When it comes to The Valley Ends’ process, guitarist Blake Drenth works tirelessly writing the majority of the music and with the rest of the progressive post-hardcore band, they take it from there as a team. With singer Tim D’Agostino writing lyrics to the parts that he clicks with the most going through trial and error with different melodies and lyrics; even to the point where there dozens upon dozens of different ideas/iterations for certain sections; purposefully, hopefully, allowing the lyrics to carry multiple meanings and interpretations for himself and the listener. As for their new album’s title, ‘Hearth’, it’s about passion; being passionate, caring for others and the world we live in. ‘Hearth’ also literally means a fireplace, but throughout history, fireplaces are places where people come together, for comfort, for warmth, for cooking, and for story-telling. Fire can be related to passion, love, destruction, or creation. Fire is also important to Australia; used as an essential tool by Aboriginal people for 80,000+ years. Fire has shaped this country to what it is today. For the band, ‘Hearth’ is an all encompassing term for the main themes of the LP. Tim takes us through it all.
The literal meaning is an indefinite period of time, this song plays on the idea of music being eternal – whilst we may pass away and some of our favourite artists, some of whom had passed whilst writing this album, their music still lives on and new people can still find them, and listen and learn from them.
2. Dark Emu.
This is based on a book that I was reading at the time of writing the album called Dark Emu: Black Seeds by Bruce Pascoe. It’s about a truer history of Australia than what I’d learnt about through school when I was younger, around Aboriginal culture and history. This book has had a huge impact on me, as a non-Aboriginal person, and how I naively perceived this beautiful country’s 80,000+ year old history.
Mental health is something I’ve struggled with since I was younger and suicide is one of the biggest killers of men in Australia.. A lot of men view empathy, caring and showing emotion with a negative lens, and I think that is at the core of one of the big issues for our culture. Instead of talking about how we’re feeling, we do more negative things to ourselves, drinking, drugs, abuse, etc. and that’s considered normal and fine. Our culture encourages us to purposefully and actively “stray” from the “light” (or positivity, or kindness), which may be a big part in saving us from ourselves.
4. Darwin’s Delay.
There was a theory going around that Darwin didn’t release his theory on evolution ‘The Origin of Species’ for 20-30 years, because he was apparently afraid of his peers reactions or damaging his reputation. This was something I’d believed too, and used for the song title as it’s about anxiety and how holding ourselves back can stop us from doing some incredible things, or just simply meeting new people or enjoying ourselves. This theory of “Darwin’s Delay” has since been disproved, he was just a busy guy, so it doesn’t really “mean a fucking thing”, sort of like anxiety – if you frame it that way.
Embers can either be the sign of a fire going out, or a fire starting.
One of our favourite movies is Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind – which is a trip, like this song. “Clement” also means mild, merciful, or compassionate – which links in nicely with the themes of the song around understanding one another and being consciously aware of our own bias, perspectives and experiences.
Wildfire reflects the frustration, aggression and sense of urgency in this song, wildfires also spread rapidly and don’t tend to stay in one place.
8. Welcome To The Anthropocene.
We’re currently in a new era, the Anthropocene, it was declared by scientists in 2016, as the rate of global climatic change since the industrial revolution has been profoundly impacted by us, humans. Mass extinction, deforestation, carbon emissions, ocean acidity, pollution and extensive geological change are just some of the great things we’ve done in an unprecedented and very short amount of time.
Bit of an inside joke, a placeholder name for this song was Blake Owes Rich $20, so Blake remembered to pay him back, we then then just abbreviated it to BOR. Bör is also a Norse god who represents the earth, so that’s pretty cool.
1835 is the year in which Melbourne was invaded by John Batman, whom like many other colonialists, raped and desecrated Aboriginal people and country – genocide. John Batman committed mass atrocities, however, he was potentially the only colonial invader of Australia who tried to sign a treaty with Aboriginal people. The treaty however was declared void. The official objection to the treaty was that Batman had attempted to negotiate directly with the Aboriginal people, whom the British did not recognise as occupying the land nor having any claim to any lands in Australia. Australia still hasn’t signed a treaty that recognises Aboriginal people lived here before colonisation. It’s the only Commonwealth nation in the world to still not have a treaty with its first nations people.
Influenced by the movie ‘Take Shelter’ which is also a lyric in the song. If you’ve watched the movie and then listen to the song lyrics, you should understand the linking theme: it’s a similar underlying fear I feel on a daily basis.
12. The Rose King.
This song is named after my niece. I was reading a lot of Henry Thoreau at this time also, who purposefully secluded himself in nature to immerse himself in philosophical practices, themes from ‘Civil Disobedience’ and ‘Walden’ recur throughout the album and really came through on this song in particular.
An enso is a painted circle that symbolises enlightenment, the universe or the void in Japanese culture. When painting it, it’s usually done with one stroke, and can be considered a form of meditation in itself. Whether the enso is left open or closed, reflects different meanings. It’s a great closer to the album, as the song itself almost feels like it isn’t meant to end…