Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's the one thing we knew about rock rocking rockers The True Value before looking them up, and it came courtesy of an email from drummer Hayden Hamilton:
"We are a true independent band."
Believe it or not, but that seemingly innocuous, dismissible statement, that absolutely empty description, bore a hole into our head as soon as we read it. We were overcome with a series of burning questions:
What does that mean? What is a true independent band? Are there fake independent bands? What separates the two? Does it have something to do Joseph Fiennes or Josh Hartnett?
So on and so on.
Naturally, after we visited them online, a definitive answer could not be found. The bio page on their site is frustratingly empty. There was nothing to be had.
But in the middle of all of this, we realized that their music, a mix of brash and mellow and mostly contemporary rock, was the perfect soundtrack to the "What Is A True Independent Band?" online research project. So we reached out for an interview to talk about Kid Cudi, hardware stores and the life of a band member.
(Somehow, we neglected to ask about the "true independent band" thing. Suck, suck, suck.)
Rocks Off: Standard Artist of the Week opener: Tell everyone everything they need to know about you all in exactly six words.
The True Value: Life's about finding the true value [laughs]. Okay, that was deep, let's get started.
RO: Couldn't help but notice that you all have covered Kid Cudi's "Ghost," and decidely well at that. One question: Why?
TTV: Ah, you saw the video. Awesome. Well, everyone in the band listens to rap and hip-hop, I (Hayden) probably listen to rap more than any other genre. We were bored one day, surfing Youtube, and saw some pretty laughable covers of rap/hip-hop songs on there.
It kind of struck us like, "these people are just doing a half-hearted attempt at these songs, why not put all that you can into a cover?" In a way, we wanted to give people a cover with some real thought put into it, treating it like a song of our own.
RO: This line is from "Too Late": "We're so young, but I'm ready to die." Why? Is it because it's just so awful to be young and handsome and talented and in a cool band? I want to punch you.
TTV: We will first take the compliment, thank you [laughs]. That song, I wrote about a scene in my head of a boy chasing a girl at a party, doing the whole 'live fast die young' lifestyle kind of thing. Beyond that, he's in love with her, and he's got this crazy scenario going on in his head that she loves him too, so much that 'till death do them part.'
In a way, it's like he wants to die while he's in love and has her, before they grow old and she finds interest in the pool boy. Yeah, the dude is crazy and it's all in his head. One last thing, that line is in no way about or encouraging suicide. That's not a cool thing to present.
About that, a lot of our lyrics and our songs are about getting through pain, moving on, and living your life.
RO: You have a song called "It Was Only a Myth." There are no words on it. It feels like that's commentary on something. Or did you all just forget to put some on there? Can you explain please?
TTV: That song has no lyrics because it's intended for the person listening to kind of imagine and create their own lyrics and scenarios. Lyrics can sometimes really bind a song to be about just one thing, but we wanted this to be about anything.
Some people have taken it as a sad song, some have taken it as being uplifting and praise-like. It's kind of like the listener gets to be a part of the band; they get to choose what this song will be to them.
RO: Why the name The True Value? Does one of y'all's dads own one of the stores and he said he'd buy all of the equipment but only if you named the band after it? Are you guys really good at fixing household appliances?
TTV: We named the band "The True Value'' almost as a question for people, trying to get to the true essence of things. What is the true value of your love? What is the true value that you hold of life? What's your true passion? That's what we want to express through our music, real-life stuff. We don't write music to fit into what's necessarily mainstream, but rather based on our experiences.
If just one person can connect, relate, or use our music as a release, then it had a purpose; all the work we put into the music was worth it. What's odd is that we didn't even know of True Value hardware stores before some adults started hearing our band name. I saw a True Value store shortly after; that place is awesome.
Now all of us buy everything that we can from True Value. None of us are that awesome at fixing appliances, but Matt is a mean plumber.
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