Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Joey Valence & Brae

Joey Valence & Brae’s second album NO HANDS closes with ‘OMNITRIX’, a triumphant cut featuring sampled strings and soul vocals, the title a nod to the cartoon Ben 10. Joey calls it “a victory lap for the whole album,” and it’s notable for several reasons: its more measured cadence showcases a new dimension to the brash, punk-rap stylings that have defined the duo since they popped off at the tail end of 2021, and its lyrics are also central to JVB 2.0.

“It’s a reflection of what we've built over the past three years, and here’s who we are,” says Brae, the pair reveling in being the ones calling the shots. “It's important for our fans to be like, these two kids built this on their own, and you can do the same exact thing,” adds Joey. “You don't have to try and act cool: just be yourself and that's cool as shit.”

But let’s rewind a little, because it’s been a whirlwind. Joey and Brae went from college kids to DIY sensations, thanks to viral hit ‘Double Jump,’ which they parlayed into an EP, 2022’s The Underground Sound, and 2023’s debut full length album PUNK TACTICS, a smash and grab collision of 90s hip-hop, drum ‘n’ bass, pop culture references, and frenetic circle pit energy. Meanwhile the duo’s prankster antics helped build a dedicated fan base of punk kids, metalheads, and rap fans alike. As it stands, JVB have racked up 200+ million streams and 1.3+ million followers across socials, and they’ve done it all 100% independently. It’s no wonder Limp Bizkit brought them to the UK last year, that their recent underplay tour sold out in minutes, and Sum 41 have tapped them as openers on their farewell tour later this Spring. But it’s their second album NO HANDS that’ll be the real level up.

Like all the best buddy movies Joey and Brae’s meet-cute began at a Red Lobster. They were hanging with mutual friends Freshman year at Penn State: Joey was

the quiet dude sitting at the end of the table and Brae wondered what was up with that guy — “he’s mad weird.” In fact Joey was a music obsessive who started messing around with FL Studio when he was just 12-years-old. At the time, a recent transplant from Fairfax, VA, he knew no one, but was inspired by his dad’s rock and hip-hop mixes, Daft Punk, DnB and dubstep, which created the perfect petri dish conditions: Joey the bedroom producer was born. Brae meanwhile was pulling up rap cyphers on YouTube, and was also influenced by his Filipino dad who spent his teen years breakdancing in a Puma tracksuit around NYC.

It didn’t take long for Joey and Brae to find their common ground bond: hip-hop legends like A Tribe Called Quest and Wu-Tang, Miami bass originators 69 Boyz, rave rebels The Prodigy, and modern innovators like Tyler, The Creator, Skrillex, 100 gecs, LMFAO, Turnstile, Denzel Curry, Charli XCX, you name it — their collective taste is omnivorous and genre agnostic.

Music aside, what cemented their partnership was their humor, energy and attitude: they’re both down to clown, looking to entertain each other, and anyone around them. This spirit is the bedrock of their output as Joey Valence & Brae, and a cornerstone of their appeal. Two and half years after meeting, and with no experience, Brae was jumping on the mic. (“I didn’t know I had it either / Joey turned the mic on and I guess it sparked a fire,” Brae raps on ‘OMNITRIX’).

Joey was rapping too and in 2021, starting with ‘Crank It Up’, they began putting original tracks online, and testing the water with unfinished tunes on TikTok. At the end of that year they posted a 26-second snippet of what would become ‘Double Jump’ — an infectious early-90s-indebted hip-hop cut name-checking Missy Elliot, turtlenecks, and Nike Air Pumps. And then they went to dinner.

Within 24 hours it had two million views and to date, that ‘Double Jump’ TikTok has amassed 18.5+ million views. JVB were savvy, they stayed on their grind, releasing the aforementioned records with zero backing, and hitting the road with their friend Austin as their DJ.

To this day the duo create and record all of their music in Joey’s Pokemon-plastered bedroom. Why hemorrhage money on a fancy studio when

you can lay it all down where the snacks are always stocked (thanks, mom!). Even as almost every major label has come calling, the pair remain assiduously independent. They control and generate all their music and every piece of content, and their music videos are scrappy affairs, self-shot, self-edited, and captured on whatever’s around: a doorbell cam, a Spiderman watch, Xbox Kinect, a Nintendo DS. They take pride in what they call “the worst camera angles” (‘HOOLIGANG’). Brae’s sneaker collection may be box fresh, but their look is Depop thrifted.

It’s this vibe that informs their upcoming second album NO HANDS which was recorded in just a month. Opening track ‘BUSSIT,’ with its distorted, bassy-synth, brain-rattling beats, and an unexpected jungle break, absolutely sets the tone. NO HANDS takes the frenetic, propulsive energy of PUNK TACTICS and goes harder, but also offers more range.

Take ‘THE BADDEST,’ a body-quaking Miami bass banger, part Fatman Scoop, part LMFAO, this was the last song they completed and it’s destined to be a riot-inducing live favorite. Elsewhere, early singles ‘JOHN CENA’ and ‘WHERE U FROM’ are full of swaggy braggadocio, simultaneously poking fun at those who think they’re all that. The latter is a mash-up of house synths and loose-limbed beats while tipping a cap to Brockhampton. The record also includes stand out collaborations with Terror Reid on ‘DOUGHBOY,’ and Danny Brown on “PACKAPUNCH” (JVB slid into his DMs only to find out the Detroit rapper was already a fan).

“It was one of those shoot your shot moments,” recalls Joey. “And he was like, yeah, I actually really fuck with you guys.” Recorded guerilla-style in Danny’s hotel room after his show in Philly, Danny delivered his verse in one take. It’s classic JVB: raw, wily, a little Wu-Tang; and peppered, as ever, with their eclectic blend of interests — Star Wars, Olivia Rodrigo, and legendary UK chicken shop chain Nando’s.

With its jazzy hook and scratching from pioneering DJ Z-Trip, the LP’s title track is also key. “‘NO HANDS’ is driving home the point that we do this on our own, and that we're confident about it,” explains Joey. “Like, ‘Look Ma, no hands.’ It also

doubles for having no hands working on this project other than us in terms of the creative. This album is us doubling down: we bet on ourselves and it worked.”

NO HANDS will land just in time for festival season and playing live is where they truly excel. Their performances are high-octane, a blur of pinwheeling arms and legs and adrenaline-fuelled chaos with maximum crowd participation. “You bought a ticket to come to our show, you're not just seeing the show: you are the fucking show,” declares Brae, who Joey says “brings the boom bada to the table.”

“The most fun part of it is when we're laughing in here,” says Joey, gesturing to his bedroom, “and we're doing the exact same thing on stage — we're literally just trying to make each other laugh and be stupid in front of a crowd of people, whether that's five or 5000 people, we're still having the best time of our lives.”

Social Links

The Basement East
Show: 8:00 pm - CDT (Doors: 7:00 pm)
All Ages