Death Valley Girls Go Back to the Beginning with Street Venom Reissue

When Bonnie Bloomgarden arrived in Los Angeles seven years ago, she had one thing in mind: she came to get sober and start a new chapter in her life. Making music wasn’t part of that plan. Everything in her life was reactive, no motivation to think or be human. Told to bottle up her emotions as a teen, over-medicated and even institutionalized, she’d found ways to cope that were negatively affecting her life and well-being. “No one talked to me like I was a human. Everyone made me feel I was such a freak, so outside of reality,” she remembers. “No one ever said you’re supposed to feel emotions. If you feel emotions, there’s something wrong with you.” Stepping onto California soil, however, she knew she couldn’t leave music behind. “Once I was there I realized, I AM MUSIC. That’s what I do, I make songs,” she tells Audiofemme

Bloomgarden didn’t have a plan, just jamming out with some friends like a grindhouse girl-gang. Eventually, she put the word out to find a guitarist and drummer; if she didn’t find a band, she was going to move back home. Luckily, she met former Hole drummer Patty Schemel and her brother Larry, who was working at Hollywood record store Amoeba Music at the time. Soon after, they added bassist Rachel Orosco to the lineup, calling themselves Death Valley Girls. “They have the best taste of everything in the world,” Bloomgarden says of her bandmates. “We just started playing for a year and made tiny goals and kept achieving them. Becoming human again.” 

Their next goal was to tour, but they weren’t the type of band to beg to play or piggyback on a show bill, and it was to get difficult to book headlining shows with no recorded material. To that end, Death Valley Girls recorded their first record seven years ago, mainly because they wanted to play shows. After a two-day recording session, Street Venom was initially released in a limited cassette run. Fast forward to the present day: after a few member changes and a hectic tour schedule that’s included up to 200 shows a year, Suicide Squeeze Records is reissuing a deluxe edition of Street Venom on vinyl, a dream come true for the band. Larry Schemel feels like this release is different because it’s like sharing an old photo album with the fans. “We were still figuring out our song writing and sound,” he reveals. “We also thought it was a good time to focus on other projects, like finally releasing our first recordings on vinyl, since we haven’t been able to tour in these strange times. Suicide Squeeze help put together a really cool release – we were also able to include two songs from our first single that was also a super limited edition release. Now Street Venom has a proper place on the shelf with our other records.”

Bonnie Bloomgarden and Larry Schemel look back on those two days of recording, both characterizing it as mostly off-the-cuff. They had pieces of songs, but played everything live and totally improvised. Some songs were just intros, with no ending. Patty Schemel recorded her drums on the first take. It was a real rag-tag, yet magical experience that set the tone for what Death Valley Girls is today: chaotic, mystic garage rock allowing listeners to channel suppressed emotions through a headbanging session. Death Valley Girls created their own brand of rock ‘n’ roll catharsis, incongruous yet harmonic, a place in time where they exorcised their demons, while sounding like they play to please them.

On “Shadow” Bloomgarden sings, “Don’t know what his name is/Or what he’s doing here/Just stop following me/I just want to disappear,” describing some entity from her past following her like a dark, demonic silhouette. “Sanitarium Blues” revisits Bloomgarden’s troubled youth, a new video for the old classic directed by Wiktor Lekston (Cult Nug).

While recording Street Venom (and much of their catalogue to come), Death Valley Girls spilled it all on the page, by way of playing live. “We’ve always done it. We didn’t know it back then. Not knowing that it was normal for us, we still did it,” Bloomgarden marvels. Putting those “feelings that come unplanned” to tape gives every Death Valley Girls album a special zeal, but nowhere is that more true that Street Venom. “I love the sound of spontaneity and crazy energy. [Street Venom is] not a practiced recording. Is it rehearsed, or will it be the loopy, goofy moments that come together? Your records are to capture an exact live moment.”

Last year, Death Valley Girls came full circle with their latest LP, Under the Spell of Joy; Bonnie Bloomgarden and Larry Schemel remain at the band’s core, with help from bassist Nicole Smith and drummer Rikki Styxx, as well as guest-saxophone player Gabe Flores and guest keyboardists Gregg Foreman and Laura Kelsey, among others. Concerning itself with mystical principals, channeled through Death Valley Girls’ typical rock reckoning, the writing and recording process was, again, an almost subconscious effort. “Last record, we needed to say magic spells and chants out loud to manifest great things,” Bloomgarden says. “Everyone needs to be open and create spaces for themselves, and everyone [else].”

