DEEP STATE’s latest release, The Path to Fast Oblivion, is fast paced and urgent punk rock soundscape that seems to fit perfectly in the current American political climate, while also feeling like a rebellious outlier that goes against the musical grain.
All of that will be on display when the band invades Huc A Poo’s on Tybee March 8 in what’s been called an “Athens Takeover.”
We spoke to guitarist Taylor Chmura ahead of the gig to learn more about their classic rock and roll beginnings and why punk rock matters more than ever today.
How did the band get started?
Chmura: I was playing in some other groups in Athens and was working with the guys in the band at this legendary vegetarian restaurant called The Grit. It's kind of, like, the story of a lot of bands. Just working together and then going, "Hey, do you want to play together?"
I had a lot of songs that I didn’t know what to do with, because I used to play in these country bands but I wasn’t a good enough musician to play good country music [laughs]. So I was like, “How do you get away with being a mediocre musician but still get across that passion?” Obviously, punk rock is kind of the best way to do that. So that’s kind of the cliff notes version of our story.
Was punk rock something you all bonded over?
Yeah, we definitely bonded over it. That’s the background for all of us, basically, just playing in guitar bands.
What were some of your influences when you started this thing?
For me, when I was younger I liked The Ramones. But as time went on, I started listening to contemporary bands. Other influences are bands like R.E.M., or Wire, or The Replacements - just kind of a spectrum of sounds, but anything that’s catchy.
It’s funny that you mention Wire - it’s not that I necessarily listened and thought, “This sounds like a Wire song.” But in some of the sonics and things like that I definitely could get a sense for that kind of vibe.
Your records sound very live and kind of organic - when you go into a studio, what do your writing and recording processes look like?
When we record, we do everything live to kind of retain the energy that hopefully people are getting. We record with Drew Vandenberg in Athens, and he’s just really good about making that happen. We don’t really know how to do it another way, as far as recording. We could sit there and really pick apart these songs, but we wanted to retain this sort of ragged nature that sounds a little off and not super clinical.
It’s kind of the same when we write songs. I basically have the skeleton of a song, and then my bandmates put all the meat on it. They make it fully formed. We’ve been playing together long enough to where the communication doesn’t have to be very detailed as far as what we want the song to sound like. It’s kind of happening in the practice space as we’re doing it.
This record is definitely more thought out, but there’s still the same idea that when we work, if we think too much then we kind of get self conscious.
What were you going for lyrically on this record?
I don’t really go in thinking about what I want to write about, necessarily. It’s not a direct mission. I think that obviously, the past two years have been really interesting if you’ve watched the news or are, like, alive [laughs]. So that inherently impacted a lot of the content. I’d had a lot of these songs written, but they kind of kept morphing alongside all of this crazy shit that we’ve been witnessing.
When all of the songs came together and we were listening back during mixing, I realized that there’s actually somewhat of a thread going on. The Path to Fast Oblivion is just about somebody seeking the fastest way to forget about their existence or their problems. Just eliminating thought, kind of. Whether it was through radical ideas, or drugs, or hurting people. With that core, primitive concept, some other thoughts started pouring in about gun violence or violence in general. So it’s really fucking dark, and I think our mission is just to hopefully be triumphant in the face of stuff that really sucks.