Get To Know: Deeper

In a major city like Chicago, there’s always ample opportunities to catch local bands playing live music every night of the week. Especially with venues like The Empty Bottle, Schubas, and Lincoln Hall, you can often discover a new favorite hometown band by just getting to the show early enough to catch the opener. I first discovered Deeper by doing just that; showing up early to Twin Peaks’ ACLU benefit show held at The Empty Bottle back in March of 2017.

Since that show, Deeper has continued playing all around the city, from bars shows at The Whistler to a support slot at Whitney’s Valentine’s Day show at Thalia Hall. The band’s four members, Nic Gohl, Drew McBride, Mike Clawson, and Shiraz Bhatti, have also been hard at work putting the finishing touches on their debut record, which will finally be out on May 25th via Fire Talk Records. Around the release, Deeper has put out three singles; “Pink Showers,” “Pavement,” and “Feels,” all of which have garnered buzz and kept the momentum surrounding the album in full swing.

Just ahead of the album release, I met up with Nic Gohl and Drew McBride to get to know more about the band. Check out these six things I learned about Deeper so that you can also be in the know before the album drops.

 

 Photo By Alexa Viscius
Photo By Alexa Viscius

GROWING UP, THEY HAD SPLIT OPINIONS ON THE STROKES

“I hated The Strokes,” said no one ever…except for Deeper vocalist and guitarist Nic Gohl. “I like them now!” Gohl continues. “I had this vendetta against MTV and all that shit. I think I had a really shitty taste in music. I was into Ska bands at one point…” Unlike his bandmate, bassist Drew McBride talks about a fascination with The Strokes while discussing his early influences. “I think for me, the moment I was like wow I wanna play music, I was 12 or 13. I was a total nerd loser kid, so I would check out a ton of CDs from the library. I didn’t know much about indie rock before this, but I checked out The Strokes Is This It and- it almost sounds cliche looking back on it, but I listened to that and I was like oh my god, this is the coolest thing ever.  That was sort of it for me,” McBride says.

Despite Gohl’s self-proclaimed questionable taste in music growing up, he still managed to get into making music at an early age. “I think it was like second or third grade and my best friend had gotten one of those Squier starter packs. I was super jealous and really wanted to start playing music because they were, so I played my brother’s shitty guitar through his practice amp, and put the distortion on, and just started kinda hitting it,” he recalls about his early days of playing.

THE GROUP COMPLETELY CHANGED UP THEIR SOUND TWO YEARS AGO

Gohl’s music taste isn’t the only evolution the band has had over the years, it turns out. The original lineup that formed in 2014 actually had completely different songs and contrasted with the signature sound that the present-day Deeper has honed in on. For the group’s self-titled debut that’s out May 25th, the process only dates back to 2016, a couple of years after the start of Deeper. “It kinda started in 2016 when Drew joined the band. The name has been around for four years but before that, we were approaching music and trying to make something different,” Gohl says. “It’s essentially a different project, but the name stayed through,” McBride chimes in, Gohl joking that they basically didn’t feel like making a new Facebook page for the rebirth of the band.

“When Drew came on we basically got rid of every song we had before. So none of the stuff we were playing in the earlier form of Deeper came on. It’s different, completely. We were just starting from scratch. We would have a few and be like fuck it, we should get them down on paper before we forget them,” Gohl says about the writing process. “I think there’s some more guitar pop songs, and also some punkier songs that are a result of like when we recorded them. We were in a phase of writing songs that were a little more straight forward.”

THEY USED A PIECEMEAL PROCESS WHEN RECORDING

Since the band first started writing for Deeper 2.0 in 2016, their recording process has been an ongoing journey. “We started slowly recording with Dave Vettraino, who recorded the whole album and was also Drew’s roommate. They used to live in a place called Public House, where numerous records….the first NE-HI–” Gohl recalls, and McBride tosses in the names of Melkbelly, The Hecks, and Pool Holograph, just to name a few of the fellow Chicagoans who have recorded with Dave. “Everyone has recorded with Dave,” he says.

“Yeah, Dave’s the best. We basically started recording tracks down there. We’d do like two days, one weekend, and then we’d maybe get back together a month or two later and record another one. Slowly we had all the bones after about a year and a half. It was a long process,” Gohl adds, admitting it wasn’t the most efficient process.

