Death Valley High Let's start at the beginning, you were with Eric Stenman in Tinfed, a pop/rock/electro band, how did you set up Death Valley High with Will Haven members ?
I'm always in a state of unrest, and I felt TINFED was just heading in a direction I'd never intended. I wanted to get back to its noisier and grittier origin, so we dissolved TINFED and I went on to reinvent myself with Death Valley High. At the time, I was also working with the guys of Will Haven in another project called Ghostride. I struck a deal with guitarist Jeff Irwin and drummer Mitch Wheeler that I would sing in Ghostride if they would help me finish the first DVH record. I called on Eric Stenman to help me produce it and put some bass lines down.

Eric Stenman, Alex Newport or Ulrich Wild are like the "invisible" members due to their work on the records. How did you make the right choices ?
I'm glad you think they're the right choices. I've worked with Eric for so long, we basically speak in ESP musically. We will always share a connection sonically. With Alex, I'd loved his output with Theory of Ruin and after meeting at a show, we got along great. I had intended to make the record as raw as possible and he proved he was perfect for the project; it's raw and heavy.

Was it different for CVLT[AS FVK] ?
As for Ulrich, we were up against a deadline to put our new songs to tape and he miraculously came calling; asking what we were up to. It was kind of written in the stars because our schedules aligned perfectly. We met up for a drink, and after talking shop about White Zombie's Astro Creep, I knew he was best suited for the sound and direction we were going for with the new songs.

You are working with Minus Head Records since 2010. 7 years with the same label is rather long these days, what's the secret ?
We're lucky to have a label as supportive as Minus Head stick with us for so long. The CEO and Founder, Brad Hardie, works us like he was a member of the band. In a lot of ways, we include him as a non-musical entity in the band. I always ask him for a tie-breaker opinion.

CVLT[FVK] is more homogeneous and dense, how did the writing process go?
We set out to make this record with the intent to carve a bit of the excess away. It's nice to include everything you love but it takes some discipline to know when you've gone overboard. We wanted to make sure the pendulum didn't swing too far in either direction. We even ended up scratching a couple of songs that were either too messy or felt like they were incomplete. I'm sure they'll resurface on the next album.

What are your main sources of inspiration ?
Every day there are horror stories written out of true life events. The "ick" can leave you with emotions ranging from anger to emptiness. I like that there's always two ways to look at those things; with begrudging acceptance or with a twist of irony. I'd like to think we offer both ways to look at such nightmares in musical and lyrical form. Calm and chaotic.

DVH is influenced by diverse and various music genres, and cinema seems to be a major source of influence. What movies have inspired you?
You can draw a thread through "The Return of the Living Dead" musically and "Battle Royale" energetically. But "Uzumaki"; the "Mad Max" franchise; and recently, "Neon Demon" are visually influential as well.

Living in San Francisco, one of the most open-minded and multi-cultural city in the world, is it also part of your range of influences?
I was drawn to San Francisco largely on its aesthetic and bohemian facade. It's gritty underside was an added mysterious prize. Unfortunately, SF doesn't exactly feel or look like that any longer. The culture here has been largely influenced by the tech market and industry, narrowing creativity into a "get rich quick" scenario. I think it's lost a bit of its edge and its sense of humor. An answer of "joining a satanic cult" when asked "where do you see yourself in 5 years" isn't going to get you a laugh, much less a job.

DEATH VALLEY HIGH - CVLT [As Fuk] Looking at your albums' artwork, they are showing doubles or twins, is there an underlying message?
Our name is a derivative of a teenage book series called "Sweet Valley High" that explored identical sisters and their duality. They looked the same but were fundamentally different under the skin. We think that best describes us in our sound and imagery, a sort of split personality; ironic and provocative but thoughtful and deliberate.

« The Similarities of the Loveless and the Undead » et « Positive Euth » are more diverse and showcase more your musical openess than your previous effort « Doom, in Full Bloom », which is more rock/metal or « CVLT[AS FVK] », which is more metal / industrial. Is it a conscious direction or more something that just happened?
"Similarities." was written over time and there were many influences spread out individually by each song. For CVLT [AS FVK], it was a deliberate decision to insert those influences into each song. It's a steady progression, if not an insane ambition, but it's a goal I'm looking to achieve. We're almost there.

If you keep your current stride, the next album should come up in 2019, are you already working on it ? Did you have some wishes for it ? Any collaboration in mind ?
Yeah I'm currently writing for the follow up to CVLT[AS FVK] because we don't want to wait as long to release another album. We're crunching out a timeline for a release in 2018. Hopefully we'll perfect ourselves so we can continue on for another few records! No immediate collaborations come to mind but

Two years ago, we heard about the « Duel » EP with Chino Moreno from Deftones, Chris Connelly from Revolting Cocks and Mark Osegueda from Death Angel, what happened to this release ?
It's actually still on the table. We never knew how hard it was going to be after we got friends to confirm. We do have what we need from Chris, as well as, Hanin Elias (Atari Teenage Riot) and Rykarda Parasol. Chino has yet to deliver his parts, even though I check on his progress all the time. We had to give up on Mark, because he was really hard to pin down with Metal Allegiance and then a new Death Angel album. We even had Dennis from Refused on the hook for a track as well but he was too busy with INVSN and finally wriggled out.

When Will Haven is in studio, Death Valley High is off ?
We're completely separate entities now. However, I always look forward to hearing new WHVN and they always support me and DVH.

A more personal question, what about Ghostride? The idea of a new album was in the air... in 2010 !
We've gone back and forth; there's been some inner turmoil with the band personally. Honestly, we haven't seen eye to eye on the direction of Ghostride since Cobrasunrise. Cayle (now in Armed For Apocalypse) and I have been working on songs very much in the Ghostride style; almost a "version 2.0". Perhaps when we present them to the other guys, they'll climb onboard. We'll see.

Did you remember how did you learn that Trump was elected ? You were in Paris... ?
I would say it was a rude awakening but I was "au courant" the entire time. We were in Utrecht with Killing Joke and I was staying informed until we had to leave the Tivoli. While we were nightlining to Paris, I was updated by friends at home via text and emails. I hadn't slept at all as we pulled into a service station somewhere within the France border around 5am. We stood in front of a gigantic flat screen TV, amidst many people watching the live results. As we spoke between ourselves it became obvious we were American. I could feel the weight of their stares as they all silenced and watched us bereaving the final news. We did have a little relief during the show in Paris that night. It was an astoundingly welcoming and cathartic time for us and the audience alike. Mercí!

Without holding anything back, what do you think about France ?
I don't get why there should be any grief between countries. People are people. Sometimes good, other times bad. Leave the bad ones out to wallow in their own misery. Pardon the pun but. Oui love France! I think being from San Francisco only emphasizes the connection we feel towards France.

Last question, DVH is rather active on social networks, it's an obligation for a band?
In this day and age, I actually think we're rather inactive. Not to undermine your view on this, but we pale in comparison to peers within our category, and practically disappear amidst others. We do feel a necessity to share a bit more of ourselves on social media because it's so easy to be unnoticed or forgotten. We walk a fine line, stepping into the light or slipping into the shadows.