In The Valley Below - The HI-FI1043 Virginia Ave #4 Indianapolis,IN
07/17/2017 9:00 PM - 07/17/2017 11:00 PM
In The Valley Below
Seldom has a debut single seduced so many, for so long. Two years since its release, In The Valley Below’s “Peaches”, which was first picked up by European alternative radio, continues as an international airwaves staple – testament to the enduring viral power of its sunny yet smoldering songcraft and celebratory surrender to mutual attraction.
In The Valley Below – Angela Gail and Jeffrey Jacob – meld adventurous art rock, squelchy synth pop, harmony-laden Americana, and woozy blues into something altogether different: stylistically elusive, yet oddly inclusive. Her loaded purr cajoling his weathered inflections, they craft gauzily compelling music at once introverted and all-embracing.
A small-town girl from Michigan, Gail discovered songwriting while holed-up on an even smaller Caribbean sailboat. A thousand miles away in Memphis, Jacob was inhaling Link Wray’s ragged rebellion and the darker side of Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel. In The Valley Below was born one Texas night when the pair, performing at SXSW in an experimental L.A. rock band, recognized their rare on-stage connection. Back in California, they plunged into collaboration with twin-like telepathy and a feverish, fated chemistry
Though never intended as a gigging band, ITVB’s genre-ambiguous, dreamily accessible expressions traveled well, inducing tireless touring. High-profile stops included England’s Reading and Leeds festivals, Rock en Seine in Paris, The Late Show with David Letterman, and Conan. They shared their journey with the likes of The Airborne Toxic Event, White Lies, Cold War Kids, and Robert DeLong.
In The Valley Below’s debut album, The Belt, is a mysterious, mesmerized and relentlessly melodic record that bares powerful tales of lust, loss and faith like open wounds, while hinting at hidden meanings. Opening with “Peaches”, it also births the huge, hands-aloft hooks of “Neverminders” and “Stand Up”. The deliciously lingering deathbed farewell of “Hymnal” and lived-in, love-in nostalgia of “Take Me Back” lend a throbbing urgency to the insistent, intravenously wanton “Palm Tree Fire”.
Self-written and produced, two of The Belt’s 11 songs were also mixed by Gail and Jacob, with others handled by John Congleton (St. Vincent, David Byrne), Pete Min (Airborne Toxic Event), Lasse Mårtén (Lykke Li, Peter, Bjorn & John), and Dave Sardy (Oasis, Band of Horses).
Personified by “Peaches”’ sunlight-through-the-eyelids abandon and cult-ish caress, The Belt is that most elusive of records: arcane, authentic, and effortlessly resonant across cultures and eras. Though the duo’s bond is uniquely theirs, we are all In The Valley Below.
The expansive, electric sound of Flagship was born one humid summer at a music festival in Illinois. Drake Margolnick was there performing on the heels of an EP he had recorded and some friends of his from the band Campbell were there and he asked them if they would be his backing band. It became clear from the first note that this makeshift group had musical chemistry. The group created a sound much greater than the sum of their parts. Back in their mutual hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina it was decided that this musical collaboration should continue.
Frontman Drake Margolnick was born in England, on an Air Force base, the son of a military couple. A few years later, his mother settled in the southern city of Charlotte where Margolnick focused his energies on skateboarding and dirt-bike riding, dreaming of pursuing the sports professionally. Through his teen years, however, music began to completely capture his imagination. After high school graduation, Margolnick moved to Australia to follow his muse. Disillusioned with the scene there, Margolnick returned to Charlotte where he quickly integrated into the burgeoning community of musicians, artists and filmmakers. It was the same soil that guitarist Matthew Padgett, drummer Michael Finster and keyboardist Grant Harding were growing in, a community that expanded across the state to include bassist Chris Comfort. It was here playing in multiple bands in multiple venues -- clubs, theaters and coffee houses -- that they honed their musical style, a sound that transcends the traditional south but seems right at home in the southern heat.