About halfway through the recording of the tracks on the debut, Dave moved out of Public House and started working in other studios, which Deeper couldn’t afford at the time. “So we just had him come to our practice space and we recorded the rest of it there. So there’s definitely some differences in some of the songs you can hear,” the band says. While there is that difference in tone that comes from the multiple recording locations and sessions, the band also sees a positive side to piecing everything together. “The tones are a little bit different from song to song cause it’s not like all the drums were tracked at the same time and mic’d in the same way. It creates a wider range of sounds,” McBride says.

“The nice part about it, for a long period of time when putting the record together, I was kind of afraid of it sounding super piecemeal. That element makes it better for the listener. It evolves throughout the record, and kind of brings you in the different mind sets we were at when we wrote and recorded those songs,” Gohl reflects.

THEY BELIEVE EXPOSURE FOR SOME IS EXPOSURE FOR ALL

If you’re a fan of music in this city, you’ve obviously noticed the growing buzz around the current scene, which has sent more and more bands out on national tours. In the past few years or so, we’ve seen bands like Whitney, Twin Peaks, NE-HI, Post Animal and more start to regularly tour the country and drastically grow their audiences. With bands popping up over night, between either new musicians just starting up and established bands kicking up side projects, it can seem daunting to try to stand out among the masses. However, as Deeper points out, it’s more about camaraderie in Chicago, not competition.

“I forget who I was talking to, someone…it might have been Drew actually,” Gohl says, “But, it’s not like there’s a limit on opportunities. You know? I guess city wise, you’re fighting to get the bigger shows from bands coming from out of town. As far as getting on a record label or booking agency, if you’re gonna get on it, you’re gonna get on it. You’re not fighting those people necessarily. Focusing on that, you’re never gonna be able to do this. There’s no fucking point. I think I would never call each other competition. It helps out each other. Having like Twin Peaks and NE-HI definitely have helped us out a lot. Those are some of our closest friends. We got to watch them go through becoming a national act. Being able to see what they had to go through kind of helped us figure out how we want to attack this and make sure it can be as successful as possible.”

Elaborating on the communal spirit in the city, McBride says, “When people like Whitney or Twin Peaks are successful, then people start looking at what else is going on in Chicago, so I never think yeah it’s this competitive thing. Exposure for some is exposure for everyone. If someone is like ‘Oh man, Twin Peaks are cool. Who else is from Chicago?’ Oh you also like NE-HI? Check out Deeper!”

All in all, the band just want to keep their focus on their work and moving forward in their own time. “We really enjoy playing together, and we’re really happy to finally get a piece of music out. I feel like we’ve definitely been humbled through the process and with that, we have no set expectations of where…we definitely want to shoot for as far as we can go, but I think we know what we’re doing more and I think that we have an honest approach. I just want it to stay fun, and keep on progressing and be able to reach more people,” Gohl says.

TOUR HORROR STORIES WON’T KEEP THEM DOWN

Every band, especially those just starting out, tend to have some battle wounds when they return from a tour. As Deeper get ready to hit the road after the album release, they recall some eventful shows in both Nashville and NYC.

Starting off with the scarier of both tales, the band describes the time they played a Halloween show at Fond Object in Nashville, which is a record store with a performance space outside of a house. “We played with Jack White’s girlfriend at the time, who was on Third Man Records. I forget her name. We also played with these guys called the Boo Dudes. They were a Halloween cover band. They covered a bunch of songs and changed all the words to Halloween themes. Then they all wore costumes onstage. So the drummer was the Headless Horseman so it looked like he was drumming with no head,” McBride says. Gohl says they hung around with the Boo Dudes afterwards and had a great time, but the night had started off rocky when they found out the promoter had double booked, and they didn’t have the night. Despite the double booking fiasco, they got added onto the spooky bill and the night went from a dud to a great time.

The last time Deeper performed on the east coast, they also had an epic comeback while in NYC. “We’re having an album release show in New York as well because that’s where Fire Talk, our record label, is based,” McBride says. “To me, I’m excited for New York so that we have a little bit of redemption. Last time we played New York, we played two shows on a Friday and Saturday. As we were leaving the show on Friday- I didn’t realize it- but the car keys for our van fell out of my pocket and I didn’t realize until mid way through the next day. We’re about to go to load in and I’m like, oh my god, the keys!” McBride says they looked everywhere for the keys to the van they had rented through a service that’s the car equivalent to Air BnB, but they were nowhere to be found. After even checking with the Brooklyn precinct to see if anyone had turned the keys in, the band had to let the van owner know what had happened, and Uber their gear to their Saturday show. Just as they were about to give up hope of continuing their east coast tour, McBride says Gohl convinced him to check with the police station one more time. McBride recalls, “So I go in and check again and he’s like these? And pulls out the keys. I remember sprinting out of the precinct as he was filling out the discharge forms. I kicked open the door and I was yelling THEY HAVE THEM!” Gohl remembers the band members all going crazy with excitement over the return of the keys, mentioning they all went out all night in Chinatown to celebrate.

