Saturday 9 March 2013

Interview with I Saw The Deep

Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing Darrell La Clé – the main genius behind ace Sludge/Stoner Out There Metallers – I SAW THE DEEP – which started as a solo project for Darrell but is now a fully fledging band.

I have been a fan of Darrell's for a while so I decided to get an interview with him. As I am a massive fan of – Astronavigation – I Saw The Deep's superb début album which I originally reviewed back in March 2012.

Q1 – Hi Darrell, Thanks for doing this. How are things with you guys Today.

Hey Steve, you're most welcome. I'm doing great and so are the guys. Happy to be part of your blog.

Q2 – Your main current project at the moment is I Saw The Deep. Can you give our brief viewers a history of how that came about.

A couple of years ago I kind of consciously steered myself into a period in which I had no band nor project, not knowing for sure what I was going to do next, creatively. So with a clean sleight I took the opportunity to start writing without the confines of compromise or much outside influence. I think I wanted to write some tenacious stuff only a select few people would like, and most of my friends would not understand or let's say 'agree' with. In the while I did jam with some cool people, still not knowing for sure if this would work as a real band, which also brought some new inspiration to the table even though I ended up doing the record in solo mode.

Q3 – How would you describe your sound.

People have been describing it as 'Alice in chains meets Mastodon with the psychedelic sensibilities of Pink Floyd', but also things like 'Alternative Stoner', 'Post-prog' to 'Caribbean Sci-fi rock' and everything in between. I think it's cool that the interpretations are so diverse. Personally, genre tags confuse me, so I'd call it plainly 'Heavy music'. Still in search of sound.

Q4 – Which bands and artists influence you directly as a musician.

All the classics I grew up with like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Doors, early Metallica and Megadeth. Tool, The Tea Party, Down, White Zombie, Deftones and dark grungy stuff like Alice in Chains. Those are all imprinted in my brain. Later on stuff like The Sword, Mastodon and Them Crooked Vultures emerged. I also love some of Robert Plant's projects, folk guitar and obscure world music. And books, all kinds but mostly sci-fi. H.G. Wells, Asimov, too many to name.

Q5 – How did you get involved with music. Was it something you have been doing from an early age. Or something that developed later in life.

I picked up the bass when I was 11 years old, mostly because I wanted to be in the band with my older cousins and we wanted to be Metallica. Then at 15 I wanted to write my own songs and picked up the electric guitar, some drums and later on vocals. I basically still want to try out every single instrument out there, specially if it has strings on it. Used to be very good at school before I discovered music. It's been quite a ride ever since!

Q6 – What people might not know you used to be the the bass player for one of my fave South American Sludge Metal bands – Cultura Tres – How did that came about

Yeah, back in 2008 my previous band ended and I became very good friends with Cultura Tres. They needed a bassist to fill in for some shows and because of the good vibe, a mutual interest in music and similar cultural background, we got together without them actually knowing I was originally a bassist. So you can imagine at the rehearsals everyone was pleasantly surprised, it worked out even better than anticipated. I then recorded and toured with them for a while.

Q7 – Why did you leave. Are you still on good terms with them. As they are one of the nicest and friendliest bands I have dealt with since doing Sludgelord.

The itch to write and express my own vision became too overwhelming. I've been composing my whole life, mostly as a main songwriter. It's all I've ever known and in my opinion there simply wasn't room for that within the band. Their creative set up was already working perfectly and I thought that formula should be left intact. My stay with them was short, but they were super supportive of my decision to leave. I'm still very good mates with them as they are some of the finest gentlemen I've met, even though we don't see each other as often as we would like to.

Q8 – Was that was the main reason you started I Saw The Deep. Was it something to throw your creative talents into.

The seeds for I Saw The Deep had already been planted, although it had no name or expectations back then. But I definitely needed indulge myself into being selfishly creative all the time!

Q9 – Your début album – Astronavigation – received some acclaim with the Stoner Rock scene. You pleased with the responses so far.

I'm very pleased to have been so warmly received by the Stoner Rock community. Because of your very own blog -via recommendation of my friends in Cultura Tres- we got catapulted into the stoner crowd, which is something I'm very thankful for. The record is so dense with influences I honestly didn't know in which direction it was going to take off, if at all.

Q10 – And now your a fully fledged live band. Which is cool from starting from a solo project. I know you have performed a few live dates. How has that been going. You been getting a good response

Playing live again with a full band is simply invigorating. We've played short of a dozen shows since we went live and the dates have been awesome so far and getting better each time.

Q11 – Where and how did you meet new members - Brian (Bass) and Yuheng (Drums, Electronica)

I met Yuheng via a mutual friend who's a producer who recommend him and showed me a clip on youtube while at a party. I was very impressed so I called him the next day. He knew Brian from way back so he then invited him. It took a while before the stars aligned for us to be able to commit as a band, but here we are.

Q12 – Did you all have a natural chemistry which clicked straight away or did it take many months of practice until you got the right vibe for you to perform live.

