The Chicago quartet talks to Noisey about their nervy brand of Midwestern indie rock. Stream their self-titled freshman effort ahead of its May 25 debut right here.
Photo by Alexa Viscius
There’s a song on Deeper’s self-titled debut album that encapsulates all of the band’s strengths in just two minutes. “Feels,” the third single and album standout, opens with bludgeoning buzzsaw guitars before culminating into a knotty post-punk jam. Frontman Nic Gohl barks almost mantra-like lines “I don't live a lot/I don't feel a lot” and “You've got to learn about/You can't just talk about it” over a numbing rhythm. The energy in Deeper’s Midwestern indie rock is palpable: It always hits at a blistering pace and not a second is wasted. With a runtime of well-under a half hour, Deeper’s self-titled debut album, which is premiering in full below before its May 25 release, is a crash course in icy efficiency.
Gohl agrees about “Feels,” “That song is our most primal and came together the easiest. It’s about waking up feeling uncertain and getting past the whole day without getting mad at yourself for doing something dumb the night before.” Bassist Drew McBride chimes in, “It’s the song that shows off the band the best.” Gohl, McBride, and the rest of the band, guitarist Mike Clawson and drummer Shiraz Bhatti are taking a break from rehearsals at their practice space on Chicago’s West Side, where they’re prepping for a spring tour that will see them play shows with bands like Iceage and Omni. The room, which they share with local indie rock staples NE-HI and Clearance, still boasts graffiti that reads “Too Old” and “Give Up” from the room’s previous tenants punk veterans Rise Against.
While Gohl and Clawson grew up together and have been in bands since they were kids, they added Bhatti who they met at one of the DIY shows he’d host at his old Wicker Park apartment and later McBride, who played in bands like Landmarks and their practice space compatriots Clearance. The first song the four wrote together is “Pavement,” the only track on the LP that occupies slower, more melodic territory than ripping indie rock. Over twinkling guitars, Gohl claustrophobically broods, “Feels like I'm falling backwards/ It happens all the time.” Though it’s the prettiest song on the LP with its ambient textures, the moodiness ties it together with the album’s more raucous cuts. “Playing that slow is exhausting. It’s so much more of a relief to play fast live. The newer stuff came to us so much more naturally because we’re most comfortable playing with that energy,” says Gohl.
Deeper thrives on nervous intensity not just in their live show but in their writing process. Gohl explains, “I have anxiety up the ass and I realized that songwriting is a really good way to get rid of that.” The band’s writing sessions move at a breakneck pace with stream-of-consciousness lyrics and extended jams that are relentlessly refined until they work. “This whole album is basically us frantically throwing shit at a wall and seeing what sticks,” says Clawson. While the frenetic nature of their creative process could be disorienting, it’s actually ends up compelling. The rest of the album doesn’t allow the band to catch its breath. Songs like “KG” and “Pink Showers” are propulsive, building in ferocity with each metallic clang of Gohl and Clawson’s guitar riffs.
Deeper was recorded in piecemeal fashion over the previous two years with the majority of the songs tracked at their practice space with local indie rock mainstay Dave Vettraino engineering. Despite the fragmented recording sessions, which the band fretted over, there’s a tangible cohesiveness to the album. Gohl says, “Between Mike and I, we have two or three failed attempts at making a record together from our various bands over the years. Here, the passion we’ve all put towards this band has far exceeded the anxieties that came with any of our earlier projects.” Adds McBride, “It may not sound like it but we have our shit together now.”
Stream Deeper here:
Deeper is out May 25 via Fire Talk Records. Catch them on tour.
May 21 - Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge (w/ Iceage)
May 22 - Atlanta, GA @ 529 (w/ Omni)
May 23 - Baltimore, MD @ EMP Collective
May 24 - Washington, DC @ Comet Ping Pong
May 25 - Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool
May 26 - Boston, MA @ Black Lodge
May 27 - Northampton, MA @ Red Cross
May 28 - Philadelphia, PA @ Everybody Hits
May 29 - Richmond, VA @ Flora
May 31 - Columbus, OH @ Spacebar
June 3 - Chicago, IL @ Do Division Festival