TMF meets Deep Cut
With their second album Disorientation out in a couple of weeks time and with us suitably impressed by comeback single 'Something's Got To Give', it seemed like the ideal time to catch up with London shoegazers Deep Cut. Since releasing their debut My Thoughts Light Fires in 2009, which went on to become big in Japan, lead singer Emma Bailey fell pregnant for the second time - in a happy symmetry, she was pregnant during the band's first album recording process - which limited live roadtests, but they returned to play this year's Glastonbury and a couple of London shows since. We sat down to chat with songwriter and guitarist Mat Flint to find out what we can expect from their sophomore effort.
For our readers that might not have heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit how the band got together?
I had been playing with Death In Vegas, as their bass player, from the mid nineties to 2005, which was amazing. But towards the end I had really started to miss songwriting and doing my own thing. Before DIV, I had been the singer/songwriter for Revolver and while I didn't wish to start being a frontman again, I wanted to do my own songs. So I asked my brother Simon to help me put some demos together as he was really good with programming computers and drum machines and stuff. Plus most of the gigs and clubs we went to, we went to together, so we have really similar tastes and I knew he was musical.
We came up with some good songs, and so needed to find a singer as I didn't want to do it. We tried some people out, but none of them were right, and one day Emma [Bailey, Mat's wife] said she fancied having a go. It worked out well, she could write good lyrics and could come up with good melodies and had a great voice! So we finished those demos and put them up on MySpace. Robin from AC30 heard them and asked us to play at the AC30 night, so we had to get a band together pretty quickly. Si decided to play bass, we got Em's brother Pad in on second guitar and Ian on drums.
Why do you think your debut made an impression in Japan of all countries?
I don't really know. They do have incredibly good taste there! But I guess that the shoegaze thing is big there and DIV had a big following there, so it must have followed on from that. Thank goodness we did quite well there; we might not have been able to make this second album otherwise. It sold appallingly in the UK!
How different was your approach on this album compared to the first? Were there any particular mistakes you looked to rectify?
Not really any different, I think we have just got better at what we do. We never made any plans to do a particular type of record; the twelve songs on the new one are the twelve songs that we finished after the last album. We haven't picked and chosen, they're literally just the next bunch of songs we did. If you keep doing something, you are bound to get better at it.
How did the tracks come about? Was it more of a collaborative effort or is one person in the band the designated songwriter as it were?
I come up with the basic idea, either a chord progression or a bass line, or sometimes just a loop or a sample. Then me and Si stick it into the computer and mess about with it, try to develop it into a song. If that works, Emma then starts adding ideas, and we try to get to the point where we have a rough demo of it. Then, we either take that demo into the rehearsal studio to try to develop it as a band or we just record another version of it which could end up being the finished version, without us ever having played it live.
What challenges did Emma's pregnancy during recording present?
None really. She was expecting our first daughter during the recording of the first album and our second during this one! It affected us doing gigs, obviously, but it didn't affect songwriting or recording really. We did most of it at my flat anyway, so Em was at home whilst she was contributing.
Any particular influences or nods we can expect to hear on this album?
Loads. Off the top of my head: 90s hip hop, Kraftwerk, Neu, Big Star, the Kinks, New Order, early Verve, BJM and Dandy Warhols, Mowax, Band of Susans, Primal Scream, Sonic Youth, Husker Du/Sugar, The Strokes, Gary Numan, The Byrds.
Without a constant touring schedule, is it hard to stave off rustiness where the live arena is concerned?
In a word, yes. You only get better through doing more gigs. There is something about a gig that you can't replicate in a rehearsal. We will be doing more shows though, it's just difficult at the moment to do lots in a row.
What does the near future hold for Deep Cut after the album's release?
Some gigs, might do another single, me and Si are doing some remixes for other bands, and then start writing the next one.
Disorientation is out on September 5th on Club AC30 Records.