Its predecessor, 2018’s Darkness Rains, was more reactionary, symbolic of how the band was feeling about the state of the political reign of terror brought on by the 2016 election. But it also shed light on the surge of mental health crises, gender inequality, and trans issues were coming to the forefront, like an erupting volcano to the band. “Darkness Rains was about being angry and pissed,” Bloomgarden says. “We’re just people, and music is a religion, it’s prayer.”

Though the pandemic is far from over and Death Valley Girls are slowly returning to the stage, where they feel most comfortable, Bloomgarden points out that we all learned a little something about ourselves in lockdown that could have lasting effects as society re-emerges. “The thing I’ve noticed is that when everyone went inside, they all had an opportunity to see what their own energy is. Before COVID we were bumping into people’s energy, pulling other people, didn’t have a chance to realize our own energy,” she says. “I think everyone is going to realize they’re kind of psychic and an empath.”

Looking back to those recording sessions where the band first felt intimate, genuine, and in touch with their souls, the constant has remained to advocate awareness for people. The anger that inspired records like Street Venom and Darkness Rains has given way to a blueprint for how we can all challenge reality and societal norms to find catharsis – sometimes via the very act of rocking out. Death Valley Girls had to start somewhere, and for Bloomgarden, it had to begin with exorcism, a reaction to shoving her emotions aside for so long. “I want people to know that they should talk about [their feelings]. Street Venom is about not thinking and talking about it,” she says. “Our records became more about empowerment and how you be yourself.”

Follow Death Valley Girls on Instagram and Facebook for ongoing updates.

AF 2020 IN REVIEW: Our Favorite Albums & Singles of The Year

In a year that’s been like no other for the music industry, it feels a bit weird to make a best of 2020 list – there have been no tours, venues and clubs across the globe are in danger of closing their doors for good, release schedules were shuffled beyond recognition, and musicians have had to find other ways to make ends meet while those in the U.S. await the next round of paltry stimulus checks. With a situation so dire, the metrics have changed – should we ascribe arbitrary value to the skill of producers, songwriters, performers, and the execution of their finished projects, or simply celebrate records that made us feel like the whole world wasn’t crumbling?

Definitively ranking releases has never been the Audiofemme model for looking back on the year in music. Instead, our writers each share a short list of what moved them most, in the hopes that our readers will find something that moves them, too. Whether you spent the lockdown voraciously listening to more new music this year than ever before, or fell back on comforting favorites, or didn’t have the headspace to absorb the wealth of music inspired by the pandemic, the variety here emphasizes how truly essential music can be to our well-being. If you’re in the position to do so, support your favorite artists and venues by buying merch, and check out the National Independent Venue Association to stay updated on what’s happening with the Save Our Stages act. Here’s to a brighter 2021.


  • Marianne White (Executive Director)
    • Top 10 Albums:
      1) Mary Lattimore – Silver Ladders
      2) the Microphones – Microphones in 2020
      3) Soccer Mommy – Color Theory
      4) Megan Thee Stallion – Good News
      5) Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
      6) Amaarae – The Angel You Don’t Know
      7) Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
      8) Adrianne Lenker – songs/instrumentals
      9) Perfume Genius – Set My Heart On Fire Immediately
      10) Lomelda – Hannah
    • Top 5 Singles:
      1) Kinlaw – “Permissions”
      2) Billie Eilish – “Therefore I Am”
      3) Little Dragon & Moses Sumney – “The Other Lover”
      4) Yves Tumor – “Kerosene!”
      5) Megan Thee Stallion – “Shots Fired”

  • Lindsey Rhoades (Editor-in-Chief)
    • Top 10 Albums:
      1) Land of Talk – Indistinct Conversations
      2) Dehd – Flower of Devotion
      3) SAULT – Untitled (Black Is)/Untitled (Rise)
      4) Public Practice – Gentle Grip
      5) Cindy Lee – What’s Tonight to Eternity
      6) Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters
      7) Benny Yurco – You Are My Dreams
      8) Eve Owen – Don’t Let the Ink Dry
      9) Porridge Radio – Every Bad
      10) Jess Cornelius – Distance
    • Top 10 Singles:
      1) Little Hag – “Tetris”
      2) Elizabeth Moen – “Creature of Habit”
      3) Yo La Tengo – “Bleeding”
      4) Caribou – “Home”
      5) Jess Williamson – “Pictures of Flowers”
      6) Adrianne Lenker – “anything”
      7) Nicolás Jaar – “Mud”
      8) Soccer Mommy – “Circle the Drain”
      9) New Fries – “Ploce”
      10) El Perro Del Mar – “The Bells”


