The 21st century has proven to be fertile ground for creative ventures. The Internet has allowed for up-and-coming musicians to be discovered by a wider audience. But to meet your collaborator on the strength of a YouTube video? Well, that's something different.
Greta Valenti met Robin Davey in 2006, albeit online, as part of a music-video competition on YouTube. At the time, Davey was playing guitar and bass in the Bastard Fairies, while Valenti was fronting glitter-rock outfit Fuji Minx. Valenti liked what she saw in the Bastard Fairies' self-produced videos, and she felt compelled to send them a message, which was answered by Davey.
“Robin was into all kinds of cool creative,” Valenti says, “and we became friends that way.”
Over time, the two became close friends, collaborators on several multimedia projects and, eventually, lovers. While their company, GROWvision, has become known for film and television production on programs such as Live From Daryl's House, Valenti and Davey never gave up their musical aspirations. When Fuji Minx dissolved in 2011, the two decided to form their own band, even though they came from decidedly different musical backgrounds.
Valenti was schooled in punk and glam rock—think David Bowie—and Davey, who has been in touring bands since he was 15, was a fan of American blues such as that of Stevie Ray Vaughan and has recorded with such legends as Buddy Guy and Mick Jagger. Despite some initial struggling, they found their sound courtesy of Davey's riff-driven guitar and Valenti's fiery vocals.
Since they are the only full-time members of Well Hung Heart (a drummer performs with them live), it's natural to compare them to other famous duos. But that's not how they see it.
“I figured out a complicated way to play bass and guitar at the same time, which allowed us to get a full band sound,” Davey says. “We didn't want to approach it like the Black Keys or White Stripes, where it was more punky and just had a guitar and drums. I wanted it to sound like a full band without using any loops since we didn't want it to sound as though we were copying either of those bands. . . .
“I think our idea was if we could strip it down and don't anything besides amplification and a PA system, hopefully it could sound pretty cool and grow from there,” he continues.
Next year has big things in store for the duo. Although they've released some songs informally online, they plan on putting out their debut, Young Enough to Know It All, early next year, to coincide with a big tour. Some bands may begrudgingly acknowledge the Internet is necessary to help a band; Well Hung Heart can attest that if it weren't for that medium, they wouldn't be what they are today.
This column ran in print as “Big Love.”
Daniel Kohn is a writer based in Southern California. With bylines in an assortment of outlets, Kohn primarily specializes in music with other interests ranging from sports to food. As a transplant, Kohn loves the beautiful weather and is glad he no longer has to deal with brutal winters. If you see him, say hi and of course, he’s always willing to down a beer or two…if you’re paying.