After turning heads in the music blogosphere back in 2015 with their self-titled debut EP, Australian indie electronic duo Vallis Alps (vocalist Parissa Tosif and producer David Ansari) dominated HypeMachine charts, played SXSW for the first time, and released a gorgeous new single, “Fading.” This Friday, they’ll be at the Rockwell in Somerville, the second stop on their tour of the US and Canada. We caught up with Parissa to learn about what it’s like to go viral and play new songs live, among other things:
Michael Enwright: What’s the last song you listened to?
Parissa Tosif: I just listened to (No One Knows Me) Like the Piano by Sampha. It’s so beautiful and unexpected in a way.
ME: Can you describe your music without genre names?
PT: Our music is what you listen to if you’re confused about what kind of music you feel like listening to!
ME: What was like for your songs to suddenly go viral? What were you doing when you realized what was happening?
PT: Someone, my mum I think, told us to not let the response cloud the celebration of what we had made. We were so excited to make something and were pretty shocked and overwhelmed when it at all started happening. After a few days of talking back and forth we decided that it would be silly not to start sharing our music with people in a live setting, and to make more of it — because it’s so special to be able to do that for a living.
I was with my family in Brisbane, just having a holiday and studying for my university exams and David was about working a nine to five job in Seattle. We made some pretty big changes to our lives and now here we are!
ME: I saw you guys went to a Wacka Flocka show while you were in the US!? How was that/playing SXSW for the first time?
PT: Yes! We did. It was honestly one of the best experiences we’d all had watching a show. Particularly for myself and Melody (our manager), who are Australian and had never seen rap in the US before, and it was a lot of fun. Playing SXSW was incredible. It is such an exciting and unique event. We met a lot of great people and were so inspired by the other bands there.
ME: Your lyrics are so nostalgic — I hear lots of beautiful imagery throughout the EP (and in “Fading”) referencing golden times gone by in some way or another. Would you say there is an overall theme to the Vallis Alps EP?
PT: Thank you. Yeah you’re spot on. The Vallis Alps EP didn’t start with a concept exactly, but at the end became loosely around ideas of nostalgia, being strong enough to let go of the past, growing up and knowing where you are in life.
ME: I love the artwork for “Fading” — who made it, and what connection, if any, does it have to the song?
PT: We found an incredible artist called Jennifer Gauthier who we just fell in love with! Her art work just felt like it fit our current music and ideas so well. Her work experiments with colours and textures, and in a strange way we try to do that with our music.
ME: What’s one of your favorite moments during your live set?
PT: We absolutely LOVE being able to play our new songs live, particularly if we are still working on a song. It is so special to be able to give people a glimpse of a song when it’s at a very particular stage. In a way it’ll never be that way again if it’s a work in progress, so it’s a one time thing. It also makes us feel vulnerable, but in a really positive way, as if we get to share an uncertain moment with friends.
ME: Thanks for taking the time to answer these, can’t wait for the show!
PT: Thank you! We are so excited.
Vallis Alps play the Rockwell in Somerville this Friday, February 24. Door are at 9 PM, and Matt Maeson, recently signed to Neon Gold Records, is opening! Tickets are going quickly, so be sure to grab yours before they sell out.