  • Alexa Peters (Playing Seattle)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Deep Sea Diver – Impossible Weight
      2) Blimes and Gab – Talk About It
      3) Perfume Genius – Set My Heart On Fire Immediately
      4) Tomo Nakayama – Melonday
      5) Matt Gold – Imagined Sky
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Stevie Wonder – “Can’t Put it in the Hands of Fate”
      2) Tomo Nakayama – “Get To Know You”
      3) Ariana Grande – “Positions”

  • Amanda Silberling (Playing Philly)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Frances Quinlan – Likewise
      2) Bartees Strange – Live Forever
      3) Told Slant – Point the Flashlight and Walk
      4) Diet Cig – Do You Wonder About Me?
      5) Shamir – Shamir
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Kississippi – “Around Your Room”
      2) Sad13 – “Hysterical”
      3) The Garages – “Mike Townsend (Is a Disappointment)”

  • Ashley Prillaman (Contributor)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Perfume Genius – Set My Heart On Fire Immediately
      2) Lasse Passage – Sunwards
      3) Megan Thee Stallion – Good News
      4) Grimes – Miss Anthropocene
      5) Yves Tumor – Heaven To A Tortured Mind
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Megan Thee Stallion – “B.I.T.C.H.”
      2) Perfume Genius – “On the Floor”
      3) SG Lewis & Robyn – “Impact” (feat. Robyn & Channel Tres)

  • Cat Woods (Playing Melbourne)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Jarvis Cocker – Beyond the Pale
      2) Róisín Murphy – Róisín Machine
      3) Run the Jewels – RTJ4
      4) Emma Donovan & The Putbacks – Crossover
      5) Various Artists – Deadly Hearts: Walking Together
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Emma Donovan & The Putbacks – “Mob March”
      2) Laura Veirs – “Freedom Feeling”
      3) Miley Cyrus – “Never Be Me”

  • Chaka V. Grier (Playing Toronto)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Lianne La Havas – Lianne La Havas
      2) Joya Mooi – Blossom Carefully
      3) Lady Gaga – Chromatica
      4) Witch Prophet – DNA Activation
      5) Tremendum – Winter
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Lianne La Havas – “Green Papaya”
      2) Lady Gaga – “Free Woman”
      3) Allie X – “Susie Save Your Love”

  • Cillea Houghton (Playing Nashville)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Chris Stapleton  – Starting Over
      2) Brett Eldredge – Sunday Drive
      3) Little Big Town – Nightfall
      4) Ingrid Andress – Lady Like
      5) Ruston Kelly – Shape & Destroy
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights”
      2) Billie Eilish – “Therefore I Am”
      3) Remi Wolf  – “Hello Hello Hello”

  • Eleanor Forrest (Contributor)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Grimes – Miss Anthropocene
      2) Rina Sawayama – SAWAYAMA
      3) Allie X – Cape Cod
      4) LEXXE – Meet Me in the Shadows
      5) Gustavo Santaolalla, Mac Quayle – The Last of Us Part II (Original Soundtrack)
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) CL – “+5 STAR+”
      2) Yves Tumor & Kelsey Lu – “let all the poisons that lurk in the mud seep out”
      3)  Stephan Moccio – “Freddie’s Theme”

  • Gillian G. Gaar (Musique Boutique)
    • Top 10 Albums:
      1) Dust Bowl Faeries – Plague Garden
      2) Ganser – Just Look At That Sky
      3) Oceanator – Things I Never Said
      4) Loma – Don’t Shy Away
      5) Maggie Herron – Your Refrain
      6) Pretenders – Hate for Sale
      7) The Bird and the Bee – Put up the Lights
      8) Partner – Never Give Up
      9) Bully – Sugaregg
      10) Olivia Awbrey – Dishonorable Harvest

  • Jason Scott (Contributor)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Mickey Guyton – Bridges EP
      2) Katie Pruitt – Expectations
      3) Mandy Moore – Silver Landings
      4) Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
      5) Cf Watkins – Babygirl
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Mickey Guyton – “Black Like Me”
      2) Ashley McBryde – “Stone”
      3) Lori McKenna feat. Hillary Lindsey and Liz Rose – “When You’re My Age”