Hopefully when Deeper plays in NYC this time, they’ll only be celebrating a successful album release show, not the return of any more lost items.

MOST OF THEIR FAVORITE MUSIC SOUNDS NOTHING LIKE THEIRS

When shouting out other Chicago bands that they like to support, Gohl’s and McBride’s lists include the likes of Bunny, Pool Holograph, Clearance, The Hecks, The Knees, and so many more…a lot of bands that exist under the same Chicago rock umbrella. However, when it comes to listening to music from outside of the city, their picks come from all different genres.

“I am obsessed with this band from Philly- they’re a part of the 80’s post punk scene-called Crash Course In Science. They’re playing the Bottle for Cold Waves Fest, so I’m really excited to see them play. Besides that, honestly, I’m just obsessed with listening to DAMN. still. I think that will be my forever album,” Gohl says. “I’ve been listening to a lot more electronic music. I’m really into synthesizers and drum machines, which is definitely something we’ve been pursuing with some of the newer stuff,” he continues.

McBride agrees, adding,”I honestly have been listening to a lot of electronic or experimental electronic music instead of solely just indie rock. Like Nicolas Jaar and Jon Hopkins and things like that. I feel like all the other music that we listen to allows us to not get burnt out on what we’re doing. If I was only listening to the same kind of music that we’re making, I just don’t think I would enjoy it as much. I think also to evolve the sound, you can’t just listen to the things that sound the same as you. Otherwise the album is going to be similar to what you’re already doing or what your peers are already doing. By listening to like other genres, or electronic music, I think it allows us to find what we think is cool in music that’s not the same as us. Then bring that back. If these other artists did something cool in this way, I don’t wanna do that same thing, but I like the concept of how they did that.”



There you have it! Pre-order the Shuga exclusive of the record on white vinyl here, or swing by the shop to snag it on Friday.

Keep up with Deeper on Facebook + Instagram + Twitter


This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine

Live Recap: HINDS Returns to Lincoln Hall With New Material and the Same Old Spirit

“This is the first time we sold out Chicago,” Hinds tells the packed house at Lincoln Hall on Tuesday night. On the Madrid quartet’s current tour, sold out shows are no rare occurrence; they’ve had a recent streak of shows that have been overflowing with eager fans. Although this last show might have been Hinds’ first official sold out show here, they’ve also had no shortage of rowdy moments in the city in the last year. Last May, they played a free show at The Empty Bottle, which had fans lined up around the block to attend, and they played Lincoln Hall earlier this year as part of the annual Tomorrow Never Knows Festival.

Back in January, Hinds had recently announced the release date of their sophomore album I Don’t Run, and dropped their first single “New For You.” While they teased the new material at that show, performing the new single, their show last week was the first time many of the songs in their set had been played in Chicago. During their 75 minute set, the band performed the majority of their second album, opening up with “The Club.” Whether they were playing the new material or old favorites like “Easy” or “Garden,” the audience remained keen to have a great time; dancing, moshing, and even crowd surfing throughout the night. Despite their intense and grueling tour schedule, accompanied with a busy press schedule, the members of Hinds burst onto stage with a surge of energy, boasting infectious smiles, and the positive vibes remained present the whole show. Whether they were dancing together or telling funny anecdotes between songs, the members of Hinds always kept the mood lighthearted.

Towards the end of the show, the momentum of the evening peaked (pun intended) when members of Twin Peaks and Goodbye Honolulu crashed the stage to give Hinds a hand in performing “Davey Crockett” from their EP The Very Best of Hinds So Far. The unruly guest appearance featured Carlotta Cosials getting on Cadien James of Twin Peaks’ shoulders, stage diving from Twin Peaks’ Clay Frankel and Jack Dolan, and some champagne popping; making for an unforgettable moment in an already unforgettable show.

During the show, Carlotta had mentioned that Chicago is the closest city in America that they have to their hometown of Madrid, and another wildly successful show here proved that the city feels just as fondly about Hinds.

If you missed out on getting tickets to this show, check out photos from the evening with Bunny and Goodbye Honolulu, and see the rest of Hinds’ tour dates here.

Order your own copy of I Don’t Run on the web store here, or come grab it in the shop!


