not from any mean way, it’s just the nature of touring. You’re stuck together 24 hours a day and you gotta put up some barriers to keep your sanity.

AG: We’re pretty easy going though, so…

JJ: We’re pretty mellow…

LAC: Any advice for young musicians out there or words to live by to share?

AG: I think it’s important to go see a lot of music. You can then learn about where and how you’re gonna fit in. It’s also about having a great song — if you’re a songwriter or if you are looking for songs it’s important to go see shows.

JJ: If you’re a songwriter, you have to write a ton of songs. It’s a numbers game. You have to write a lot to maybe get one good one. You can’t just write three songs and then expect them all to be amazing. You’re gonna write some crap songs and that’s just the way it goes. Keep writing.

LAC: Tour life. Favorite on the road moment or city? Best crowd you’ve played to?

JJ: My favorite was Prague.

AG: Poland. Couple cities in Poland, the crowds were amazing.

JJ: Further east you go in Europe, the less bands tour through there. So Poland crowds really appreciate the bands that trek it there to perform. Cause its a trek from Germany which is right there, but its an 8 hour drive from Germany to the first city in Poland. They give you a lot. Same with Prague, they give you a lot of energy.

*KEEP GIVING AND TAKING, Y’ALL. 

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