Wellington, New Zealand based emtional, gritty, screamo infused post hardcore act HAPPY VALLEY started as a band in 2018, born from some long conceived and finally acted upon plans. The songs from their debut EP were written in a damp, cold flat, and initial demos created with a bunch of equipment borrowed from the library.
“It was a steep learning curve as initially only one of us had been in a band before, and even then, not for long. Since then we have come a long way, notably with the addition of our current drummer Aaron, who brought out a whole new level to our music, and in our live show, both with his experience and his talent.” – comments the band.
On June 27th, the band dropped their first new single and music video this year and are already plotting another EP for early September, along with a New Zealand tour.
Today, we’re giving you a special track presentation, along with the band’s first-hand commentary, song explanation, their take on COVID-19, anti-racial protests followng the tragic death of George Floyd, their local music scene in New Zealand, and special Spotify playlist with many great tracks worth a check!
“This single is the first piece of music completely written from scratch with our current line-up, and we think it represents a big step up for us. I guess as a band it somewhat represents us throwing off doubt and just going for it, with a lot of work and dedication being put into the music and everything surrounding it.”
𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑐𝑘 𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑏𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑑𝑎𝑦𝑑𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑟 𝑏𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑙𝑜𝑠𝑡 𝑖𝑛 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑜𝑤𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑔ℎ𝑡𝑠, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜𝑜 𝑚𝑢𝑐ℎ 𝑎𝑏𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑠𝑡𝑢𝑓𝑓 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑𝑛’𝑡 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑏𝑒 𝑑𝑤𝑒𝑙𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑛.
“Particularly big questions of why we’re all here or what’s the meaning of life. I tried running with the idea that if someone were to happen upon “the answer”, whatever that might be, it’d still be unattainable and out of reach. Like when you’re in a dream/nightmare and you wake up before the end. I’m not really sure if I see myself as an atheist or agnostic or anything like that, but I’m definitely not religious, so this is my response to all of that.”
Plans for the rest of the year vs COVID-19
“2020 is a big year for us, and we aren’t going to let the disruption of COVID-19 get in the way of that. This single and music video is our first release this year, and is something we have put a lot of work into, but we will also be following it up with an EP, slated for early September, and a New Zealand tour. We also have a couple of festivals around the country we will be playing at, barring any further disruptions. Really, we want to take every opportunity thrown at us, and do everything we can.
Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, we have been incredibly lucky with COVID-19. We don’t have community transmission at this stage, and have all been out of lockdown for over a month. In comparison to many other places, this is incredible and we are so thankful. Despite this, our local venues have been struggling with the loss of revenue, but we are happy to say that there have been a number of really successful crowdfunding initiatives to keep them going. We couldn’t be more grateful for the situation we are in here, and it is horrible to see the virus spreading and causing so much harm all around the globe.”
George Floyd and anti-racial protests around the world
“As a band, we are anti-racist, anti-fascist, and anti-white supremacy. What is going on in the United States is the result of age-old problems which have never even approached being solved, and we whole-heartedly support the protesters.”
𝑂𝑢𝑟 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑐 𝑙𝑎𝑟𝑔𝑒𝑙𝑦 𝑓𝑜𝑐𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑠 𝑜𝑛 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑤𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑠𝑖𝑡𝑢𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑑, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝐴𝑜𝑡𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑜𝑎 𝑁𝑒𝑤 𝑍𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑡 𝑖𝑠 𝑖𝑚𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑤𝑒 𝑎𝑐𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤𝑙𝑒𝑑𝑔𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑘 𝑡𝑜 𝑑𝑖𝑠𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑙𝑒 𝑠𝑖𝑚𝑖𝑙𝑎𝑟 𝑖𝑠𝑠𝑢𝑒𝑠 ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑔𝑒𝑛𝑜𝑢𝑠 𝑝𝑒𝑜𝑝𝑙𝑒.
“Aotearoa New Zealand also has a history of racism which permeates to the modern day, as indigenous people continue to be alienated from their land, face higher imprisonment rates and worse health outcomes. We must honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and work to dismantle systemic oppression.”
