London collective This Is The Deep have just released their debut EP, The Best Is Yet To Come. To categorise this collection of tracks as ‘psych’ would feel lazy, with the 7-piece transcending genre from the offset.
The Best Is Yet To Come opens with a gloomy intro, before ‘Simulator’ takes us to the kaleidoscopic pop realms of The Flaming Lips or MGMT. ‘Glass’ – a macabre rework of the Humpty-Dumpty story – has an eerie prog element to its delivery, and bottles the EP’s charm perfectly; tessellating dark themes between fun, melodic tunes.
This Is The Deep have already performed with some of art-rock’s finest and will no doubt be a sight to behold on stage, so grab tickets to their forthcoming show at London’s MOTH Club if you can – you won’t regret it.
First thing’s first: running a band with seven members must be logistically chaotic??
It can be – we’re helped by the fact we all live and work quite close to our studio/rehearsal room in Hackney Wick. When we started out 4 of us lived together in Leyton so that was quite easy!
The name This is the Deep came from a David Attenborough series, which other non-musical sources contribute to the band’s output?
One of the things we wanted this collective to do was bring together the art and music scenes we were part of in London. We set about doing this on a few fronts and they’ve all really contributed to what This Is The Deep has become. We’ve got artist members Alice Macdonald and Mark Connolly who create giant painted sets for us to perform in which are really stunning. Just being there makes you play differently and the ideas are important – they try and work out something that tells a story that feels relevant to the themes in the music. The first three we played in were different stages of Venice sinking into the ocean. Me and Hannah work on the artworks and posters together and they draw from our own practices as artists and again feed into the narratives in the songs and the ideas. A germ of an idea that starts out in music might develop into a visual idea which in turn will go back into the music. That fluidity is really exciting.
Each track on the new EP is so varied – not only between genres, but also eras – how many band members contribute to the songwriting process and what do you see as the common thread between T.I.T.D songs?
For this record the writing started with drums, bass and keys/vocals, so that’s me, Oscar, and Dave. We were living together at the time and would meet up and record bits and bobs for fun in their studio they’d set up – starting either with an instrumental or a more formed idea I would bring in. It was really playful and felt unrestricted in a nice way. After a while we had 7-8 songs, we realised we’d accidentally made a record and that’s when we thought we should make a band. We then brought in other players and instruments quite organically and they all added their own thing and the writing developed again. While every song is different they’re united in trying to create their own unique place or landscape.
Amongst the expansive psych elements of your sound, there are hooky pop melodies galore; which pop acts have supplied inspiration to the EP?
We think about pop in quite a loose sense – less like a genre and more of an approach – you might hear it in a sea shanty as much as a Britney song.
Individual pop acts is hard as I think we’re probably more inspired by pop songs – not necessarily what you’d call pop acts. There are classic pop-writers Lennon/McCartney, Bacharach, Goffin/King and acts like: ABBA, The Beach Boys, Scissor Sisters, Frank Ocean, Talking Heads.
Obviously the music world has just been paused for 14 months – how is the This is the Deep of today different from the band that went into lockdown in 2020?
There aren’t any obvious outward changes from that time. We’ve had a few run-ins with Covid but we’ve recorded most of ‘The Best Is Yet To Come (Part 2)’ already which we’re really excited about (the record, not getting Covid).
The EP’s title track completes the record on such a positive note. What do you have in mind when you tell us that the best is yet to come? Or is the ambiguity part of the fun?
In a general sense I think having different meanings available is important for all of the songs on the record. To me it’s that mystery that makes them interesting to perform, like there’s something to discover there. In answer to the question though the way I interpret ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’ is hopeful at its core but isn’t saying that everything is getting better. It’s about feeling that the situation today isn’t ‘the best’, and although you can’t say exactly what it will look like, and you know you might not be around to see it, hoping that one day something better will come along. There’s also a little joke as it’s the first EP and the last track.