As the band's self-titled debut rolls into the world, we discuss Deeper's long lead-up to today's release, the state of Chicago's DIY music scene, and who's the worst driver in the group.
The new record, the self-titled debut, is out this month on Fire Talk Records. Deeper has been "around" since as early as 2014. What's been the cause of delay for an official release? How has that experience helped build the group to its current state?
Deeper has been “around” since 2014, but at that time the band was exploring a different vibe. It wasn’t really until 2016 that this line up of the band came together. The record showcases what we worked on from 2016-2017. You can hear us learning to play together and it’s a large reason it has such wide-ranging sounds. Nic and Mike both have very unique styles of guitar playing; it takes a lot of chemistry to understand how to create enough space to let everyone’s parts breathe and to create a cohesive sound.
What were some motivations or inspirations you ingested during the writing and recording of the record? Did the album develop organically or was it a more direct and calculated operation?
Simply writing our first record was a big motivator for us. When we first started recording, we only had three songs written and just wanted to get them down on tape and experiment with recording. A few months later we had another batch of two or three songs that we felt were ready and did it again. That kept happening for a whole year and a half until we felt we had a record.
The band has opened for a healthy list of Chicago/Midwest bands like Whitney, Hoops, NE-HI, etc. As a band forging your own path and creative identity, how did these experiences impact where you are now as songwriters and performers?
It’s been really great playing with all our homies and sort of seeing everyone come up together. Over the last few years we played shows to five people in moldy basements to playing a sold out show at Thalia Hall. Each show has taught us how to perform and each band we’ve played with has taught us how to have our own songwriting identity.
From the outside, it appears that Chicago has a unique bond within its creative community to support each other and help grow and improve the artist community. What do you think is unique about Chicago's music culture? What does it offer that doesn't exist in other places?
Shiraz Bhatti: When we were first coming up, the DIY scene was really nurturing and thriving but it felt like all of our favorite spots came to an abrupt end in 2015 but the community figured out how to take that energy and passion and put it into more legit venues. That comradery and sense of family that you find within DIY scenes is still around but in clubs now. Bands are looking out for each other.
In an overwhelmingly vast musical expanse, how do you guys approach songwriting and sending your artwork into the ether of review, critique, and appraisal? Does any of that stuff impact your creative awareness?
I think this is a really great question because it really gets to the intentions of us playing music. We love hearing people’s opinions on our music, but definitely aren’t catering it to anyone but ourselves, honestly. It hasn’t affected our creative awareness up to this point. I think once you start trying to appease critics, the tail starts wagging the dog.
I always find it interesting that sometimes when speaking with bands, I discover they don't listen to music independently or have really unusual taste that isn't symmetrical with the music they create. Do you guys seek out to discover new music, are you diggers of outsider stuff from the past, or is there anything out of the ordinary that may come as a surprise as far as your musical influences are concerned?
Shiraz Bhatti: Speaking for myself, I really enjoy post punk, new wave and hip hop, but I find myself listening to a lot of Jorge Ben Jor, Los Angeles Azules and Os Mutantes in the summertime and a ton of Powwow and sweatlodge songs in the gym or when I’m feeling homesick.
Drew McBride: I love listening to our musical peers, but also find myself listening to experimental/electronic music as of lately – artists like Nicolas Jaar, Jon Hopkins, and John Talabot are pretty exciting to me. Having some different tastes outside of the genre you play helps not be burnt out on it and form a different perspective on how to approach songwriting.
This May, you'll set out for an east coast tour with stops opening for Iceage, Omni, and others. Besides Chicago, are there cities you enjoy playing in? What's the toughest part about touring? Who's the worst driver in the band?
Mike is blind as a bat and drives like a grandma so we only let him drive when we’re all beat haha. Toughest part about touring is eating healthy and staying in shape so we’re gonna bring a basketball in the van and try to find time to get some shots up. We had an awesome time in Boston the last time, pumped to be back there, but we’re psyched to see homies that we haven’t seen in a while while on the road.