Thursday, April 08, 2004

Deerpark

>How did Deerpark come together?

Kamran and I were friends from childhood. About a year and a half ago we moved to Leeds and immediately after leaving our new home to explore the city we heard the solitary flute and banjo playing of Fiona and Harry drifting down from their high bedroom windows. Having found their doors we quickly became good friends with them.

A few days later having stumbled uninvited upon a gathering of musicians during a long drunken night together we met Andy and Seth and we slowly gathered that they played drums and double-bass although not, as of yet, together. That night we also saw a girl dancing enthusiastically to a brash popular song. We were surprised to hear Seth inform us that he had once seen her play The Snow on violin and it had moved him to tears. We have since learnt that her name is Rachel. Struck by the synchronicity of it all we immediately invited them all down to our basement to play music together. Convincing them to do so was the only difficulty in a totally natural development. Since then we have had the pleasure of being joined by legends of this postcode Andrew Staveley on trumpet and Mark Simms on glockenspiel.

This account is accurate and completely unromanticised.

>Please introduce yourself and your associates, what qualities do you each bring to the band, musically and otherwise.

My name is Jonathan and, along with Kamran, I bring the songs to the band in their barest form. I suppose, put simply, Harry, Fiona and Rachel dress them in appropriate clothes and, if the occasion demands, apply make-up. Then Seth and Andy usually ply them with drinks and force them to dance, or at least move in a purposeful and dignified manner.

>What inspires you, musically and lyrically?

Lots of the images in my lyrics are from dreams I’ve had. When I write a song I guess I’m trying to realize the world of dreams. Making something tangible that won’t fade into a vague feeling which you struggle to remember and describe to a bemused friend. What poets like Rainer Maria Rilke manage to convey convince me that it’s worth persevering. As for Kamran I’m not sure. Possibly ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson.

>On a Deerpark curated festival bill, who else would play?

Ali Farka Toure, Tom Waits, Yann Tiersen and a reformed Slint.

>What motivates you to record and gig?

My motivation to record is described above. Doing gigs is something I disliked at first but am developing a habit for. The rush of adrenalin caused by the excitement and fear of performing in front of people is quite addictive.

>If the musical world was ideal, it would…

..not be littered with people trying to make money.

>Why should people buy ‘And it Made Her Look Spidery’?

Because at the moment it is unlikely a friend will have a copy to burn for you.

>What do you consider your best achievements in music?

To gather together eight or nine wonderful people who all have something distinctive and complementary to give to the band. And to then play roughly in time and in tune with them.

>What more would you like to achieve with your music?

I really believe we have not achieved a fraction of what we are capable of. I want us to continue to move towards being able to create moments of true intimacy as well as moments of violent passion. To develop those two extremes. Seeing The Dirty Three live was inspirational but also a little intimidating for their ability to do this.

>If you weren't in a band just what would you do with your evenings?

Walk the streets harassing people carrying instruments.

>What are your future plans for gigs and recordings?

We want to become a more dynamic live band and play in increasingly distant and exotic locations. There’s mention of a possible gig in Leicester. We also want to save enough money to pay for the recording of another batch of songs. I personally want the next record to be called, ’what we lost at bretton woods’ and for it to capture moments of magic which keep drifting off whenever we mess around spontaneously. I don’t think ‘it made her look spidery’ really did this. There has been a suggestion of us spending a week together away from things that remind us of our every day lives. Maybe on a houseboat or in a cottage in a forest in the Lakes. Not that we are obsessed with Mark Twain or The Brothers Grimm.

>What, with regards the UK music scene, upsets you?

That so few people making music have the confidence or inclination to be distinctive and free from the current trend. I think there would be a lot more interesting music being made in this country if there wasn’t such a cult of celebrity.

>What do you think of the Leeds music scene at present?

Within the first few weeks of moving here we had seen McWatt, who are a fantastic duo featuring flute, double-bass and accordion, play in somebody’s front room and also seen the first performance by Bosco, who have since, sadly, disbanded so we were very excited. We are now in danger of starting to take the number of original bands here for granted.

>Please name your 6 discs for a Desert Island?

The Dirty Three – ‘Whatever You Love You Are’, Yann Tiersen – ‘Amelie’, Slint – ‘Spiderland’, Bonnie Prince Billie – ‘I See A Darkness’, Bob Dylan – ‘Desire’ and a good collection of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

>3 Books for a desert island?

Steppenwolfe by Hermann Hesse, The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro and The Collected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke.

>1 Luxury Item for a Desert Island?

A piano.

>Any other words of wisdom?

What did Mark Twain write? 'He had only one vanity, he thought he could give advice better than any other person.' Come to think of it, I like the fact that the first deerpark interview is for something called Vanity Project. I find it funny.

www.deerparkmusic.com

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