- Posted on Mar 1st 2011 4:00PM by Brian Voerding
It seems like you all are on the road quite a bit these days. How do you maintain the pace?
We tour probably more than we're home. That's kind of the model we followed last year. This year is a bit different because we're going to start recording a new record in April, and our drummer Dennis [Ryan] is getting married this year, so more one-off shows and a couple tours. Mostly it's a little bit slower because we're concentrating to make sure we can make a really good record.
Touring can definitely wear on you. We're all in steady relationships and enjoy home life, but we are addicted to touring because we've been doing it all of our young adult lives so far. It's just been a part of our lives, and we can't go very long without playing music together. We really enjoy playing for people.
Focusing on touring means focusing on live performance. What goes into a live show?
Without a doubt it's an extension of our creativity as musicians. Music starts with the writing process and recording is a document of that. With performance, there's more opportunity and more room for improvisation and taking chances. The songs change pretty much every time you play them. We have no reservations about letting that happen. We also really like to entertain people. We just feel out the show so people will have a good time. [Playing live is] realizing that for us, personally, it's a big part of the identity of this band. It's one of our strongest suits as a band. We're very comfortalbe being on stage.
You guys are known for pulling out covers. What are your favorites?
We do a ton of different songs. Sam Cooke songs recently, it's been a staple to play 'La Bamba,' do a song by Chuck Berry, Hank Williams, Buddy Holly, the Replacements. They're songs we really like at the moment and we'll just pull it out and see if it works. There are even times where we have no rehearsal, and we'll just jump into it at the show and follow each other.
How far along is the new record?
The songs are all pretty much done, except some will be finished in the studio. We have a backlog of songs. We'll bring them all to the table and see which ones we want.
We have high hopes for this next record. It'll be our best record and hopefully that'll translate to people. We just want to keep getting better as a band and as writers. Whatever success comes of it, well, great. I think it's incidentally going to be a pretty accessible record. We started writing songs and we started to realize that we were writing a really catchy record with a lot of rock songs. It'll be a fun record.
Who's the primary songwriter?
Up until the last year, it's strictly been John writing songs. When he asked me to join the band, he asked me if I wanted to bring songs to the band. I'll have songs on the next record. Dennis has some songs he wants to bring. It's extended to everybody to bring what they can and pick the best songs. It'll be the greatest hits of what we've written in the past year.
Deer Tick was strictly DIY when it began. Is it still that way?
We definitely have people who work for us. Basically, what we do is concentrate on making the music as good as it can be. The business side is kind of a drag, but if it's necessary -- and it seems to be totally necessary if you want to have a sustainable band -- we're like Sam Cooke: we do our best to surround ourselves with people who know how we feel and know what we want. We've been fortunate to have people working for us who are great at what they do, and people work with us as a band. Sometimes it's hard to find people who actually want to work with a band. We have a great lawyer and great manager, a great booking agent, all these people who can get a ton of more money from other artists. They can work with other people who can bring them a lot more, but because we have such a great working relationship, they just want to look out for our best interests.
Is music life?
It's definitely the only thing I've ever wanted to do. That's the case for everybody in the band. It's something I've wanted to do as a kid and started doing when I was really young. In middle school and high school, I knew I wanted to tour and write songs and make music and subsist on touring. That came quicker than I expected -- all of us started touring [in different bands] in high school. It was the most fun thing to do. No adult supervision -- you get to play music every night and travel around the country.
This is all we do. This is it. It's a privilege.
Catch Deer Tick's SXSW Set on Saturday, March 19 at Lustre Pearl (97 Rainey St.) 1AM.
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