This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine

Live Recap: Unknown Mortal Orchestra at The Vic 5.3.18

This past Thursday night, Unknown Mortal Orchestra returned to Chicago for the first time since 2016, touring in support of their latest record Sex & Food, out April 6th via Jagjaguwar Records.

The 90 minute set started off heavy with songs from Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s early catalog, easing the crowd into their new material. The night kicked off with”Ffunny Ffrends,” a track from the band’s debut, self-titled record, which was followed by “Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)” from their second album. As the setlist weaved through the band’s diverse discography, frontman Ruban Nielson and the rest of the band maintained an incredibly tight sound throughout the entire show. While the performance remained incredibly sharp, the band also had a relaxed and infectious energy about them, often extending out their tracks with instrumental breaks that added depth to the live experience of their records.

Early on in the evening, during “From The Sun,” Nielson actually jumped into the crowd with his guitar and played his way through the entire room, even making it up to the balcony. From that moment on, the crowd’s eyes clung to the stage, the audience eager to soak up the showmanship and musicianship that Unknown Mortal Orchestra has expertly honed in on over their years together. While the band exuded an incredible stage presence, an intricate lighting show backed them, adding another facet to their live production. Between the production quality, the setlist selection, and the chemistry of the band members, Unknown Mortal Orchestra put on the perfect show.

If you get the chance, do not miss Unknown Mortal Orchestra on this tour–see the remaining dates here.

Photos of Unknown Mortal Orchestra at The Vic, May 3rd, 2018

You can grab your copy of Sex & Food at the shop or on the web store here, and keep up with UMO on Instagram and Facebook.


 This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine

Live Recap: Post Animal Plays a Rowdy Record Release Show to a Packed Lincoln Hall

At almost every concert you go to, there’s a sort of unspoken bond amongst audience members; a mutual love of music and an interest in the particular band performing that can take strangers, put them into a cramped room, and turn them into friends by the end of the night. At Post Animal’s album release show on Friday night, the room buzzed with an electrifying sense of camaraderie from the second the doors to Lincoln Hall opened. For many in the audience, they had already formed friendships with one another, due to the supportive nature of the Chicago music scene, and the show that would follow would only bring that community even closer.

Like most Chicago bands that have begun to garner attention nationally, and even internationally, during the last couple of years, Post Animal got their start playing DIY shows in basements and gritty locations around the city before eventually working their way up to headlining slots at the likes of The Hideout, The Empty Bottle, and The Subterranean. Headlining a sold out show at Lincoln Hall sits towards the top of many bands’ bucket lists in the city, so when Post Animal made their way up to checking this feat off their list, they made sure to put together a special show for the 500 lucky audience members that scored tickets to the gig.

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First, they had some of the freshest local (and soon-to-be local) talent warm up the stage for them, with Rookie kicking off the night. Although they’re a new project and just released a debut single last week, Chicago music scene veterans Joe Bordenaro and Max Loebman act as the group’s leaders, working together on new music and revamping music from their past projects. Their experience of playing music for years in other projects gives them a commanding stage presence and sense of chemistry as bandmates that you rarely see in a new band. By the time Rookie’s set had finished, most of the room had already filled in, and anyone who had started the night unaware of Rookie had quickly been converted to a new fan after witnessing their live show.

Next up, Slow Pulp mesmerized the packed house with their dreamy mix of psychedelic, pop, and punk tones for the next 45 minutes. Hailing from Madison, Slow Pulp will soon be making a permanent move down to Chicago, and the audience response on Friday confirmed that they will be welcomed with open arms once they make the move later this year. The crowd gave the band their undivided attention as they played through songs from their self-produced and released EP2, which is actually the band’s first release since the addition of lead singer Emily Massey. The audience sang along with Massey throughout the show, especially during “Preoccupied,” which has stacked up close to 200,000 streams on Spotify.

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Eventually the time came for Post Animal to hit the stage, and the current of energy that had been surging through the venue was further intensified when the opening riffs of “Gelatin Mode” rang out into the room. Although they’ve been playing the song live for months, the band had only recently released the track as a single with an accompanying, must-watch music video, and it acted as the perfect kickstart to the rowdy evening that would follow. Of course, no Post Animal show would be complete without a little (or a lot of) crowd surfing and moshing, and “Gelatin Mode” set the tone for a wild night when the crowd immediately started thrashing around to the fast-paced song.

