As the holiday season quickly approaches, with snow and chilly days – it’s always (awesome) to have fun, danceable music to help deal with the cold.
The Brooklyn-based electro-pop duo band, The Values, help infuse synthesizers and beautiful vocals in their songs. Full of heart felt lyrics and sultry, retro electro beats – it’d be so tough for you not to want to dance to their songs.
If Donna Summer and Human League, had a sexy, electro love child it’d be The Values.
If you’re a retro, video game loving geek like I am – you would know about Hotline Miami, I believe they would fit nicely into the perfectly curated soundtrack. The duo consists of Mason Taub (the lady) and Evan Zwisler (the gent) and have been playing music together since 2017 as The Values.
A little history into who the The Values are – Zwisler grew up in China, an expat who returned to the U.S. for college. Taub was a New York theater kid who has played classical piano all her life. Together, they’ve worked with several different groups. Band members fell away, but the relationship between Zwisler and Taub remained their music’s core.
We interviewed them to see what makes them tick as a band.
1) What are the most surreal moments you’ve had so far as a band?
Mason: Honestly, for me it’s touring. It always hits me that I’m not in an office right now, and I’m not dependent on anyone other than Evan really to do what I’ve always wanted to do. The sheer freedom of it makes me feel both unmoored and certain of my path in life. That’s a pretty surreal feeling.
Evan: I think that selling out The Knitting Factory in August when we played with Pinc Louds was pretty insane. We’ve played so many shows to the other bands, the sound guy, and the bartenders it feels so great to be selling out venues. I grew up overseas so the whole idea of being a musician playing music in New York seemed so crazy.
2) If you could tour with any two bands who would they be? Why?
Mason: St. Vincent, 100%. I love everything Annie Clark has been doing with her live shows in the past few years and I feel like we would learn so much from her. And yes, definitely LCD Soundsystem, although I’d also love to work just with Nancy Whang and Gavin Rayna Russom on their Ladies of LCD Soundsystem Tour.
Evan: Oh man! Good question. I’d say LCD Soundsystem is #1. They’re the band that showed us how to blend the power of a traditional rock band with the synthy goodness that electronic music provides. I’d love to tour with Bodega, I think that they’re making this awesome, dancy indie music that is like a better Parquet Courts.
3) Favorite song to play live?
Mason: Lately we’ve been playing this new song that we have yet to record called “Kissing You”. It’s about questioning your sexuality and the elation that can come from those first few experiences with someone you didn’t think you were supposed to want, and your bodies just take over before your brain can process everything. The little details from my own life and the opportunities for audience interaction have really made the crowd smile every time we play it.
Evan: I’ve really loved playing our new song “Football Hero.” Mason wrote this amazingly tragic song about her cousin who passed away from an opiate overdose about a year ago. It fills me with such emotion every time we play it.
4) You’ve stated “we spent a long time getting to this, which is the truest form of the band”, how has this impacted your songwriting?
Mason: I think a lot of what can slow you down as a songwriter is judging yourself before you even have anything close to a finished product. I’m finally learning not to judge myself so much in the moment of writing, and that has helped me realize that a lot of my lyrical tendencies that I used to think were embarrassing are actually my strengths. I’m finally learning to trust myself in both my writing and my performing instincts.
Evan: We’ve written a lot of songs, both on our own an together. However, when I look back at the songs we’ve written before we put out our first EP, ‘Civil’, I feel that I was circling good ideas, but never quite landing them. I think that a lot of the work I did with other acts turned out great, but working with my fiancee Mason makes me feel like I finally graduated a 15 year songwriting class. Mason is such an amazing songwriter and working with her let’s me really focus on sound design and production. I get to play to my strengths and for the first time I feel that I’m putting out music that I’m truly proud of.
5) Any rituals before/after shows?
Mason: I don’t have any cool sounding rituals, just getting myself familiar with the space I’m going to be using to perform. Evan hit the nail on the head about the post-show wind-down though. My favorite thing we’ve found to chill hard after an intense show is watching 90 Day Fiancee. We don’t have cable so when we first came across it in a motel somewhere in Western Massachusetts, I legitimately could not believe what I was watching and completely forgot about the tough show we had just played.
Evan: Growing up I thought all great bands had to have amazing pre show rituals, like the band from ‘Almost Famous.’ I thought that chant they did was so fucking cool! The only preshow ritual I can think of is that I like to perform with an empty stomach. I like to be a little hungry and light on my feet. Our favorite post show thing to do in a motel after we play is to either watch whatever insanity is on TLC or try to tune into flavortown with our boy Guy Ferrari.
Music Lover who is always up for concerts, 80’s movies, & cafe!