Interviews

Levitation: Interview with Death Valley Girls

todayNovember 5, 2022 39 1

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By Keller Welton (KJHK) and Maddy Lehr (KTSW)

Our third night of Levitation was spent at Mohawk to see Hunx & His Punx and Death Valley Girls. Outside the venue, we met with Bonnie Bloomgarden of Death Valley Girls, who was impressively dressed as Lydia Deetz.
Keller: How is Austin? How is Levitation? How is Levitation treating Austin’s frequent visitor bands?
Bonnie: It’s so cool, we just flew in late last night, today is our first day, but so far so good. We are just seeing friends while we are here, we probably won’t be seeing many shows, but the bands we’re playing with tonight are our favorite anyway.
Maddy: Do you have a favorite song to play live?
Bonnie: We have a song called Little Fish, and it’s my favorite one to play because it’s for everyone. It’s a song that I wish someone sang me when I was little.

Bonnie Bloomgarden of Death Valley Girls is seen singing into the microphone. She is simultaneously playing her keyboard that has a sticker on it. The writing on the sticker is 
mostly unclear, but in big bold letters, it says “HERE.” A yellow light is shining from the left 
side of the photo. Bass player, Samantha Westervelt is seen on the bottom right.
Bonnie Bloomgarden of Death Valley Girls singing at Levitation 2022. Photo by Keller Welton
Maddy: So, the most recent album you released was Street Venom the deluxe edition?
Bonnie: Yeah, that was our first record, we never thought it would be on vinyl, but people always asked about it and we were like eh. You know you want people to know where you are now, not where you were. But it’s none of our business, people can listen to whatever they want. Suicide Squeeze re-pressed it, and we added some extra stuff in there, and Larry did new art. I think it looks pretty cool honestly, he didn’t show me the art, he turned it in before I saw it.
Maddy: Was there a specific reason you released it again?
Bonnie: I don’t really know anything about being smart or the industry or how to do stuff smart, but I think there was a smart person behind it. I don’t really know the true answer, but I can tell you the fake answer after this. I’m just glad people care, some people’s favorite songs are on that record, and you know that record came out eight years ago, that’s super rude if you think about it. Yeah, it means something to people, and I’m definitely not making records to listen to in my room, it’s definitely not for me. It’s cool that people like it.
Maddy: So, the album Darkness Reigns, I was reading the bio, and it said that you worked with Shannon Lay?
Bonnie: Oh, she’s the best ever, yeah, we lived together for a few years in this punk house.
Keller: House shows at the Shannon Lay Death Valley Girls punk house?
Bonnie: Haha no, but yeah, we all lived together, everyone was a Virgo, even the cats. But it was like a messy punk house, super cool amazing time. I think she sang on almost all of those songs. And she sang on one song on the last new record.
Maddy: What are the inspirations for your music?
Bonnie: Oh my god, well. That’s a really good question. I feel like I’m a channel, like I channel my guides and other stuff. Just try to channel purely to help people. It’s so stupid, but when I was a kid, I thought the thesis of every essay was how it was going to help the world. So, if I had to write an essay about Italy, if Italy did blah blah blah, it would help the world. So ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always thought you’re supposed to help the world. And so, the things I channel are to make people feel good about themselves. I really really hate more than anything that people are told there’s two ways to be. They’re either Barbie or G.I. Joe, I hate that. I hate that there’s two ways to be, and if you’re not that, then that’s not your superpower. My dream is to make people know that they are strong, they are the most important thing in the world, and they are their most authentic true self. People talk about their highest self like it’s somewhere else, but you already are that. It’s just society has conditioned us to not believe that right now, but you are that right now. We are our highest best self, and what we truly believe in is our superpower. And the more we deny ourselves that, especially when it comes to who we love or how we love, we are just stripping our powers away. And I just want to channel music that helps people realize they’re fucking perfect. And if you’re mean to my friends, I’ll kill you!

Death Valley Girls bassist, Samantha Westervelt, is singing on stage dressed as Beetlejuice. The lights are creating a red and yellow effect on her. The background is almost 
completely black.
Death Valley Girls bassist, Samantha Westervelt, performing at Levitation 2022. Photo by Keller Welton
Maddy: If you were a flavor, any flavor, what flavor would you be?
Bonnie: That’s so funny, I know what smell I would be?
Keller: Drop a smell.
Bonnie: Sorry, I know you asked a flavor, but I’m not really in touch with flavors right now, but if I had to pick a smell, you know toys from the 80s, that Strawberry Shortcake smell, like My Little Pony, I didn’t have any, but you know that strawberry smell? That would be my dream smell. I don’t know if it is because I didn’t have them or something, but I would be that smell. My flavor would be boring, probably like nachos. I don’t want to say anything that somebody wouldn’t be able to enjoy.
Featured Image by Keller Welton

 

Written by: Autumn McGowan

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