Hype can be a dangerous thing. However, sometimes it is as justified as it is deserved. San Francisco’s Deafheaven have created a large and loyal fan base in a short period of time thanks to a diverse and expansive sound. With a maiden Australian tour booked in for January, Killyourstereo.com sits down with frontman George Clarke.
G’day George. Kane from Kill Your Stereo. Thanks for taking the time for an interview today.
The pleasure is mine.
How are things? It has been a busy year for Deafheaven.
I’m well thanks. I am at home [now], just recovering from a little jet lag after a successful European tour. So, no complaints on this end.
The news we are incredibly excited about is the recently announced Australian tour. You have a lot of fans down here. What are your thoughts leading into these shows?
I’m extremely excited. Australia is a place I have wanted to go to for a while now, so it feels good that the time is close at hand. I think the experience will be positive for both fans, and us alike.
It’s a new country and a new audience. What is your current knowledge of Australia and its music specifically?
I know that you have terrifying insects (laughs) and a great music scene. I’m a big fan of Loss of Self, Ulcerate, Portal, Tame Impala, Psycroptic, Nick Cave…Quite a few bands.
You know your Aussie bands.
On a basic tourist level, what are you hoping to do in between shows on your first visit down here?
The usual, I’m sure. Hopefully we’ll check out the Sydney Opera House, hold a Koala, pose with a Kangaroo.
I really enjoyed watching the interview you did with Marcel in San Jose recently. What was an experience you had at a similar age that had an impact on you and made you want to pursue music?
Even when pursuing music wasn’t a priority, I’ve always been obsessed with it. I’ve always wanted to dig deeper into sounds I care about and know as much as I could. That developed at a young age through basic things like going to local shows, buying music magazines, and listening to new records.
From the outside looking in, it seems San Francisco is a good supporter of heavy music going right back to the Bay Area thrash heyday. What has your experience been like with being a band coming from San Fran?
It is a hotbed for heavy music that has a very devoted audience. There’s a dark mystique about this city and its community that has made it possible for bands like ourselves to thrive.
I don’t know if this is a personal interest, but how much do you get behind the Bay Area sports teams? I know you had the ‘Oakland Raiders’ silver and black vinyl press. 49ers were in the Super Bowl last year, Giants World Series champs in 2012. Your hometown teams are going well.
I’m not a crazed sports fan to be honest, but I do enjoy them. Our bass player Stephen [Clark] is the big football fan…and an extreme Raiders supporter in our camp. I think it is fun for the city to be enamored with its sports teams. As with everything though, it has its ups and downs.
Touring life is certainly an experience if nothing else. What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt on the road since being in Deafheaven?
Touring, above all else, teaches you to become patient and understanding with not only different situations, but [also] personalities that are encountered. The experience has made me much more well rounded and open-minded.
What’s life like for you now when you aren’t in Deafheaven? I saw another interview where you guys talked about your respective jobs in the past, I think Kerry was a wholefood store clerk and you were helping out at an old folks home for memory.
Yeah, there was a time when we worked those jobs. I feel incredibly fortunate that my life is not like that now, as I never really fit into the nine to five arena. At home, I mostly like to relax and enjoy the relationships I have here, as well as catch up on movies, books, writing, and other leisurely things.
What are the plans for 2014? Touring? Focusing on a follow-up to ‘Sunbather’?
Mostly touring. We are trying to cover as much ground as possible. Afterward, yes, we’ll probably start working on material for a new album. It’s too early to say right now though.
Fair enough. And, just some quick and easy ones to finish off with George…
Favourite album of 2013?
Honestly, too difficult to answer, but I will say that 2013 has been one of the best years for music in a long time.
Best gig of 2013?
Another difficult one. Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Brooklyn are cities that continue to impress me though. Truthfully, every tour we’ve done this year has been filled with amazing shows.
Best new musical discovery?
Maybe Rhye? I’m bad with favourites.
Essential items to take on tour?
Socks and underwear.
Favourite song to blare in the tour van?
Hmm, probably Weedeater – ‘Monkey Junction’. That song always puts me in a good mood.
Thanks for the interview George, really appreciate your time knowing you’ve just got back from tour. We’ll have to grab a beer in Melbourne.
Thank you Kane. See you then.
Read our review of ‘Sunbather’ here.
Deafheaven tour Australia this January. Tour dates and details here.