Heather Valley had been begun her musical career before moving to Hamilton but now that she’s ingratiated herself into the local scene, she’s been busy working on a tandem solo and band career. With a more pensive folk outing for her solo material set for next month, this week sees a new EP release from her hard rocking band, Another Crush.
“I grew up in North Bay but moved south for school — what’s interesting is I connected with a group of Hamiltonians before I moved and they introduced me the music that would be informative, my influences,” says Valley. “It always felt like I belonged here but I only came here last May when we started this band and moved here last December.
“I taught myself to play guitar when I moved away from home to go to school but officially focused on music starting about two years ago,” adds Valley. “I put myself through law school and got a job practicing civil litigation in Brantford. Everything was on track to live a standard life but a number of things made me change direction. I met a con man that put be through hell for years and I had a complete breakdown. That happened two years ago last August. Only recently have I started feeling better, recovering myself. I turned to music and never thought it would be my life’s path but it was the only way after my breakdown.
Heather Valley (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Taylor Robertson (lead guitar), and Dave Habza (bass) were kindred spirits, channeling a more hard–edged style of alternative rock perhaps more ’90s based but with a modern flair. There connections could conjure up comparisons to Silversun Pickups or as Valley could suggest a band like Garbage but musical touchstones weren’t the only thing the band had in common.
“I did solo shows and it just seemed so lonely,” says Valley. “I met Dave Habza - an incredible bassist and pianist and he had the idea of putting together a band inspired by ’90s alternative rock like Garbage. We found some more like minded people and literally the day after we decided the band existed, Taylor’s family died in a plane crash. It doesn’t seem like the type of thing that happens in real life. We gave him space and after a couple of weeks, he came back to us saying he found a lot of healing in music and I really identified with that. The songs we wrote as a band began to have a lot more meaning to who we were as musicians and people. As hard as it has been getting through those things, it has been incredible helpful being able to lean on each other and brought another incredible layer to the music. You have to take the good with the bad and you can’t get lost in the valley too long.
“We’ve worked with a couple of incredible local drummers but we maybe didn’t have the same musical vision — currently we’re working with a Toronto drummer, Kevin Lee — he’s been great and he’ll be with us for our release party,” adds Valley. “We’ve been promoting this music with special videos and more over the last month so we’re happy to finally be officially releasing this EP.”
Slickly produced, the music of Another Crush is hard hitting rock and the band hopes to bring the same kind of punch to their live show. While their seems to be a dark cloud hovering over the lyrical matter, Valley suggests that it’s about perspective and some people are only happy when it rains.
“We have a wry sense of humour and really been through some tough times — the way I look at it, it’s more of an existential theme more than a negative theme,” says Valley. “You can have a crush on a person or you can be crushed by the things you care about. That’s where we got our name that and that’s what we wanted to put into songs. The stylized images from our videos is a tribute to our influences with an intentional effort to show our roots as a band but we’re shifting more into what people can see at shows.
“When people come to see us live, we’re not just grunge, alt rock or ’90s pop,” adds Valley. “We’re influenced by those things but we’re our own band with our own look. There is lots of theatre and performance in our shows. It’s not planned in advance but it gets really crazy so I don’t even know what to expect when we get on stage. We want to have a big party for this show with some great female fronted bands coming together. We want to get the music out and play as much as we can. We’ve had a consistently good reaction from audiences. As soon as we play for an audience, It’s the sonics of the music and the fun of the performance and they seem to really get into it. If we’re able to get the music out and get back in to record more, that’d be the dream for us. My primary goal is to make art every day so we just want to see how far this project can take us.” V
Wednesday October 9 at the Casbah with Planned Dilemma, Ellis in Transit, and Boxcar Ben. Doors are at 8pm and tickets are $10. Click on anothercrushband.com