It’s not just Chicago’s geographic centrality that makes it the heart of America; it’s the melding of rural and metropolitan, the periphery with the core.
As a result, according to contemporary post-punk four-piece Deeper, the midwest music scene is very supportive and nurturing.
“It doesn’t feel like we’re out to get each other…. It feels a lot less competitive and like we’re supporting each other,” they told me over the phone this week.
Singer/guitarist Nic Gohl, guitarist Mike Clawson, drummer Shiraz Bhatti and bassist Drew McBride comprise Deeper, who have honed their sound over the years, playing and staying in “basements, lofts, and anywhere that would have them. Touring the demos and landing at a fully realized inflection point.”
It’s a method for dealing with their anxious tendencies, the nervous interplay of their guitars extending like tendrils around Gohl’s hollers.
“Living in a hectic city has a lot to do with anxiety. Music is a good way to release s--- and deal with it head on and let go of things,” the band said.
“We write a lot in the winter time when it’s cold and dark all the time,” they added.
It’s not all necessarily personal, however; a lot of their anxiety comes from the sociopolitical environment with which we’re all dealing.
“A lot of people don’t really think about what they’re saying. We were writing the record around the big political divide in 2016…. We finished up the record around that time. You talk to so many different people, and there’s just such a complete divide and everybody has such a distorted image about what they see in the rest of the world. It [writing the album] helped us release from that,” the band said.
Deeper released their self-titled debut album in May of last year, drawing comparisons to early Deerhunter and proto- and post-punk bands a la Television, but with a unique perspective on the modern American experience.
“We’ve seen a lot of unemployment. You’re in this big city and a cultural hub of the midwest, and you go 20 miles outside of it and you’re in rural America. It shows you both sides of it…. It’s Trump country, and I think a lot of us came from towns that are predominantly Republican, so it’s been crazy to see the downfall of a lot of those communities that we came from over the last 10 years,” Deeper told me.
If Chicago is America’s anchor, then “Pavement” serves that function for Deeper’s new album, anchoring what comes after in what came before.