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Louisville's vvvalleys Stimulates Our "Senses" with Debut Single

Andrew Kung

Charlie Meredith, a Louisville-based musician known as vvvalleys, produces dreamy pop music that transports us to an 1980s alternate reality. It puts you in the middle of a campy horror flick, and makes you enjoy it. His debut single "Senses" was recently released along with an abstract lyric video. I asked Meredith a few questions about vvvalleys, and learned how his youth, his experience in theatre, and his love for horror movies influences his art. Read what he had to say, stream the single, and watch the lyric video for "Senses" below.

How did you decide to release music under the name "vvvalleys"?

Serious talk: coming up with the name was way harder than writing the music itself. I went through a list of so many and a lot of them were pretty bad. And it's so stressful, like a tattoo, because you don't want to pick something you'll hate in 10 years! Ultimately, I went with vvvalleys for a few reasons. Mountains are my favorite place to be in the world, and valleys are the opposite of mountains, right? So for me it's like, let's use music to deal with the things that aren't always happy, especially related to lockdown right now. Kinda like a coping mechanism. I also just love the word "valleys," but there are already several artists with that name out there. I was talking with a friend who was suggesting I change it to v4ll3ys or something like that. The leet speak thing is a bit dated, but it did give me the idea to add the extra v's. And it ended up being cool, because if you squint at "vvvalleys" and use your imagination, they look like little mountains! Full circle!

vvvalleys is a brand new endeavor for you. What is your pre-vvvalleys experience with music and performance, and how has it led to this project?

Music has always been a huge part of my life, ever since I was a kid. I taught myself to play guitar at a super young age so I could learn pretty much every song written by Michelle Branch (I can do a killer rendition of "All You Wanted," in case anyone's asking.) I also played saxophone all through school. During the last several years, I've acted and sang in local musicals. Recently I've been directing them, including Carrie the Musical, Mamma Mia, and American Psycho, and there's always been this very special connection between music and really interesting visuals for me. For American Psycho, I designed an entire projection set to go along with the music, and seeing that come to life in front of an audience was insane. So that's where I hope to take vvvalleys -- this really cool combination of music and visuals. I have a lyric video for "Senses" that I created that I'm pretty proud of.

The vibe of the music has a fun 80s pop feel. What inspires and influences your songwriting?

I've always felt like the music that we listen to forms a diary of sorts in our mind. We always associate that song with that moment, even if it's on a subconscious level. I want to write those kinds of songs. For me, growing up in rural Kentucky, it's something like driving at night with the windows down, fresh air, corn fields flying by, bright stars, and close friends in your car screaming at the top of your lungs to something like "Helena" by My Chemical Romance in the middle of summer. I'm also a huge horror movie fan, especially 80s horror movies, and I really think that my 80s influence comes more so from movie soundtracks than actual music from that decade! Like, couldn't the bass line of "Senses" be dropped into The Thing without anyone batting an eye?

What can listeners look forward to from vvvalleys in 2021 and beyond?

My number one goal is to evolve and hone in on my sound. The artists I learn from the most have such an admirable self-awareness of what they are trying to do. For me, "Senses" is the foundation, and I expect to continue to use 80s synthpop as well as modern dream pop as the clay that I'm molding into the signature vvvalleys sound. I have a new song nearly finished and a few more in the works, so expect some more singles soon and a collection/EP later this year. I'm also posting frequently on social media and planning a few virtual performances, so make sure to catch me on Instagram @vvvalleys for the latest and greatest!

Otis is the late morning host on WFPK. Email Otis at ojunior@lpm.org

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