Wellington hardcore scene
“The scene here is going through a bit of a renaissance period after a bit of a dead patch, particularly here in Wellington. A lot of people have put in the hard graft and it’s great to see new bands popping up and fresh faces at shows.”
𝑊𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑙𝑢𝑐𝑘𝑦 𝑒𝑛𝑜𝑢𝑔ℎ 𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑝𝑙𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑦𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑒 𝑢𝑝 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑎 𝑏𝑢𝑛𝑐ℎ 𝑜𝑓 𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑏𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑠, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 ℎ𝑎𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑜𝑝𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑡𝑜 𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑦 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑎 𝑙𝑜𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑐𝑜𝑜𝑙 𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑏𝑙𝑖𝑠ℎ𝑒𝑑 𝑏𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑠 ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒.
“For example, in Wellington we have our friends in ColdxWar, Zone Killer and Severed Beliefs, and across the country we have played with Swallows Nest, Fielding’s Best Dancers, Take Hold, Hedge Fund Trader, Amanaki and a whole bunch more.”
𝑊𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 ℎ𝑜𝑝𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜 𝑘𝑒𝑒𝑝 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑔𝑜𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑠𝑜𝑚𝑒 𝑛𝑒𝑤 𝑏𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑠 𝑐𝑟𝑜𝑝𝑝𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑢𝑝, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑔𝑒𝑡 𝑏𝑎𝑐𝑘 𝑎𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑦 𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑦𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎𝑠 𝑠𝑜𝑜𝑛 𝑎𝑠 𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑏𝑙𝑒.
“With it being unlikely for international artists to be here for a while, it’s our chance to take the fore and do everything we can to help more and more bands form!”
Spotify playlist – songs worth a check!
Portraits of Past – Cypress Dust Witch
This might be the best reunion release ever? Sounds like Portraits of Past just came back full steam, with their unique blend of really emotive and winding screamo. Really big influence on me recently.
Kolya – Robots Dream In Black and White
Underappreciated band, really cool off-kilter post-hardcore with spoken word style vocals, which personally for me is always a massive positive for a band. Can’t remember who recommended me this online, but they did a damn good thing.
Majority Rule – Xoxo
Majority Rule were a big influence for the production on this single, one of the best screamo acts ever and they have such an intense and big sound, but also great clarity in the melodies. So great.
Funeral Diner – We Become Buried
Absolute classic, The Underdark is the joint greatest screamo record for me, and We Become Buried lives up to its name. It’s like being buried under a hill of emotion and catharsis.
The Van Pelt – His Saxophone Is My Guitar
The definition of an earworm, this band has grown on me so much over the past 6-12 months. Made it up from something that caught my interest, to become one of my favourite bands and a big influence on my guitar playing.
Frail Body – A Brief Memoriam
One of my favourite modern screamo acts, this Frail Body release is the definition of raw, and the production really helps it achieve that. Honestly, sounds so massive but also has such a cutting edge.
Cloud Rat – Marionettes
What an intense band, only just got into them – so incredible. They left me speechless on first listen.
Hometown Crew – What I Recall
‘Good friends of mine in the Netherlands who really encapsulate the true spirit of hardcore punk for me. Youth Crew at its core with splashes of Melodic HC thrown into the mix. My go to for uplifting positive tunes.’
Revolve – Doombringer
‘Glasgow’s finest and one of my absolute favourite UK bands. The H8000 venom infused album this track is off, ‘Dragged Into Extinction’, is definitely one for setting PB’s at the gym. Excellent riffs, drums and vocals. Criminally underrated. Get on it.’
Der Weg Einer Freiheit – Eiswanderer
‘Some quite sombre and emotive German Black metal that I have on my own playlist for practicing drums. It’s a really beautiful track that clocks in 9minutes and acts as a good warm up for blast beats. I like to use it because of its consistent tempo and the fact that blast focused sections alternate with blocks of double kick to give the arms a breather. It also happens to be one of those songs where the 9 minutes just flies by, which I think is a hallmark of excellent songwriting.’
