Earlier this week my article on Deer Tick was published over at That Mag. The article featured several quotes from my interview with bassist Christopher Ryan. I wasn’t able to fit the entire interview into the article so I’ve decided to share it in it’s entirety below. Check out the article I wrote here!
1. Why did you choose “Negativity”, such a simple yet dark work, as the album title?
We had written a song called “Negativity” which was intended as the title track. It didn’t end up making the cut, though we kept the name Negativity because it felt appropriate to the work that we had made. It’s a pretty derek record. The same thing actually happened with Divine Providence—it was another title track that didn’t get on the record. The song was too long.
2. With being the band’s fifth full length album, do you guys feel like you are veterans at this point?
Definitely yes and definitely no. There are parts to this job that have become very chill, very casual after years of experience. But we’re still just kids in some ways, trying to figure this whole thing out. The recordings, the live shows—we’re always trying to be better.
3. What was it like working with Steve Berlin? Did you work with anyone else in making the album?
Steve Berlin is a beautiful human being; a pleasure to be around, smart and sweet and practical. It was a natural fit for us and didn’t feel like work at all. The results show on the record, we hope.
4. When and where was it recorded?
Type Foundry in February ‘12, Audible Alchemy in February and March of ‘13, in Portland, OR. Overdubs at Playground Sound in Nashville and Level One in Austin.
5. In listening to Negativity, each song sounds very personal and reflective. How does writing and making music help you cope?
Well, if you’re putting truth into a song you have to face that truth - and whatever feelings go with it - to be able to write about it. Hence the catharsis. That’s not why I write. The process of creation is fascinating. The catharsis is a nice side-effect.
6. What was the experience of doing a song with Vanessa Carlton like? How involved was she in the songwriting process?
Vanessa is not only one of my favorite persons in music, but one of my favorite persons ever. She is a joy and the world is brighter for her being in it. “In Our Time” was written before Vanessa was involved with it, though her presence necessitated the changing of some of the gender phrasing in the lyrics.
7. What pushes you to continue to make music?
It’s my vocation. I don’t have a choice. And I’m not any good at anything else.
8. The topic of moving more towards a mature, sober touring lifestyle has been common amongst recent interviews and articles. How was this change brought up to the band? How has it played out so far?
It’s mostly about sustainability. We want to be able to make music on our own terms, not limited by our record label or our parents or our bodies. I’m not saying we don’t indulge ourselves—there is also value in that, sure—but these days we do it smarter. We drink nicer wine and have a couple beers instead of a case. We still close down the bar every night though.
9. With being no strangers to playing cover songs, what attracts you guys to continue to play them?
All the hard work is already done—we just get to play awesome songs. And we are working musicians after all. Covers are a good exercise.
10. What has been your favorite song to cover so far? Least favorite?
My least favorite is “The Boy in the Bubble” by Paul Simon. I don’t think we can do it justice, though we keep trying. My favorite cover is the October 7th issue of the The New Yorker.
11. Will we ever see Deervana go on tour? Or release an album?
I heard that band broke up.
12. Where do you see yourself and Deer Tick a year from now?
Probably doing the same thing in the same clothes. Dennis might have a new Deer Tick shirt by then though.