After forming Flagship, Padget, Harding and Finster immediately began to work with Margolnick on a tight collection of songs -- self-producing and engineering the Blackbush EP. Here, the group began to formulate an atmospheric mixture of pop-minded melodies and passionate, aggressive performance. It was the strength of these songs that attracted the attention of Bright Antenna Records, a label that wanted to see the group grow beyond their regional fanbase while maintaining their distinct musical personality. After playing stages across the U.S. for a year, Flagship recorded their first full-length LP with the producer Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Washed Out). Set to release on October 8, 2013, the album is both a culmination of all that came before and the sound of what comes next.
Drake, you had a singer-songwriter career before this, and there of the other guys played in Campbell the Band. How did that turn into Flagship?
Drake Margolnick: I started Flagship back in 2005 with a specific sound in mind. To make a long story short, I met Matt Padgett first and asked him to play guitar in a solo project I was doing. Months later we all ended up at a music festival together and the guys of Campbell backed up one of my performances, and then a few more. In working together we all felt a strong creative chemistry and a tight bond forming. It just made sense to play together and in turn Flagship was revived and reformed. Flagship and Campbell was not a merging of bands, as they are two very different sounds, it was a merging of artists.
Was there something missing in your solo career?
Margolnick: I quit being in a band that I started, and then I did a solo project for a little bit. The other bands that I had been in felt off-balance. I found myself doing 90% of the work. These guys have a work ethic, so everybody works, and everyone is happy when everyone is pulling their own. The songwriting changed because I wasn't writing every part anymore, people were writing their own parts, so the more minds that connect, the more it develops into something that's just not one person. It expands.
Tell me about Campbell the Band.
Matthew Padgett: Campbell the Band was formed by Grant and Michael and I. I met Grant when I was in high school. He was playing music with Michael already and I was doing my own thing. We met and we were like "let's get together and start a real band." So that's probably 2003 when that started. Then it's been a lot of small steps. We started gaining success in Charlotte, we were getting crowds of 700 to 800 people. But we didn't feel right about it, we didn't feel like it was going anywhere so we broke up, and I started playing with Drake's side project, and I loved it and asked the rest of Campbell to come and play and we called it Flagship.
Drake, as the main lyricist, what ideas were on your mind when you were writing the album?
Margolnick: I reread "The Call Of The Wild," and it affected me. I was just obsessed with the wilderness and that really bleed through most of the album. The wilderness as a literal thing, and how sometimes you feel like you're in the wilderness and there's not much happening. I was going through a lot of big changes in my life and my beliefs and getting more comfortable with myself. Maturing, and reevaluating priorities and figuring out what actually mattered to me. I found peace and solace in music.
What was the chemistry in the band like once Drake joined?
Grant Harding: The chemistry was...when we first got in the studio, and recorded demos, it was like magic. Everyone was feeling it. When you start a new thing, you have this intense connection and you know its real and you know its right, and then after a couple months you'll have some rough stages, and that is when I think you start maturing as a band, and you learn when those rough stages are coming and how to deal with each one. I think that's just as important as the magic that happened in the beginning.
Tell me about the working relationship that you have together. What is it about the five of you that makes the band's sound work?
Christopher Comfort: On a personal level I enjoy being around the guys, they're great friends and they're brothers. We spend so much time together. They're probably the closest people I have in my life. For the most part, it's pretty easy making music. It's not laborious when we come together to work out music. The thing about us is that we have so many different musical interests that when they do come together, there's a lot to choose from to make something creative.
How did you come to work with Ben Allen?
Braden Merrick (Manager): I am friends with Ben Allen's manager Paul Adams. Ben Allen was on the band's list of producers to work with. So through many conversations with Paul and Ben, we were able to work out a deal. Ben only works with artists he truly loves. He has that luxury. He said of all the artists he could have made an LP with at the time, he chose flagship due to the power of the songs and Drake's voice.
Tell me about your first time working with Ben Allen. This was your first time working with a high profile producer.
Michael Finster: It was very different than the way we normally do things. Grant is actually an engineer himself, so for the longest time we recorded things on our own. When we did that we would usually go the studio and spend the whole day setting up and goofing off, and probably end up recording around 11 or 12 at night, because that's when we felt the best. But Ben, he did things more scheduled. He was there to push us to use our time a little bit more wisely. He knew what he wanted and he would push you and push you until it sounded as good as it was going to sound. If he complemented something you did then it was really good, because he was not to open with complimenting you.