Shoegaze for the Soul: A Chat With Valley Palace

Lately the days have been pretty simple and same old, however, on a fine Tuesday I had the opportunity to FaceTime with Valley Palace, an up-and-coming Fresno-based artist that upon hearing his music, made me reminisce of DIY shows that seem like such a long time ago. Read the full interview below!

We both ask how we’re doing, smiling and excited for something different amongst our usual quarantine routines. 

I ask him how he got his start. In his beginnings of music-making, he mentions in high school he played Trombone in the band. We have a quick bonding moment over our high school band backgrounds. It wasn’t until his senior year of high school eight years ago, where he began writing music (usually just mumbled words) while playing his guitar. He found joy in making up little songs, with some of his friends encouraging him to make more.

He found inspiration through artists such as Beach Fossils and Diiv, and really looked up to them. He also recalls hearing their music in skate video compilations, which is how he discovered many of his favorite artists.

He tells me that eventually though, he thought to himself I don’t want to be the guy in the crowd anymore, and decided to pursue music-making further. 

I mention that his music gives me a “shoegaze kind of vibe”.

We get into the sound and feeling of his music, and he tells me that “emotion inspires sounds” and “[he] likes music that evokes feeling”. Valley Palace ensures me that an essence of himself is represented, and that his music “grabs a hold onto your soul”. 

As he explains, I can tell how important emotional expression is within his music, and he takes it very seriously. 

Within the creative process, Valley Palace explains how it is “based on feeling” and he “[has] to feel emotion while writing.”He notes that during the creative process, “he’s in his own world.”

In recent months Valley Palace has had more experiences which he recalls have influenced his music and lyrics a lot.

I express how well well I think his titles embody each song with the use of simple words. He bursts out laughing telling me that’s actually the last part of the creative process, and says “the lyrics tell me what the title should be.” He picks something that’s easy to remember too. 

With that, I ask him his favorite song he’s made, and with zero hesitation he tells me it’s “See You There,” because “it feels the exact same way” every time he listens to it. He elaborates in detail that the song “feels like a hug from myself,” and that the caring side of himself is fully embodied in this song.

As an artist, I’ve definitely felt like COVID-19 and being in isolation has definitely impacted my work, so I ask him what his experience has been like. 

Valley Palace gets into how quarantine has hindered his emotions, ending up with a lot of “blah songs.” Especially with recent events in the country, he was feeling bummed out. However, out of nowhere, he began to get glimpses of hope, making him feel a bit more optimistic and positive. Getting out of the house, going into nature, and skateboarding around are things he mentions that have helped him gather inspiration and sense of emotion. 

With these combined experiences, Valley Palace tells me this is how his latest single “Tapes” came to be.

Initially, the lyrics to Tapes are somewhat melancholy and definitely express a loss of purpose, such as: 

I try

To keep myself in line

But I’m never alright 

When I take a step outside

I try

To feel like I’m alive

But I’m never alright

When I lose myself inside 

Throughout the song, the tone shifts to more of an optimistic, “move forward, don’t look back” approach, with:

What’s your plan

When you see your new life walk by

Would you give your all or be left behind

Well these days

I feel a bit of desperation

My minds flooded with fascination

And later, 

But we were never meant to look back

We were never meant to look back

Through Valley Palace’s spur of positivity and optimism, he tells me that despite the events around us “we have to move forward,” and work towards a better tomorrow. 

As our interview comes to a close, I ask him about how he views himself as an artist, and what he wants to portray. He tells me “I’m just a pretty normal guy who plays his guitar,” but emphasizes that “everything I do I want it to be sincere,” and translates those emotions and sincerity in his music. 

His dream collabs are Men I Trust and Hoops.

Currently, he is working on an EP that is set to be finished sometime soon. You can stream his music on Spotify and Apple Music, and follow Valley Palace on Instagram!

Interview Conducted and Transcribed By: Alexa Terry

Photography By: Lalo Bersa