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Deap Vally | The Sound (and Gear) Of Desert Daze

Deap Vally | The Sound (and Gear) Of Desert Daze
We recently sat down at Desert Daze festival in Joshua Tree, CA with Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards of Deap Vally, where we talked about Fender Mustangs, Lindsey’s first pedal-buying experience at Guitar Center and why Julie can’t live without her Zildjian 21” Sweet Ride. Check out the full conversation below!

Guitar Center: Tell us about your main instrument.

Lindsey: My main instrument is my Fender Mustang – either a ’71 or ’73 I think. I’ve been playing that guitar ever since Deap Vally’s been a band - it’s really great.

What’s the story around that guitar?

L: It was actually my dad’s – he had bought it from a good friend of his. It’s been in the family for years. It’s awesome.

Is there something about the way it plays that fits your style?

L: It’s very light and aerodynamic. It has a darker sound than most Mustangs because of some of the modifications that have been done to it. Because it has the wrong pots, there’s less power that goes through it. It has a darker, more linear sound.

Tell us about the Mustang Bass.

L: It’s a 1975 Mustang Bass. I got it a few years ago when I was going to go out on tour with my friend’s band White Lung. I’m hoping we can incorporate it into some Deap Vally songs.

How is the transition between playing guitar and bass?

L: It’s so fun. It keeps it fresh and interesting. I love playing bass. I love how thick and substantial the strings feel under my fingers. It’s very meaty. But also, the whole distribution of weight of the neck is very different, so it’s fun to go back to guitar because then I feel so light. I can bounce around the stage with my guitar.

What’s your current kit set up?

Julie: I’ve got a Gretsch kit, but I’ll kind of play any kit. To me, the two crucial things I need to have are my Zildjian 21” Sweet Ride and Vater Power 5A Sticks. When I don’t have those, everything sounds wrong to me. I play the ride heavily in every song. It has all kinds of dynamics, long sustain - it’s deep, but not too bright. Really epic and climactic. It’s the greatest cymbal I’ve ever played, and I’ve never found another one as good. The Vater Power 5As are also my favorite. I find the wood they’re made with to be the smoothest - they don’t rip my hands up. They’re a little bit longer, which is good for me because I’m short and don’t have as much reach on the kit. It’s nice to have more length for heavier hitting.

Do you remember the very first instrument you ever played?

Lindsey: Not really. I got my first guitar as a Christmas present when I was in fourth grade. It was a little child-sized acoustic guitar. I don’t know what ever happened to it. I come from a musical family, so there were always guitars floating around.

Do you remember your first big musical “win”, or moment you realized “Music is something I want to pursue”?

L: For me, making the transition to electric guitar was incredibly liberating and freeing. I had become bored of the sounds an acoustic guitar could make, so it was like a whole new world of possibilities with an electric guitar and pedals. It’s endless, really. That changed my whole style of playing.

What’s the newest addition to your pedal board?

L: I have this great Earthquaker pedal called The Depths – it’s a tremolo. I’ve got some new ones that I’m going to f*** around with for the next record. I’m singing and playing at the same time on stage, so I’m used to where everything is on my board. I can’t add too much to it or otherwise I’d have to retrain my whole body to play differently.

Does your kit update frequently?

Julie: Continental shift. On this album cycle, I went to Guitar Center and purchased something I’ve always wanted - the little tambourine that attaches to the hi-hat! I need to take baby steps. That was my big revolutionary choice on Album 2. We’ll see how crazy I get for Album 3.

Performing live historically has its ups and downs tech-wise. If something goes wrong on stage, what do you do?

Lindsey: Power through.

Julie: Depends on your emotional state. Sometimes rage, or - 

L: Laughter.

J: Exactly. We’ve definitely had amps go out, and I’d have to do a drum solo for everyone.

L: But those moments are awesome! People love it. 

J: [Laughs] Drums are usually okay. Sometimes stuff falls over. But for the most part, those are things people really don’t notice. If the crash stand falls over, I’ll be mad and think “I can’t play the crash but I need to!” - and then I remember that no one is going to have that awareness watching. We always have techs and really awesome friends to come on tour with us to be side stage with the eagle eye looking out for stuff going wrong.

Is there a piece of gear you currently have on your wish list?

Lindsey: I have it already actually, now I just need to really master it. It’s the Line 6 DL4. I got it and I used it on one song on the last record , but I haven’t used it live yet.

What is your go-to piece of super cheap gear you’ve owned that people would be surprised to know is very reliable?

Julie: What was the first delay pedal I bought you?

Lindsey: That was from Guitar Center!

J: It was for Lindsay’s birthday or Christmas when we first started as a band. It was a little blue Delta Lab Digital Delay. It was only $60, and was a great pedal.

Lastly, what did you listen to on the drive to Desert Daze?

Lindsey: Eagles of Death Metal and The Distillers.

Julie: I listened to this podcast called “Dirty John” – I’m not really sure what it’s about, but I think it’s about a kidnapping. I’m only a few episodes in.

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