We all have very different musical backgrounds, but I Saw The Deep's music creates this meeting point where it all comes together somehow. The three of us did jam and try out some time before we got together to be a real band, but that was more a matter of timing and circumstance than anything else. Once together in the rehearsal room, there was an immense natural chemistry which allowed us to go on stage after only like three rehearsal sessions. These are superb musicians and excellent company.

Q13 – Congrats on releasing your excellent début album on CD. Bet your really pleased with that. Thanks for my copy. Sounds even better on CD..

Thanks dude, much appreciated. The CD pressing all happened independently, so it took quite some time to materialize. We have our good friend Joe to thank for this, he's being an octopus with a dozen tentacles behind the scene helping us out. It's a blessing to have friends like that in these times, otherwise none of this would be happening at all, or at a way slower pace.

Q14 – Do you have any plans to write and record new material with this new line up. Or is it too early to comment on that.

The writing has already commenced, even if only in very bits and pieces. The idea is to record new material in the future with this organic three piece line-up and make a record with an even more organic band vibe. I can't say as of yet when exactly this is gonna happen, but it's really exciting to look forward to because in my opinion it can only get better with these guys in the ranks.

Q15 – Was it an easy album to record for. You have included a whole range of genres. Was it easy or hard to put them altogether.

The actual performing and putting it all together part was relatively easy I'd say, but everything that happened one level further down behind the scenes was not easy at all, from a purely personal and emotional perspective. It was a very turbulent period in my life so it took enormous efforts, improvising skills and perseverance to make it all happen.

Q16 – Are you happy with the final result or would you change certain aspects of it.

To build on the previous statement, I probably could have made two records in that amount of time, but the disorientation theme reflects heavily on the album so I'm very happy with how it turned out to be. It's genuine that way, a snapshot of a moment. Hindsight being 20/20, of course there's some things I could have done better or differently, but I think I'll take those lessons with me to make an even better next record.

Q17 - Is there a scene for bands like yourself to perform in your home town on a regular basis. Or do you have to travel further afield to perform on a regular basis.

We're still trying to find out where we fit in, and who our crowd is. Our focus right now is to try to play further abroad, which strange enough seems easier to accomplish. But it all depends on where you're standing. As a band consisting of members coming from a mixed background, from the Caribbean islands to Holland, we can easily move from station to station without necessarily waving the flag for a particular local scene. It comes with the identity crisis of colonized regions I guess. We try to use that to our advantage so we all equally represent our own individual backgrounds. In the end we want what all bands want, just to play live and be heard.

Q18 – What are your favourite bands around at the moment. Do you listen to modern day rock/metal or do you just listen to the classic era of Stoner/Sludge/Doom/Post-Rock/Post-Metal.

I've recently discovered Russian Circles, an amazing instrumental post-metal band and I'm also into the likes of Baroness, Them Crooked Vultures, High On Fire and such. Apart from that I rarely listen to anything new -in the heavy genre- for better or for worse. I tend to listen to a lot of obscure world music, musicians from the Middle East, Caribbean, folk guitar players and delta blues. When I write I don't listen to heavy music at all, depending on what you call heavy anyways. Some of these artists play the heaviest, darkest riffs I've ever heard in my life.

Q19 – What are your views of blogs featuring and reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines?

Without you guys independent bands like us would have far more difficulty reaching potential listeners out there. Mainstream magazines are -selectively- also a great tool for exposure, but sadly ofttimes the focus is more on the hype and marketing than the actual music itself, thus falling into repetition. The great thing about the blogs is that they're more invested in plainly spreading music out there, the main criteria being the quality of the music, not sales, charts or popularity. I can imagine a magazine needs to feature mainly artists who have considerable popularity already, otherwise they wouldn't sell. Some artists see the blogs as a stepping stone and some as main means to travel underground. I see it as both, with the philosophy of 'as above so below'. I say bands can be promoted anywhere as long as the medium allows them to maintain their integrity. But then again heavy music has always been an outsider, and so it should stay, otherwise it wouldn't be interesting anymore.

Q20 – Do you have any future plans for the upcoming 12 months or so. Anything we should be excited.

Yes. But I can't confirm anything specific at this moment. We've been planning some international shows in interesting places and expose ourselves as much as possible, anywhere we can. It's all about the live shows these coming months, we want to be heard out there and there's much more to be reaped from the release of 'Astronavigation'.

Q21 – If you could provide any advice to people wanting to start a band, what would it be.

Go all the way. Prepare to be broke all the time and frowned upon by family and friends alike. For life.

Q22 - Finally, Do you have anything to say your fans

Thanks for acknowledging our existence. See you soon out there!

Well Darrell thanks for doing this. Really appreciate it. I hope to see you guys play live in the UK one day. As you guys would go down a fucking storm.

All the best. Steve aka Sludgelord.

We're trying to get a foot into the UK, that's definitely in the works. Thanks for the opportunity, Steve.

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