Cobalt – Gin
‘Some really great progressive American Black Metal that just has a really unique vibe to it. I love the whole album. It’s definitely one of those records that sounds like it matches the colour of the cover art: A dark amber/sepia photograph of Ernest Hemingway, who was the inspiration for the album along with Hunter S. Thompson. The drums on this album give me the big PP in how clear and natural everything sounds production wise. The drumming itself is also very creative and compliments everything so nicely. Such a comfy album from front to back and good for winter listening.’
The Black Dahlia Murder – Apex
‘I have more Black Dahlia merch than any other band in my collection. Trevor Strnad is my favourite vocalist and lyricist. This song has one of my favourite choruses and is an excellent close to an excellent debut album. I often use songs off this album to practice drum rudiments.’
Against All Logic – Deeeeeeefers
I have always been a fan of electronic music, and the concept of integrating elements of it into our performances is something I have always strived to do. I think this track sums up a lot of the textures, and sound design that I love about this genre, and would like to implement in our own music.
Crystal Castles – Doe Deer
This track is fucking crazy. It’s an insane mix of Rave, Punk, Dance, and has ridiculous mosh value. This track definitely gets my blood pumping. The live vocalist feel adds so much ferocity and teeth. Love it
Daft Punk – Rock’n Roll
Homework. Classic album. This track in particular is the definition of tension and release. It goes up, and up, and up, and just when you think it hits its peak, it goes up again. To sum it up, this track is predictably unpredictable, in the best way possible.
Avantdale Bowling Club – Home
Like the title might suggest, the lyrics in this song hit close to home. Many of the lyrics in our songs discuss inequality in New Zealand, which this track brings to light. The instrumentation on this track is also something to be admired.
Sun Kil Moon – Coyote
A bit of a wild card, but there is something special in the story telling behind this song. Despite the topic being the boring and mundane, the network of interconnected thoughts that litter the song keep me interested and wanting to hear what comes next.
Perturbator – Excess
I have to throw this in there because I’m a gigantic fanboy. Finally got to see him perform in February (with a live drummer as well) before shit went south. Considering how many artists give Aotearoa the big snub it was something I treasure to this day. The live performance was everything I wanted and more. This single is a bit old now but it definitely signals a transition from synthwave to a colder and more industrial sound, hopefully we’ll get a new album this year but as with everything else that has happened who bluddy knows.
Mortality Rate – Selfish Thieves
Fun fact – I didn’t know what an HM2 was until late last year until Aaron mentioned it on one of our Instagram posts. Probably why I don’t get to touch any instruments ever. Anyway, someone from our local scene switched me on to this band and it contains plenty of HM2, which I am now qualified to point out. This track features a guest spot from Madi Watkins of Year of the Knife too, which serves as a brilliant segway forrrrr…
Year of the Knife – Virtual Narcotic
I think I found out about Year of the Knife though hate5six. I played the hell out of their compilation Ultimate Aggression both this year and last year, so I’m very much looking forward to their debut full-length coming later in August. A short and very heavy track taking aim at our dependence on social media and the like.
Soda Boyz – Bad Friend
I’d feel bad not mentioning at least one homegrown act so here goes. Their recent release Farewell Spit is a gem and I’m hoping they’ll pop down to play a show or two to make up for the fact it was released during lockdown. Sadboi emo with a big focus on instrumentation over vocals, although that’s not to say they are bad or anything when they do pop up, like they do in this cut.
Melanie – Bill’s Riff
Another local lockdown release, I feel obligated to shout these cats out because they said nice things about our music at a show that we weren’t even playing. Heck, I was at the complete opposite end of the country when this happened. I really hope we end up playing with them one day, because I was blown away by how polished this album was. Wise beyond their years and all that. If you like Floral Green-era Title Fight as much as I do, you’ll dig this. I really appreciate the breakdown towards the end of the song, it reminds me so much of Like a Ritual.
In the waking hours
When my mind
Is left to wander
Where it shouldn’t go
Looking for answers
And in that place
I am nothing
I cast my hand out
To the void
Then fall back to earth
In a moment of weakness