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Wellington post hardcore act HAPPY VALLEY return with great new EP “Triptych”

Happy Valley, by @liam.photographynz
Four months after our last feature with New Zealand based emotive, screamo / post hardcore band HAPPY VALLEY, we’re beyond happy to give you their new offering, a versatile, multi-layered, organic sounding EP “Triptych”, featuring three songs with a wide range of moods and dynamics proving their potential. It’s a wonderful record by a still relatively young band that shone bright for a very short time and deserves to get more attention. 

Today, we’re giving you a special track by track commentary, revealing lyrics and backstory of each of the three songs, along with the band’s take on the current crisis and its impact on DIY bands operations.

“This release has gone through so many stages to get to this point, and reflects so many periods over the last few years, it’s hard to pinpoint.” – comments the band. “We wrote the first stage of these songs a long time ago now, with our old drummer. Since Aaron joined the band, they’ve had an absolute re-tool and re-write, which has taken them up to a whole new level that we are really proud of. I think we are all in agreement when we say that these songs represent a lot of the influences that go into what we do, and the diversity that that brings from each of our different backgrounds musically.”

In the track by track breakdown below, you can also see that the songs are really reflective of where we are in the world, and the things that have happened over the last few years.

Asked about their take on the lack of live shows, HAPPY VALLEY continued: “While we’ve had a lot of our plans knocked off course this year due to the pandemic, we are incredibly lucky that Aotearoa New Zealand has managed to stay mostly COVID free. That means that we are able to have a release show, and we are incredibly excited for it – got a lot of special stuff planned.”

“On the other hand, it’s really hard seeing bands from all over the world struggling in this environment. Adapting through livestreams and such is cool, it’s good to see bands getting support that way, but we have to hope that the world will be able to get the pandemic under control, because it feels like there is only so long it can go on that way. While music isn’t the first priority when there are people dying, it’s so important to communities and people across the world that it can’t be left in the dust without support.”

𝑊𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑎 𝑠𝑢𝑝𝑒𝑟 𝑏𝑢𝑠𝑦 𝑒𝑛𝑑 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑦𝑒𝑎𝑟 𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑛𝑛𝑒𝑑!

Our release show is coming up really soon, and then we are heading to the South Island for the first time to play a couple of shows, including playing Dankfest alongside some of our favourite bands (Swallows Nest, Long Distance Runner etc.). Also got something else coming up before the end of the year which is still unannounced, so keep an eye out for that!

Next year is definitely going to be a big one for us too. We have some really ambitious plans up our sleeves, so you’ll have to wait and see how everything plays out with that, but expect big things.

Track by Track commentary, by Happy Valley vocalist, Hamish:

Triptych by Happy Valley

Among Friends

This song is about dealing with people coming in and out of your life, and accepting (and struggling to accept) that change is inevitable. You don’t always know the reasons why, and you don’t necessarily want to know them. But there’s always this dread in the back of my mind that one day I’ll wake up and those people I care about won’t be there. I didn’t always have a lot of genuine friends when I was growing up, so this is me lamenting about those years.

Lyrics:

When I look back
I remember a time
Much different from now
A time when I didn’t
Have anyone
Just
Temporary connections
Phasing in and out
As the years went by
I never understood
Why it always hurt so much
I still don’t
I don’t think I ever will
Those memories bring
Such unease
And with that unease
Comes the thought
Of losing it all
Returning to nought

The fear of loss
A burden I can’t shed
A weight of my own
Design

Even knowing
I’m not alone
Is not enough
To quell this ache

I’ve been looking
For an answer
And if there is one
Somewhere
I don’t know
If I want it
I don’t know
If I want it
I don’t know
If I want it

Is this the price
I have to pay?
To feel loved
To feel whole
If this is what it means
To be complete
I don’t know
If I want it

All I want
Is everyone to be happy
Even if it means
That I can’t be

The fear of loss
A burden I can’t shed
A weight of my own
Design

I’ve accepted this as
My reality
Because I don’t know
Anything else

Endeavour

So for those that don’t know a lot about New Zealand (or Aotearoa), the people who settled here made a treaty (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) with the indigenous Māori people. It spoke of a lot of things, like upholding their rights and traditions, and looking after the land itself. New Zealand is often painted as this utopia to the outside world (see the Lord of the Rings phenomena) where everything is clean and beautiful. While we have been blessed with some great scenery, like practically everywhere else in the world, that’s only half the story. Non-pākehā (white people) more often than not get the short end of the stick, while the land continues to be laid to waste, and customs and traditions that were promised protection continue to be neglected. I’m not Māori myself and don’t have any ties to iwi (a tribe) but this song is incredibly important to me as I feel that although I wasn’t the one who wronged them, I have a chance to use this platform to perhaps open some eyes and get people thinking about our country.

Lyrics:

A pact was made
It promised peace
In this slice of heaven

But even now
That vow has not yet
Been realised

First twisted
And bent
Then broken

These fields of gold
Have turned to grey
The fruit they once bore
Has turned sour

Sour
Sour
Sour
Sour

The shape of those words
Twisted in two tongues
Deemed as redundant
They took their voice
Rendered powerless
Two became one

Crippled by deceit
Our very own
Cry out
Only to be silenced

Silenced
Silenced
Silenced
Silenced

What use is it
To sell a vision
Of a better tomorrow
If there’s no today

And we’re still buying
Into that vision
However fictitious
It may be
Playing
Our part
In this make-believe

Manaaki whenua
Manaaki tangata
Haere whakamua

(Care for the land, care for the people, move forward)

150319

That day is one of the biggest “where were you when it happened” moments in recent memory. I think collectively as a nation we were all shocked when the news broke, and we all reacted in different ways. For a lot of people, including myself, there was this sense of almost arrogance that such a horrific event could never take place here in our little old country at the bottom of the world. That we were immune to terrorism and senseless acts of violence. All of that changed in a very short space of time, and I tried my best to capture not only what I was going through, but what I’m sure our country as a whole was going through.

The second half of the song, recounts the visit I paid to a local mosque (which was only down the road from where I worked). This was maybe no more than an hour or so after the news broke. I don’t know what compelled me to stop there, and I’d never even set foot in one beforehand. It was such a blur that to this day I can’t recall the exact words said by the man in the foyer, which is where the line “you didn’t have to say a word” comes from. But what stuck with me, and still does to this day, is the manner of how he spoke to me. He was completely calm, unfazed by what had happened, with this unwavering faith that everything was going to be OK. And in light of such tragedy, he was right.

Lyrics:

Anguish
Despair
Hysteria
Heartbreak

Not here
Not here
Not here

Not here
Not here
Not here

Outrage
Disgust
Tragedy

I sat so helpless
Devoid of all feeling
With idle fingers
Unable to place blame
Or understand
Anything

Overwhelmed and at wit’s end

I climbed those steps
Unprepared
No words
Could ever be adequate
And at the top
I just stood there
Motionless and empty handed
With nothing to offer
You didn’t have to say a word
But you did
And they were enough
And they were enough

And they were enough
And they were enough
And they were enough
And they were enough

Wellington post hardcore act HAPPY VALLEY return with great new EP “Triptych”
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