  • Jamila Aboushaca (Contributor)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Tame Impala – The Slow Rush
      2) Khruangbin – Mordechai
      3) Kid Cudi – Man on the Moon III: The Chosen
      4) Tycho – Simulcast
      5) Run the Jewels – RTJ4
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Tame Impala – “Lost In Yesterday”
      2) Phoebe Bridgers – “Kyoto”
      3) Halsey – “You should be sad”

  • Liz Ohanesian (Contributor)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Róisín Murphy – Róisín Machine
      2) Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure?
      3) Phenomenal Handclap Band – PHB
      4) Khruangbin – Mordechai
      5) TootArd – Migrant Birds
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Anoraak – “Gang” 
      2) Kylie Minogue – “Magic”
      3) Horsemeat Disco feat. Phenomenal Handclap Band – “Sanctuary”  

  • Michelle Rose (Contributor)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
      2) Taylor Swift – folklore
      3) Shamir – Shamir
      4) Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure?
      5) HAIM – Women in Music Pt. III
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Porches – “I Miss That” 
      2) Annabel Jones – “Spiritual Violence”
      3) Wolf – “High Waist Jeans”  

  • Sara Barron (Playing Detroit)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Summer Walker – Over It
      2) Yaeji – WHAT WE DREW
      3) Liv.e – Couldn’t Wait to Tell You
      4) Ojerime – B4 I Breakdown
      5) KeiyaA – Forever, Ya Girl
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Yves Tumor – “Kerosene!”
      2) Kali Uchis, Jhay Cortez – “la luz (fin)”
      3) fleet.dreams – “Selph Love”

  • Sophia Vaccaro (Playing the Bay)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Charli XCX – how i’m feeling now
      2) The Front Bottoms – In Sickness & In Flames
      3) Zheani – Zheani Sparkes EP
      4) Various Artists – Save Stereogum: A ’00s Covers Comp
      5) Halsey – Manic
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Charli XCX – “forever”
      2) Doja Cat – “Boss Bitch”
      3) Wolf – “Hoops”

  • Suzannah Weiss (Contributor)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Galantis – Church
      2) Best Coast – Always Tomorrow
      3) Overcoats – The Fight
      4) Holy Motors – Horse
      5) Suzanne Vallie – Love Lives Where Rules Die
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) CAMÍNA – “Cinnamon”
      2) Naïka – “African Sun”
      3) Edoheart – “Original Sufferhead”

  • Tarra Thiessen (RSVP Here, Check the Spreadsheet)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Brigid Dawson & The Mothers Network – Ballet of Apes
      2) Ganser – Just Look At That Sky
      3) Death Valley Girls – Under The Spell of Joy
      4) The Koreatown Oddity – Little Dominiques Nosebleed
      5) Ghost Funk Orchestra – An Ode To Escapism
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Miss Eaves – “Belly Bounce”
      2) Purple Witch of Culver – “Trig”
      3) Shilpa Ray – “Heteronormative Horseshit Blues”

  • Victoria Moorwood (Playing Cincy)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Lil Baby – My Turn
      2) A$AP Ferg – Floor Seats II
      3) Polo G – The Goat
      4) The Weeknd – After Hours
      5) Teyana Taylor – The Album
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”
      2) Roddy Ricch  – “The Box”
      3) Big Sean & Nipsey Hussle – “Deep Reverence”

RSVP HERE: Death Valley Girls Stream via Levitation Sessions + MORE

Photo Credit: David Fearn

Looking to unblock your pineal gland with some otherworldly guidance this fall? You’re in luck! Los Angeles proto-punk psych-rock band Death Valley Girls will open your third eye with their new space gospel soaked record Under the Spell of Joy due out October 2nd. Dipping their feet into the Akashic records isn’t new territory for the band, who are brave enough to write their lyrics the morning before they record with the help of spirits from other layers of our universe. Their latest record was inspired from the text of t-shirt that guitarist/vocalist Bonnie Bloomgarden wore every day for five years – its words ‘Under the Spell of Joy’ became a motto and inspiration for Bloomgarden to manifest her desires. With Larry Schemel on guitar, she wrote the record with the intention to bring people together with its hypnotic choirs and chorus’ to chant along to. The next chance to raise your vibration with Death Valley Girls live is the Levitation Sessions livestream via Seated on Saturday, September 5th! We chatted with Bloomgarden about her favorite alien race, connecting to alternate dimensions and the pandemic’s effect on her views of life, death and societal growth.

