Valley Boy is comprised of childhood friends James and Ian who were really different children, yet shared the same love for music. Their latest single “Cigarettes” has dual meaning as it pays tribute to both dangerous behaviors and well-behaved ones that makes you nostalgic instantly. Whether you were a James (model child you wish to have) or Ian (fun child you wish your frienemies to have), “Cigarette” is a kaleidoscopic rock piece that coats you with a glorious gauzy layer of cheery riffs. Check out the video directed by Zach Johnston and animated by Ben Smith that capture all the fun and risky youthful vices:
Speaking of the song, James shared: “‘Cigarette’ is my ode to a childhood spent being the reluctant and scared friend (think Chuckie from Rugrats) in a group of more daring and adventurous boys. My home life was pretty sad (my dad and mom spent most of my teen years apart or in flux and my older brother was kicked out of the house for being a drug dealer and I didn’t have much contact with him), but after Ian and I met in middle school P.E. he quickly became my extended family and we were basically together every day.”
Ian added, “The word ‘cigarette’ in the song is actually more of a symbol for dangerous behavior than it is a literal reference to smoking the sticks that killed my favorite Aunt. James was always silently or not so silently judging me and our friend group for doing daring and stupid things like jumping into trashcans and drinking his dead grandpa’s liquor. I always encouraged James to join me in what I thought was perfectly age-appropriate behavior, telling him such iconic phrases as, ‘come on dude’ or, ‘shut up’ or, ‘we’re all gonna die someday’—wink wink. The most adventurous thing James would do as a kid was go on a hike.”
Following high school, James and Ian went on launching their respective music careers. James signed with Max Martin and Savan Kotecha and worked as songwriter for years whereas Ian worked as a session and touring drummer. They eventually reunited and decided to leave the valley for Silverlake and launched their collab project Valley Boy. Be on the lookout for more music from the duo soon.