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Valleyview: A DMV Friendship Led to a Rising Post-Punk Band

From sparking a newfound friendship at a DMV to starting a Post-Punk band, Valleyview, a band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is making its way through the Pittsburgh scene. Members Jesse Farine (Vocals and Guitar), Jared Anderson (Guitar), Benjamin Volk (Drums), and Ethan Herring (Bass) haven’t known each other their entire lives, but after having met, there was an instant click, a click that solidified them as a band. Recently recording their EP, I Feel Like You’re Haunting Me, on the very street that led to their band name, Valleyview, this band takes influences from their predecessors in post-punk bands like Black Midi, BCNR, Squid, and King Krule. A band passionate about the music, their sound, and the message they are putting out that drives off of catchiness and emotion, Valleyview is a band you need to look out for, especially if you like The Strokes, early Arctic Monkeys, and Joy Division.


How did you come up with the name Valleyview? Does it mean anything?

Valleyview (drive) is the street I (Jesse) grew up on, and I recorded some of my songs before I met the rest of the band there, along with the EP.

How did the band come together?

It was honestly a lot of happenstance, me (Guitar/Vocals) and Ethan (Bassist) did not know each other at all, but we were next to each other for hours at the DMV to get our licenses renewed and eventually got to talking about music and just got in contact afterward. Then a few weeks later we went to see an afropop performance that Ben (Drums) was drumming in, and we waited for him outside after the show and begged him to drum for us. And then finally we were at the bar of a show we had just played with a friend who was playing guitar for us temporarily, and saw Jared (Guitar) there I thought he looked like he played an instrument, and asked him and he said yes and that was that.

What is the writing process for each of you? Is it a group effort or a solo process?

It started out as my solo project where I was writing all of the songs, and I wrote most of the EP, but now it is a little more collaborative; Ben started offering some suggestions and new song ideas, and we've written one or two as a group as well. Everyone definitely adds a little bit of a spin on whatever they're playing regardless of who wrote it, a lot of me and Ben sending stuff back and forth until we get it to a place where we're comfortable committing practice time to learning it. The lyrics and vocals are all me though, I feel like I enjoy a singular voice/tone throughout the music, it keeps it feeling cohesive to me even when we try new things instrumentally.

How did you discover your sound? What bands, songs, or albums influence your sound?

I think we sort of try and keep our sound within the guidelines that we obviously want it to be emotional and musically interesting, but also catchy, I feel like a lot of our influences excel at doing weird things in a catchy way, or taking catchy things and making them more interesting, so that's definitely something we strive for. I've been told even before the whole band was together, that my music reminds people of some Joy Division songs, which actually wasn't a band I was familiar with until I kept hearing that and looked into them more. We still get Joy Division once in a while, along with some stuff like The Strokes and earlier Arctic Monkeys stuff, which are both big influences for a couple of us. I think the other half of our style comes from a lot of those post punk british bands that are getting popular now, we really dig stuff like Black Midi, BCNR, Squid, King Krule, and I think trying to combine some of that (as best we can) with the previous bands would really be our niche.

What did the process of making your EP, I Feel Like You’re Haunting Me, look like, especially since you recorded all your songs?

Recording the EP was definitely a cool experience, Jared was just starting to join the band, so I played both guitars on it, and we recorded it by ourselves on Valleyview Drive (same with our newer single). Both Ben and Ethan did their takes in one day, which is super impressive as I spent several weeks on the guitars and vocals. I think obviously there are some things we'd go back and change if we could, as none of us really know much about recording, but overall I think we're happy with how it turned out, and I think songs like Nevermind, Television, and Cure Song, really encapsulate what we are trying for in terms of tone.

Who are some of your influences in music?

A lot of my influence comes from Alex Turner and Julian Casablancas, especially his work in the Voidz, Alex Turner especially the albums Humbug and Tranquility Base are so interesting and cohesive, and lyrically stellar. I feel like Julian especially hits this perfect mix of catchiness, emotion, and musicality, that is just really hard to top, Comedown Machine, and Tyranny/Virtue are some incredible albums that I wish I could have made myself. Ben's two big influences are Dave Grohl and Jack White, they're amazing and also catchy drummers, and they're both drummers first so they approach different instruments in a unique way.They also have a great sense of what is needed and playing the right parts in the right spots and not being afraid to leave space when it's needed. Ethan's main influences are Colin Greenwood for his bass playing, the use of space and dynamics is something that Ethan always tries to be aware of when playing, and he's also really into Alex G, he's been playing and writing on a lot of acoustic guitar recently, and really appreciates how strong of a songwriter he is. Jared's influence comes from Larry Lalonde and Geordie Greep, because they both play very sporadically and incorporate a lot of jazz-style chromaticism in their playing which really helps him be creative and try to do new and interesting things.

What songs are on repeat for you right now?

Ben - "2122" by Geese

Jesse - "Satan is a Lawyer" by Gojira

Jared - "I Might Be Wrong" by Radiohead

Ethan - "Tortoise of Independency" by King Krule.

Who are some of your favorite bands that you have performed with? Is there a band you are dreaming of performing with?

Locally our favorite bands to play with are James Castle and Dizzier. As for non-locals we are the biggest Brody Price fans in the world, we also loved playing with Knitting, Hodera, Screenager, and Reagan Cats. Our dream bands to play with would probably be The Voidz or Black Midi, either of those would be absolutely insane.

What is the music scene in Pittsburgh? How do you fit into it?

The music scene in Pittsburgh is pretty cool, there's a lot of really talented bands here, and a lot of really passionate music venues like the Government Center, The Roboto, Bottlerocket, and especially DIY house show venues which are super vital. The Deli (recently deceased), and Hammer House are really good ones we enjoyed playing at. I think in terms of fitting in with the scene, we can sort of adjust our set to be able to fit a wider variety of bills, so I think that's really helpful in getting to play places that might be a little more genre-specific, and we've definitely played with a few different corners of the scene so it's really nice to be able to get to know a larger portion of the bands and venues around.

What have been some of your favorite/ memorable performances?

I think our most memorable performance was going up to Athens, Ohio and playing at The Union with Short Fictions and a bunch of bands up there. They were doing a Pittsburgh themed show on 4/12 (PGH area code) called "Yinzer-Fest" and asked us to come up and play. It was our first show outside of Pittsburgh and we had no idea what to expect, but everyone there was extremely cool and the crowd was moshing to some of our softest songs which was really fun to see and be a part of. We've played there a few more times since then and it's always the best experience and makes the 4 hour drive worth it. We also absolutely loved playing with Brody Price, he and his band were some of the nicest and most talented people we've ever met and deserve the world.

What songs are your favorites to perform?

Ben's favorite song of ours to play is "American Windmill", Ethan's favorite is a yet-to-be-released song that is currently named after the EP (sometimes just called "Haunting"), Jared's is also an unreleased song called "Focus" that has gone through a billion changes before getting to the version we play now, and my favorite one to play is "Cure Song", it was one of my earliest song ideas and I think the lyrics really encapsulate a lot of what I want to sing about, with most of the songs having themes of mental health and illness.

Written and Interviewed by Veronica Anaya

Photography by Emily Conners

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