When You Indie was offered the opportunity to touch base via e-mail with George Clarke, the vocalist of Deafheaven, we were incredibly stoked. When they released their highly buzzed about demo, Deafheaven captured our attention, as well as the attention of Deathwish Inc., one of the best and most widely recognized labels in heavy music. We hoped that the interview would shed some light on the aggressive quintet, their aspirations and motivations, and their latest recorded input, Roads To Judah, which is a dark and compelling enigma on the modern metal landscape and one of our favorite records to come out this year. Unfortunately, it didn’t…
You Indie: Deafheaven started as a project between you and Kerry, right? How serious were you about being heard/recognized on a national level?
George Clarke: Yes, initially, we started the project just as a means to be creative. We weren’t very serious about being heard to that extent, but when things started to pick up, we became more intent on the release of that material.
You Indie: When did you add the other three guys to the band? Had you worked with them before?
George Clarke: We added Derek, Trevor, and Nick once we started getting approached to play shows. We had not worked with them before, but had known a couple for awhile at that point.
You Indie: How do you describe Deafheaven’s sound and what about its presentation allows you to communicate the ideas you’re delivering? Do you feel a stronger kinship with metal bands or post-punk bands?
George Clarke: We have a variety of influences that make up our sound, but I’m not sure I can attribute it to one genre. Generally, I don’t like to. Our only focus is to create intense, emotional music. I feel a stronger kinship with aggressive bands, but we play with and enjoy much more than that.
You Indie: Are you guys from San Francisco? How has the music scene in the Northwest shaped or influenced what you’re doing?
George Clarke: Yes, we are and yes, to a certain degree, it has.
You Indie: You guys hooked up with Deathwish Inc for a limited release of the demo, as well as for the release of Roads To Judah. What were your feelings about working with such a prestigious/well-recognized label?
George Clarke: Deathwish did a limited release of two songs off of the demo for a free, promotional EP and Roads to Judah is our first LP. They’re great to work with and have been more than helpful with everything we’ve looked to accomplish, so far.
You Indie: How much time transpired between the release of the demo and RTJ? Was that material you had in the bag before Deathwish came calling or was it written after that arrangement was in place?
George Clarke: It was a solid year between both releases and by the time Deathwish had contacted us, Roads to Judah was about halfway written.
You Indie: Have you begun writing or tracking material new releases or are you concentrating on touring in support of the Roads To Judah?
George Clarke: Right now, our only focus is to tour in support of Roads to Judah.
You Indie: Has the current run with KEN Mode been more DIY venues or clubs? Do you prefer one type of venue over another? Have there been any standout performances this tour?
George Clarke: The venues have been about half and half. Generally, we feel more comfortable playing intimate, DIY venues, but both offer something nice. We’re very early in the tour, but so far, Portland and Los Angeles have been the two standout shows.
You Indie: What are your future plans for the band? What are your loftiest aspirations for Deafheaven?
George Clarke: Our plan right now is just to tour on Roads to Judah as much as we can and chances are, we’ll write a little new material here and there, as the year progresses.