AF: What experiences, records, and other media forms inspired your upcoming release Under the Spell of Joy?

BB: The main sources of inspiration were studying the dream state, Terrence McKenna, trying to access the akashic records, the Duncan Trussell Family Hour podcast, his guest Mitch Horowitz, and learning about Neville Goddard.

AF: After writing a record that channels something from “somewhere in the future,” has your perspective on what the future holds changed?

BB: The more I think about it, I think what we channeled was not necessarily in the future or the past or even time as we understand it at all! I think we just connected to an energy, alternate dimension, or some type of higher being and that gave us access to these songs.

AF: Do you feel like the pandemic as a whole will lead to a greater spiritual evolution/awakening for society?

BB: We believe so, because we have to. It is horrible and terrible that anyone has to suffer or that our society seems like it has to completely implode for justice to prevail. However, the only way we can look at this all is as an opportunity for growth. When we grow we become strong and compassionate; this is just part of that journey.

AF: What have you learned in the past few months about yourself as a musician and how you operate as a band?

BB: Mostly the last few months I’ve realized I was only a musician the last few years, not really a human. We were on the road like five tours a year for I think three years. I built no life for myself at all! I basically gave everything I had energetically for a month on tour, then cocooned silently in my room until we had another tour, nothing in between. Now that we don’t have tour I’m learning how to not cocoon (while also quarantining, so that’s pretty far out!). I got my first plant! And got a printer so I can make art. Trying to get excited about stuff like that.

AF: Now that the fall is creeping up on us, do you have any accounts of paranormal activities you’d like to share? Are you partial to any specific alien race?

BB: Haha! I’m not actually a contactee! I’m involved with contactee and abductee support groups, but I’m not one myself. I definitely love the Pleiadians and their message. I would love to hear from them someday!

AF: I read in a past interview that you were kind of excited for end times because you really want to have a compound to be with your friends. Have you created or thought out your apocalypse compound or have any other doomsday plans?

BB: Yeah, I’ve been thinking about it non-stop! I lived on a compound-esque farm in upstate New York so I kind of have an idea of what I would want. And if I were alone in the world I would definitely make it happen. But I live with my little nephews now, and being with them and them being safe is the most important thing. Freedom and compound will come when the world is safe for them!

AF: Have these past months in lockdown changed your views on life, death, the afterlife, and spiritual transcendence?

BB: That’s a good question! When I thought about the black plague or other major world altering events I never really thought of the individual people and their experiences. I think this time has given me a new perspective in the sense that we are like caretakers for the earth. We come and go and teach and learn, and in the end hopefully we leave the earth better than we found it.

AF: What are your plans for the rest of 2020 and beyond?

BB: Learn, grow, create, write, sing, fight, love, and on and on…

RSVP HERE for Death Valley Girls via Levitation Sessions on 9/5, 8pm ET. $3.98-100

More great livestreams this week…

9/4 Patti Smith via Murmrr Theatre. RSVP HERE

9/4 Long Neck, Cheekface, Shay, Diners and Pinkshit via Twitch. 7pm ET, RSVP HERE

9/5 Death to Museums: Organizing + Mutual Aid via YouTube. 12 ET, RSVP HERE 

9/5 I’m Talking to White People: Your Role in the Fight For Justice by Kenny A. Burrell. 11am ET, $50, RSVP HERE

9/7 The New Colossus Fest: Blushing, Ceremony East Coast, Elijah Wolf, Jelly Kelly, Michael Rault, Pearl Charles  via YouTube. 5pm ET, RSVP HERE 

9/9 + 9/10 Margo Price via FANS – Live from Brooklyn Bowl Nashville. 8pm ET, RSVP HERE

9/9 Devendra Banhart via Noonchorus. 9pm ET, $15, RSVP HERE

9/10 LA Witch (album release party) via DICE. 10pm ET, $11.30, RSVP HERE

9/10 DEHD via KEXP at home. 4pm ET, RSVP HERE

INTERVIEW: Bonnie Bloomgarden of Death Valley Girls Discusses the Band’s Dark Side

Around this time of year, it’s natural – or should I say supernatural? – to think about the mysteries of the unseen. Ghosts, spirits, forces – things we can feel but don’t know how to explain. While some of us like to dabble in the supernatural world for a few days out of the year, the members of LA-based band Death Valley Girls (Bonnie Bloomgarden, Larry Schemel, Nicole Smith, and Laurie Kelsey), live in a spiritual realm year-round. The band has made a lifestyle out of seeking answers to the world’s mysteries and translating their experiences into hard-hitting, ghoulish rock ‘n’ roll music.

