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Deer Park

Deer Park

Monday 9th August, 2010 5:24PM

2010 is shaping up to be a busy year for Deer Park. The band has been working on a full length album, which they're hoping to release this year along with another album that might seem a bit of a surprise. UTR caught up with the band to find out how they got together, what they're doing at the moment and where they are heading.

Can we just start with some background info: How long have you been playing as Deer Park?

We played our first show in October last year. And I guess we were mucking around in the garage for a few Months before that just trying to get it together.

What’s the current line-up?

Nick Walsh- Vocals, Casiotone, tapes.
Shannon Walsh- Synth, Samples/beats, trumpet, B.Vs.
Mark Brenndorfer- Drums

What other bands/projects have you been involved in?

Mark used to play in This Night Creeps, Nick and Shannon both used to play together in Death in Gaza, and Nick used to play in the Vacants. All three of us also play in Mild America which is Marks recording project/come live band.

What led to the formation of Deer Park?

I suppose initially the band was conceived as more of a recording project between myself (Nick) and Shannon. We had been working on music together and one day we thought it'd be fun to try making a song with just vocals, keys and a programmed beat. After experimenting with the idea of working with beats and loops for a while, we realized how much easier it was for us to work in this way. So we just holed ourselves away for about 6 months and made music and figured out how we we're gonna make it work. That was when Marky came on board. We jammed with him for a few Months before starting to play shows.

How is this band different to others that you’ve been involved in?

I guess the obvious distinction is musical (using computers etc..) The sound and the writing process is worlds apart from anything any of us has done before. When we started jamming together, we were all new to the instruments we were playing, which is what made the whole idea more exciting for us. There’s something liberating about throwing yourself in the deep end.

Did you begin the band with any clear ambitions about what you wanted to achieve?

Not really. As a recording project the whole thing developed pretty organically, almost by accident. I guess once we decided that we wanted to make it more than just a recording project our ambition became to figure out how best to translate our ideas into a live setting. We needed to make it as 'live' as possible, we wouldn't feel comfortable playing to a backing track, so the idea was to allow for the possibility of improvisation and to make it as engaging for us as possible.

What drew you to electronic music?

At first it was basically a means to an end. But as we started to figure things out we got more excited about the possibilities of making music in this way. We like the idea of being completely free to use any sound we want to make a song. Also around about the time we started making this music we were drawn to other new music coming out that seemed to coincide with what we were trying to do, which was really inspiring. In the course of a few months our tastes definitely changed quite a bit.

What have you been working on lately?

We have been chipping away at a full length album for the past few months.

What can you tell us about that album?

We will be releasing the album we have been working on hopefully by August at the latest. The album will be coming out through Mole Music. We recorded and produced the bulk of it ourselves over a week at a house in the Coromandel late last year and we recently went into a studio outside Hamilton called 'The Porch' to finish it off. We're also looking to release an instrumental hip hop E.P , and another Deer Park E.P before the years out, provided everything goes to plan.

How does the band go about writing material?

Songs can come from anywhere. It could be something that Nick wrote on the keyboard or it could stem from a single loop that we build upon, or a beat that Shannon's made. In a way we don't really have a song-writing process we just run with what feels good at the time. Once the initial idea is there it generally goes through a lot of changes before it's finished.

What are the major influences for the band, musical or otherwise?

I guess it's different for all of us. In terms of beats and loops a big infulence is listening to electronic music and hip-hop and trying to imitate the sounds that we hear, inadvertently we get it wrong but end up with something that we like and is more our own. Marky likes drummers who approach their instrument as well-rounded percussionists rather than strict drummers, or put it another way: drummers who explore textures and dynamics in a more musical way than most drummers do. In terms of singing and lyrics and that side of things, Nick listens to a lot of female singers and is pretty heavily inspired by certain authors. I think that's probably where the emotive side of the music comes from; Responding to an idea in a book or trying to portray the feeling you get when your reading a certain book but put into a different context.

What are you listening to at the moment?

The past few days Shannon's been listening to lots of Mr. Oizo. Nick has been listening to Billie Holiday and Beach House, and Marky has been listening to Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's "The Letting Go", and Dirty Three's "Ocean Songs". Other than that, in general we've been listening to a lot of stuff from a label called 'Brainfeeder', based in L.A. Namely Ras G, Samiyam, and Flying Lotus's new album which is pretty mind blowing.

What are Deer Park’s plans for the rest of 2010?

We plan to play lots of shows and record and release lots of music.

In your opinion, the state of music in NZ is…

I think we're only really qualified to answer about the state of Auckland music. The state of Auckland music seems scattered. There's heaps of bands, but no real "scene", and not enough venues to play at.

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