INTERVIEW: In The Valley Below Talks Life After L.A, Parenthood, and Music

L.A band In The Valley Below (Angela Gail & Jeffrey Jacob) have been together for the past eight years. After musically bonding in SXSW, In The Valley Below was born– releasing EPs and their first full length album The Belt in 2014. The lead single, “Peaches” landed them on late night TV with David Letterman and Conan. They’ve been busy touring in festivals also performing with other musical acts like White Lies, Cold War Kids, and Sir Sly. The band’s sophomore album The Pink Chateau on Bright Antenna Records will be released in April and have an exciting film project to go with it. The album will be sung in theaters as a live score across the nation at Alamo Drafthouses with headphones for an audio and visual experience. In The Valley Below’s Jeffrey Jacob spoke with B-Sides as they were ready to embark on more road trips.

 Your Instagram story had a few clips of your trip to Las Vegas and it was snowing! How was Vegas? Did you guys sight see or gamble there?

Yeah, it was crazy actually! We were traveling from Michigan where it was cold and snowing. We thought we would get a break from the winter weather then we show up to Las Vegas and it’s snowing there too (laughs). We had to play a show there. So we had to do business. We’d like to get around, but were not much of gamblers. It was just fun to walk around Las Vegas and see the madness and crazy architecture. It’s fun to people watch there too.

After moving to Southern California to achieve a music career and now left to live in Angela’s home-state of Michigan, was it an easy transition to go back to that slower pace of life? 

For us it was actually nice to leave Southern California because we’ve both been there for awhile. We were both “struggling musicians” trying to make it. We finally felt like we’ve made it enough that we could leave on our own terms. It didn’t feel like we were leaving in defeat. We felt like we done what we wanted to do. We got a record deal and have been touring a lot. We felt comfortable changing our home base, feels less crowded, and with more fresh air.

Is there an active music scene in Michigan? 

Yeah. I’m personally not from there so I had no idea of what to expect when we moved there. It honestly surprised me that there’s an active music scene. Lots of bands, artists, and talented people. I guess I was expecting a small town, but it’s a big city in Grand Rapids where we live. There’s tons of food and everything you want from a big city without the madness of Los Angeles.

Elephant is a lullaby for your son and the song Hold On Tight is about him.  How’s parenthood going?  Is it a harder job than being a musician?

(Laughs) I guess you can say yes because being a parent is the biggest challenge in anybody’s life I think. Not in a bad way but it’s a good challenge. It enforces you to think about somebody other than yourself, which is challenging because musicians are notoriously self-centered. You have to be self-centered to be an artist. So being a parent requires you to switch that off and focus on your kid. Honestly, it’s nice because otherwise you tend to drive yourself crazy if you think about yourself 24/7. It’s been a challenge but a fun one for us.

Angela & you have this amazing chemistry in your videos and on-stage, do you believe that being in a band together has strengthened your marriage?

I wouldn’t know how it would be without the band because we’ve always made music together. So I can’t say whether it would be better or worse without it. I’ve never experience anything other than this. I think we have a nice working relationship and I don’t have any issues. So at this point it’s all good.

A few of In The Valley Below songs have a political undertone like in “Stand Up” and “Blood Hands” along with your latest “Desperate Dance”, which is a motivational song that’s a call to action of sorts.  What were some of the personal experiences that pushed this song?

With “Desperate Dance” it’s not overly political. We never want to be preachy with any of our songs. We don’t have any answers to the big questions. We just want to meditate upon them and let people make their own choices. The song comes from a place of desperation, but it’s not specific of any situation. It can apply to a lot of different people’s lives. Personally, we’ve been through situations where we felt like we had to seize the day as cliche it may sound.  When you live a life like we do and you never know what’s going to happen next. You actually feel like those cliches apply to you. It definitely came from that kind of feeling.

Let’s reminisce to the time your hit “Peaches” came out almost six years ago.  Many will remember the first time hearing it in the movie Endless Love.  What was your memory and feeling when you first heard the song?

It was very surreal and obviously exciting to hear it on the radio.  We went to see Endless Love in the theater because we were excited to hear our song in it.  It was amazing!  We wrote that song in a tiny studio apartment in L.A .  I had no idea that anyone would hear it. We’re just trying to make songs we’d like to listen. To have it be played on the radio or in a movie with people watching, it’s just a humbling experience.

Your new album The Pink Chateau is dropping soon, what can you update us with?

Yes, we’re excited to put more stuff out there.  For us, it feels like a long time so we’re ready.  We have new song coming out “Rise”, which we finished recording with producer David Setik (TV on the Radio).  It was the first time working with him and it was a great experience.  We feel like it added a little different flavor from what we normally do.  We never worked with an outside producer usually we do everything ourselves.  It was a fun challenge to work with somebody else.  There are six additional songs mixed with the Elephant EP on this new album.

With the influences from Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins in your music, who do you think is a better frontman for Genesis or solo artist?

This is a tough one.  I’m gonna speak for Angela and myself here, but I have to say Peter Gabriel is closer to our hearts.  They’re quite different as frontman and solo artist.  We love them both! Musically and spiritually we have to go with Peter Gabriel.

In The Valley Below Tour 
Live Dates:Supporting Albert Hammond Jr.:
02/27 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
03/02 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
03/04 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
03/05 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater
03/07 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
03/08 – Los Angeles, CA @ Fonda Theater
03/19 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme
03/22 – Three Oaks, MI @ Acorn Theater 

Audio Immersive Cinema Tour:
04/09 – Brooklyn, NY @ Alamo Drafthouse
04/14 – Minneapolis, MN @ Alamo Drafthouse
04/16 – Kansas City, MO @ Alamo Drafthouse
04/17 – Dallas, TX @ Alamo Drafthouse
04/18 – Austin, TX @ Alamo Drafthouse
04/20 – Denver, CO @ Alamo Drafthouse
04/23 – San Francisco @ Alamo Drafthouse
04/29 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Bardot/School Night