Another new single from When I Think Of You In A Castle, “Tire Eyes,” followed, only slightly slowing down the pace. The exuberance of the crowd remained intact however, never wavering as the setlist weaved between songs featuring in-your-face guitar solos, like “Special Moment” and “Victory Lap: Danger Zone,” and more mellow, winding psychedelic-tinged tracks like “Castle.” The band did a great job of strategically plotting the placement of each song in the setlist, allowing for the audience fully appreciate the diverse texture and sonic diversity of not only their newest material, but some old favorites from their first two EPs. To assist with the flow of the set, the band even worked out more elaborate and refreshed transitions between songs, adding another layer to the new songs that fans can’t experience from just listening to the record.

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After playing through the majority of When I Think Of You In A Castle and staples like “Alabaster” and “You Were Not There” from their earlier catalog, Post Animal closed the first part of their set with their viral track “When I Get Home,” which has always proved to be a crowd favorite with its grooving bass line and sweeping melody. At this point in the night, the room was overflowing with positive vibes, and the crowd had already been potentially the rowdiest that the Lincoln Park concert hall has ever hosted, but things only got crazier during the encore.

Cadien Lake James from Twin Peaks first took the stage with a bottle of champagne in hand to get the audience hyped for Post Animal’s return, further demonstrating the supportive nature of the city’s music scene. After the warm introduction, the band eased the audience into the final part of their set by kicking things off with “Goggles” from their 2015 EP Post Animal Perform The Most Curious Water Activities, but when they transitioned into “Dirtpicker,” it was no holds barred for the remainder of the show. The song anchors out their new album, but it has been the hype song of their live show for a while now, always riling up the crowd with its infectiously catchy riffs. The amiable spirits of the crowd peaked during this last song as everyone exerted their final ounces of energy, working to lift each other up to crowd surf or have one last go at moshing.

By the time Post Animal walked offstage on Friday night, it was clear to everyone in the crowd that they had just witnessed a very special moment (pun intended) and while this show marked a landmark achievement for the band, it’s truly only the beginning for them. You can catch Post Animal on a headlining national tour throughout the summer, with select shows featuring Slow Pulp or fellow Chicagoans Paul Cherry and Town Criers. The summer tour includes appearances at legendary festivals like Shaky Knees, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza (Chicago, catch them at Lolla on Friday, August 3rd). See the rest of their tour dates here, and snag a copy of When I Think Of You In A Castle  here.

More photos of Rookie, Slow Pulp, and Post Animal at Lincoln Hall on April 27th, 2018

 

This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine

Event Preview: ANCHR Magazine Showcase with Blue Dream, Engine Summer, and Faux Furrs

Following their January showcase that celebrated their one year anniversary, local online music magazine ANCHR Magazine is hosting another show this month at the city’s newest venue, Sleeping Village. The lineup features Blue DreamEngine Summer and Faux Furrs and takes place on April 20th.  You can grab tickets to the show here, and get to know each band a little better below!

BLUE DREAM

The four-piece Chicago band consisting of Justin Sanetra, Anthony Cook, Jimmy Russell, and Danny Awisha recently released their debut album Volume Won; a captivating album with magnetic riffs and grooving bass lines that demand your attention. Blue Dream‘s electrifying stage presence amplifies their music to the next level, making them one of the city’s best live acts. Don’t miss your chance to see Blue Dream on 4/20; catch them headlining the show on Friday!

For Fans Of: Post Animal, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall

Start With: UFO,” “Freedom Eyes,”  “Who Stole The Flowers”

For more on Blue Dream-check out our interview with them here!


ENGINE SUMMER

This trio from Elmhurst, IL consisting of Jeremy Marsan, Ben Kostecki, and Ryan Ohm blends together post-punk and garage rock influences to form irresistibly catchy tunes that thread together one cohesive narrative on their debut album Trophy KidsCatch them bringing the story to life on the Sleeping Village stage this Friday.

For Fans Of: Omni, NE-HI, Deeper

Start With“Rather Choke,” “Trophy Kids,”  “Jezebel”

More on Engine Summer


FAUX FURRS

Ryan Deffet, Adam Karstens, Michael Oliva, and Ryan Shuck, AKA Faux Furrs,  bring all the good vibes with their lighthearted and upbeat melodies, which pair perfectly with the Spring weather that’s finally starting to hit the city this week. Get your dancing shoes ready and be prepared to bop around to their fun-spirited songs from their 2017 album TaxonomyAs the band describes their sound, it’s like “Garage Psych, in space”…make sure you come to the show to hear just how accurate that is.


For Fans Of: Frankie and the Witch Fingers, Summer Salt, Vundabar

Start With: “Fools Gold or the Lion,” “Moon Farm,” “Robot Love”

More on Faux Furrs

RSVP to the event on Facebook here!