Savannah Stopover: Deeper’s angular guitar exploration

Chicago band comes to Stopover

When we caught up with Chicago rockers Deeper, they were just getting into Bristol, England in the middle of a lengthy European/U.K. tour. They’d already played gigs in The Netherlands and a few other countries, and even got the chance to go to Stonehenge when they arrived in England.

“It was like a rare window of sunshine when we were at Stonehenge, so it was great,” bassist Drew McBride tells Connect, in a conversation with his bandmates—drummer Shiraz Bhatti and guitarist/singer Nic Gohl.

For a band whose roots are planted in the DIY scene of Chicago, their European tour is a far cry from those early days. And yet, their DIY spirit remains intact.

“We’ve all played in different bands in the Chicago DIY scene throughout the last seven years or so, and we got to know each other through different projects,” McBride says. “We tossed around the idea of forming a band—first Nic and Shiraz, and then I came on.”

The scene in Chicago that the band came from was full of bands that have now climbed the ladder in a similar way that Deeper has. Bands like Twin Peaks, who the band was on tour with in Europe when we spoke to them, had similar beginnings and a similar trajectory.

“A lot of these bands came up together, so it was very vibrant when we were coming up,” McBride says. “It’s great to see a lot of people that you previously played in basements with selling out rooms and things like that.

It hasn’t just been a career evolution for the guys in Deeper and their Chicago pals; it’s been a musical one as well. The band actually started under a different name and with a different lineup, and employed a more dream pop sound.

“We didn’t come into it from the onset with a particular sound in mind, but there was a point where we decided to steer away from the dream pop sound. We wanted to make something a little more aggressive, a little more guitar focused and angular,” Gohl says.

“We all have a lot of similar influences in common—Wire, Gang of Four, Television, things like that. So we took a lot of those different elements and played to the strengths of each of us in the band, and that concoction yielded the sound that we have today.”

The band’s upcoming album, Auto-Pain, was recorded and co-produced by their friend Dave Vettraino. Vettraino is best known for his work in The Hecks, as well as as producing a diverse catalog of artists in Chicago and beyond.

“He’s a good friend, so we were able to tap into his input for a lot of stuff,” McBride says. “He knows that we’re always down to explore and try new things, which is what he’s excited to see when he’s producing records. For him, it’s more engaging when he can explore a band and try to take things in a new direction.”

A big example of the exploration that’s present on Auto-Pain is a song called “Run.”

“When we recorded that, towards the latter half you can hear little glitches and things like that. With Dave, we could move it away from sounding like a traditional rock song and have these moments where it feels like it’s falling apart,” McBride says.

“We wanted to make sure that he wasn’t just coming in, pressing the space bar, and going home.”

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