The band’s latest album Darkness Rains is a lurid body of work that reflects the group’s exchanges with the spiritual world, accompanied by their qualms with the material world. While past records like Glow in The Dark ride the band’s recurring theme of celestial encounters, Darkness Rains is clouded with an overarching sense of gloom that’s not present in past works. While lead singer Bloomgarden says the ominous theme wasn’t intentional – the record was named after the studio dog – she blames the album’s solemnity on her surroundings. “I think we can safely state that it’s been a really dark, hard few years,” says Bloomgarden. “That’s just what’s happening. I didn’t want it to be somber, I wanted to make people happy.”

We talked to Bloomgarden about channeling spirits while writing Darkness Rains, performing at haunted hotels, and Iggy Pop’s undeniable reign as the coolest person ever.

AF: I love the new record. One of the songs that sticks out to me is “Street Justice.” I feel like that phrase brings a lot of things to mind. Where was your mindset when you wrote the song?

BB: We’re individually very political, but that’s our personal life. For the band, we’re entertainers. Our job is to make people happier and bring people together to see rock ‘n’ roll and enjoy something outside of their life that might be bothering them. I think it’s cool when bands are super political, but that’s just not something we wanted to be because we wanted to bring people together. But I feel like, with that song, we just couldn’t help it. We have ways that we feel and there are so many things going on that are unjust. None of the words were intentional – we write the words for all the songs the morning we record – it just popped out from outer space or wherever they come from. But then afterwards were like, “Woah, that actually has a lot of meaning. Cool. That’s way better than if it didn’t mean anything.” Things need to change for sure. Especially the way people treat other people sexually, and that’s kind of what it’s about.

AF: For sure. That’s crazy that you write all the songs the morning you record!

BB: Yeah, I’m a bad attention span person, so it’s really hard to just sit down and write, because doing almost everything else is just way more fun. So then right before we go in, I’m like “Oh shit, I didn’t write the words.” Everyone knows I’m lying when I’m like “I have the words, don’t worry.” Then I’m like, I really gotta do this and it’s just like channeling. All of them will just flop out from somewhere. They go through my head and then on paper. They all just come out exactly as they are, it’s really weird. I don’t know how or why that happens. We’ve been trying to look more into “automatic writing” – when your hand just writes stuff and you’re channeling.

AF: That’s intense. Some of the lyrics are pretty dark. What prompted that?

BB: We like dark stuff but a lot of it is interest in death and what happens after you die and not wanting to wait until we die to find out. And also, not wanting people to be sad when people die because in 2017 everyone was dying and we were just like, oh my god. Doesn’t everyone know that everyone’s going to die and all we can do is change the way we look at it? Why don’t we try and change that? And what if what it looks like is that we’re happy we got to even be together at all? It’s dark stuff but you can still smile. And it can make you be inspired to fix stuff. It doesn’t have to make you just hide.

AF: For sure. I read in another article that the band has had a lot of supernatural experiences… are those still happening?

BB: Oh yeah, every day I learn more and more and I’m like, woah, there’s so many mysteries in the universe. We want to know more and there’s so much more. I think everyone thinks about it in different ways, but we’re more excited about it so we talk about it more. Everyone has weird beliefs, our band is just kind of our life. It’s the way we live our whole life, most jobs you get to walk away from it at night, but this is our job all the time. Just thinking about stuff. The more we think about supernatural stuff, the more we think in general, the more we ask each other, the more we wanna figure stuff out and the more excited we get and want to write new songs.

AF: Has anything supernatural happened on this tour?

BB: Well, we did play at this super haunted hotel that one of us got possessed at three years ago. The tale behind that is very long and complicated, but we played there and it’s definitely haunted. There’s a feeling you can get in your lymph nodes when you walk into a super haunted place. It feels icky and the ceiling seems to feel like it’s way closer. These are just things we’ve learned and noted throughout the years. We stayed there and it was just interesting to be able to have those feelings in our lymph nodes, sort of like a nauseous feeling. Every place you go isn’t completely haunted with negative energy and not everywhere you go is even haunted. I’m not sure if I believe in ghosts but I know they’re there when I feel them. We did find out the person that got possessed used an Ouija board last time we were there and you’re not supposed to use that. Ever. I feel really bad, I’ve been blaming this hotel for years when really it was our fault.

