Interview by Spencer Fleming
Photo Credit: Connor Phillips
TikTok superstars Joey Valence & Brae are coming to the Waiting Room next week, Monday March 27! You may have seen their viral videos for "Punk Tactics" and "Double Jump" or caught them on the Ellen show, but now's your chance to see their show live. From the videos I've seen so far it looks absolutely nuts. The Waiting Room is going to be going wild! I can't wait to capture all the madness.
I had the opportunity to talk with the guys ahead of next week's show and get the inside scoop on where they come up with their crazy video ideas, favorite video games, and more. Let's get into it!
Stories from the Crowd: Joey Valence & Brae, thanks so much for talking with us. We can’t wait for you guys to hit Omaha and rock the Waiting Room! From the live videos I’ve seen, I can tell Omaha is in for one crazy party.
JV&B: Thanks for having us! Yeah our shows are some of the most entertaining things to us as musicians, because our fans are always doing the most insane things possible. It’s quite a fun time.
Stories: Definitely. The Waiting Room has a special vibe. It's just big enough to pack in a good crowd but still keep that underground energy. I have a feeling in a few years a lot of people will be able to say "I saw Joey Valence & Brae at the Waiting Room" and they'll get some major street cred. So taking things back about a year ago, I was scrolling through Tik Tok and I saw your video for “Double Jump”. I was immediately struck by your wild style and funky sound. Twisting up old school hip-hop and 90s video game references is totally genius! When you guys started posting Tik Tok videos, did you have any idea things would blow up so quickly?
JV&B: No, we had no clue, we started making music together for fun in our free time. Then we decided to throw a video of us rapping on TikTok and that double jump video caught crazy traction. Took us by surprise for sure.
Stories: You guys have made a lot of fun videos, so I don't think "Double Jump" was just a one-off, you can tell there's some big things cooking here. In this new age of digital media, where social media plays such a massive role in an artist’s success, how do you stay ahead of the trends and keep things fresh?
JV&B: It’s tough but we just do things that are spontaneous and would probably make someone go “hey that’s cool” or “hey that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen, I love it.” It's constantly trying to do something nobody’s seen before and we just try our best.
Stories: Totally. You guys are doing an awesome job so far. I'm always excited to see a new TikTok video and what you're working on next.
Listening to your music there’s a clear comparison to Beastie Boys, Run D.M.C, House of Pain, etc. where did your love of hip-hop begin?
JV&B: Miley Cyrus and Garth Brooks. No, but we both grew up with dads that were playing old school hip-hop for us at a young age. Our love for that style helped us sort of develop something similar for the modern age of music. We’re constantly evolving our style and sound just for the fun of it.
Stories: Very cool. Outside of hip-hop are there any other bands that you grew up on that influenced you?
Brae: My dad would play a lot of Dave Mathews, Van Halen, and Depeche Mode. I grew up with a lot of different music inspiration.
Joey: I’m super influenced by electronic music and punk music. Big fan of Prodigy, Skrillex, Operation Ivy, LMFAO, and others.
Stories: That's killer. Such a diverse line-up. I was big into Depeche Mode and The Smiths growing up. Prodigy was huge for me in the late 90s, specifically the soundtrack to the movie Hackers. I've been big into pop-punk and punk rock since the late 90s as well. I just shot New Found Glory a few weeks ago. Those dudes still kill it live.
Here at Stories from the Crowd we’re all about capturing the live show experience. Do you guys remember the first show you attended?
Brae: Yeah when I was 15 I saw Jay-Z in my hometown, I remember being so stoked to be there. Jay-Z is in my top 3 favorite rappers.
Joey: The first show I went to was Warped Tour 2015 and I passed out in a porta potty.
Stories: That's awesome. My wife and Co-Founder Virginia and I went to so many Warped Tours together back in the day. We saw AFI in 2001, Rancid, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, MxPx, all of our favorites. The only downside to Warped Tour was mud and the hot sun. So I feel ya on the passing out in a porta potty, haha. What’s something you look for when going to shows now?
Brae: Artists with natural energy and good crowd interaction are always fun to watch.
Joey: Energy. I want to be in the air the entire time.
Stories: I feel that. When I was younger all I wanted to do was get in the pit and jump around. Now I'm in what Jamey Jasta from Hatebreed refers to as "mosh retirement". Maybe I'll have to come out of retirement for you guys though. We'll see.
How do you make sure your own shows are a success?
JV&B: We just have the best time on stage every night and interact with the fans. We always think “what would we wanna see from an artist if we were going to their show?” We have such a diverse and talented fanbase, you never know who’s going to start breakdancing, or backflipping, or starting a Beyblade battle.
Stories: Yea I saw the video of the Beyblade battle! That's so sick. I can't wait to see what Omaha brings to the table. I'd love for something completely wild to happen so we can show your followers our city knows how to party.
Now that you’ve started touring, is there anything that’s surprised you about the process or something you’ve been able to enjoy along the way that hadn’t occurred to you before?
JV&B: The green room rider is goated. Pokemon cards and gummy bears baby.
Stories: That's an amazing tour rider. Normally I just hear about special waters that artists want, but Gummy bears and Pokemon cards are way more fun.
You guys frequently reference video games and pop culture in your music. What’s your favorite video game or video game character?
Brae: My favorite video game is either Skate 3 or Black Ops 2. Favorite video game character is Toad.
Joey: I’m the biggest fan of Pokémon and all Nintendo stuff.
Stories: Very cool. I'd have to go with Ryu from Street Fighter II, the guy from the SNES game Act Raiser (I don't even know his name, like Thunder God or something?), or Mario.
So far, it sounds like you’ve been releasing music without the help of a label. Do you guys have any plans to try and sign with a label or keep going on the independent route?
JV&B: We’ve been 100% independent thus far, no plans to change that. We like having full control of what we do.
Stories: That's great for you guys. In the age of social media there's such a direct connection to fans you have to wonder what the record industry will look like in the next 10-15 years.
What’s next for you guys? Full album? More touring? Support slots?
MORE SHOWS! ALBUM ON THE WAY!
Stories: Amazing. Well we can't wait to catch you guys at the Waiting Room next week, Monday, March 27. For anyone who doesn't have tickets yet, get on that ASAP. You can find more info HERE.
Thanks so much to Joey Valence & Brae Management for setting up our interview. We'll be at the show next week capturing all the action. Get those tickets and we'll see you there!