Meet The Band: Death Valley High

Death Valley High
Minus Head Records

This week, Death Valley High are the featured Meet The Band artist. The California band’s latest album is Cvlt (As Fvk). Vocalist/guitarist Reyka Osburn introduces us to his band.

Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Death Valley High.
Reyka Osburn: Long before Adam, myself, and Huffy started to get our act on the road, I had released an album with some special guest musicians from Will Haven, TINFED and Halford. I called it Death Valley High, and that was going to be it. I was going to hang up the band life and stick to producing and DJing dance music. I still have plans to do that, but the main musical focus is, and has been, Death Valley High. For now, it’s just more fun for me than DJing.

Describe the writing and recording process for Cvlt (As Fvk).
Writing started while we were on tour and I was collecting guitar riffs, synth lines, and drum beats. Eventually those turned into 15-17 songs that we had demos and pre-production for. Once we were in the studio, we hit a few snags and we had to stick with the best use of our time.

We shot for 11 songs and ended up with 12, so that ain’t nothing to spit at. Ulrich Wild was great to work with because of his dedication and expertise. I think we were a bit of a challenge for him since we come from a noisier background. But he really opened our eyes in the final mixes. He gave our noise a time and a place.

How would you characterize the album’s style/sound?
We’ve been saying Death Disco for a while now, and I think we’ve gotten closer to our claims. I think our favorite description recently was “Californian electronic/industrial disco noisefucks”.  What we call ourselves changes often but we really do stick to our “Dark ’80s Disco Metal Punk” claim. It just sounds scary and noisy.

Tell us about the video and short film for “Warm Bodies.”
We have this running theme for the band’s duality. We consistently enjoy presenting two sides. When we started to discuss the video with director Brian Cox, we were excited by the thought of going one direction and then halfway through, taking another direction entirely. “Warm Bodies” starts off in search of a good time, and ends up in a “horribly” good time.

What has been your most memorable Death Valley High live show?
Our last San Antonio show was a complete surprise. We’d played there a few times before, but the recipe of that night was somehow in our favor. However, there was one time we had an all-girl mosh pit break out. Instruments and bodies were hurled around with broken glass. That show has been pretty hard to top.

What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
We’re heading out with Killing Joke in the UK and Europe. Then we’ll take a break for the holiday and run out with Powerman 5000 and Orgy for a North American tour in January. Then we’re off to Europe again for February and March.

How did you get started in music?
Playing in post-punk and metal bands growing up. I loved Noise Rock and Doomy Hell House music. My first band Tinfed was signed to a local independent label in SF and I’ve been playing music or DJing consistently for years.

Who were your early influences and inspirations?
I’ve listened to so many different styles of music for as many years but I’d probably have to say seeing concert footage of The Cult on their Love tour, was a defining moment. The smell of fog machines in dark nightclubs led me straight to Ministry/NIN/Skinny Puppy. I knew I wanted to front my own band.

What was the first rock/metal show you attended as a fan?
I went to a lot of all age punk shows at Gilman Street in Berkeley. I’d seen plenty of great punk and post-punk bands but maybe it was Neurosis or The Accused that were my first “metal” bands.

Seen any good movies or DVDs lately?
Absolutely loved “Neon Demon” by Nicolas Winding Refn. But for good scares, “Lights Out” and “Don’t Breathe” are legit. Looking forward to seeing “31” and “Ouija” but not getting my hopes up too much.

What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Health, Carpenter Brut, S U R V I V E, Death Grips and Drake.

Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Yeah, we have plenty of videos coming out. We have a video for “Ick Switch” coming out to ick you out, some drum playthoughs, bass gear talks. I even did a vlog on Creepypastas. If all goes right, we should have another music video made for “Psalm Bitch”. Keep an eye on our YouTube. There’s plenty creeping up!

(interview published October 29, 2016)

Watch Death Valley High – “Warm Bodies” Video

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