AF: Because of the Ouija board?

BB: Yeah, I don’t think you should use them anywhere. You can make your own, but they’re just like portals… I mean, of course it’s all conjecture, but I believe because it’s a thing you purchase and it’s so impersonal, you shouldn’t buy those because it’s an easy way for different ghosts that you aren’t asking to talk to come through and that’s when dangerous things happen. If you make your own, you have more control. I cannot recommend lowly enough the Ouija board. It ruins people’s lives.

AF: What made you want to go back to that hotel even though you had a creepy experience there?

BB: This is gonna sound crazy, but we feel like we’re paranormal investigators. We want to know more. And we put ourselves in situations that we know aren’t necessarily gonna feel that good, but who wouldn’t want to know more? We were between two places in Arizona – Tucson and Bisbee – and we chose the place that had a higher potential of haunted-ness. That’s just something that’s important to us. I don’t know why, it just seems like, why wouldn’t you want to experience more? But I got really scared. I was the last one to go to bed and the beds were like a foot above the ground and I was like ‘no ghosts allowed on the bed, no ghosts allowed on the bed, no ghosts allowed in the mirror.’ I don’t know, I guess we like to be scared. We just wanna find out the mysteries that surround us. I think that seems normal.

AF: I think it is, I think a lot of people are afraid of what they don’t know.

BB: But they love some things that they don’t know. Like, they love God or their special friend in the sky. Why is that any less weird than some of the cool things that are on earth and in the sky. I’m not poo-pooing anyone. I believe that if they believe it and enough people believe it, then it’s real. There is god and all the things that everyone believes. The power of person to create what person believes is really just as powerful as an actual spirit. We can manifest things that don’t exist by the power of our mind. It’s really weird. If you believe something’s going to happen then it has a much better chance of happening than if you don’t believe it at all.

AF: Speaking of that, I was dying when I saw your music video with Iggy Pop just chilling eating a cheeseburger. How?

BB: I can’t believe it. When I hear people talking about it, I’m like, that can’t possibly be real. He’s exactly who I wanted him to be. Just the coolest person in the world. Obviously. It’s not like I was surprised but it’s always nice to find out that the coolest person in the world IS actually the coolest person in the world.

AF: How did that all come together?

BB: He played us on his radio station like two years ago on my birthday and I woke up and saw my phone and it said “Iggy Pop says our band is a gift to the world.” And I was like – is this a birthday prank? Did somebody Photoshop this and put it on Twitter? Then I just jumped around for 20 minutes and was screaming. That he knew of our band and he said the name of our band – all of this alone would’ve been enough for me to be happy for the rest of my life. But then we found out he played us, and our friend Kansas Bowling who directs most of our videos was like “Tonight I had this dream that Iggy was doing the Andy Warhol video of Andy Warhol eating a burger. We should just do this for your music video.” And she just made it happen. We never let our minds believe that it could possibly be real, but then we started seeing emails that were like, saying it was going to happen. Then we decided we had to go. And we went and we met him. It lasted so long, the feeling of how cool he is. It’s like a drug or something. It made us better people, just to be in his presence. If you were to ask us who’s one person in the world you’d like to meet, we would’ve said him but we’d be like “but we never will.” Even still, if someone was like “What if you could meet one person in the world?” We’d be like, “Iggy Again.”

Catch Death Valley Girls on tour now through the end of Scorpio season:

10.30.18 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
11.01.18 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
11.02.18 – Cleveland, OH @ The Winchester
11.03.18 – Detroit, MI @ Deluxx Fluxx
11.04.18 – Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen
11.05.18 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
11.07.18 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
11.08.18 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
11.09.18 – Boise, ID @ The Olympic
11.11.18 – Chico, CA @ Duffy’s
11.13.18 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
11.14.18 – Vancouver, BC @ Fox Cabaret
11.15.18 – Bellingham, WA @ The Shakedown
11.16.18 – Seattle, WA @ Freakout
11.17.18 – Eugene, OR @ Old Nicks
11.20.18 – San Francisco, CA Rickshaw Stop