CMJ 2009 Interview: Deleted Scenes

Written By:

Gareth Jones

21st October 2009
At 12:47 GMT

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An endeavour that all started at the urinals of a detention centre ten years ago has now turned something that we can truly look forward to witnessing at CMJ. Deleted Scenes have over ten years playing experience together, yet it's only recently, with this wave of folk love that the Washington collective who dabble in the realm of alternative indie folk, truly start to shine. 

Deleted Scenes are another band that we hadn't heard much from pre-CMJ, however, after speaking with Matt from the band (one of the original members who attended the urinal gathering) we can tell you that after this marvellous week in NYC, we'll be humming the Deleted Scene tunes for some time to come. 

SG: Can you tell us a about Deleted Scene's background? Such as how you became a band, your sound and what material you're currently touring etc... 

Matt: Well, the four of us actually knew each other for some time. Myself (bass), Dan (vocals/guitar) and Brian (drums) go all the way back to high school where we played in a few terrible bands together. At the time, we didn't know it was terrible, but we did realise we liked playing in bands and it sort of started becoming a way of life for all of us. In college, we went our separate ways, but I did briefly start a band called Fell Off the Face of the Earth with Dan and our good friend Dominic Campanaro. We actually never played a show. It was just a "we're home for the summer, so let's do a recording project together." That was the first record I was proud of, and that really was sort of a big deal for me. After college we tried to start of Fell Off the Face of the Earth for real, but stuff sort of just fizzled quickly with that. It was tough to get everyone in the band on the same page.

Then a few months later in 2005, after really doing nothing musically and not being able to find a job and being really depressed, Dan showed me some songs he'd been working on independently. I started bringing over my bass and helping him structure and arrange stuff, and soon enough we called upon Brian to just get in a room and play with drums. At the time, he was in an active touring band, but maybe six months after we started playing, his other band broke up, and Deleted Scenes started getting onto good bills in DC consistently. We soon brought on Scheffey (guitars), someone we all knew for years from high school friends' bands, to round out the sound. Hundreds of shows and four years later, here we are. Crazy how time flies.  

Our sound is sort of tough to pin down. We kind of chose to stand by a "never repeat yourself" rule early on. Literally meaning, don't write a song that sounds like one you already have. I think in the long run, that has had a good effect. In the short run, it makes it tougher to get people to latch on. But we've been playing long enough now, where people in DC who have seen us a million times sort of appreciate our schizophrenic stylistic tendencies. With newer stuff we're writing, we do feel like it's sort of describing a sound we call Fu-gaze. That is, it shares similar rumbling and aggressiveness of Fugazi and other Dischord/Desoto bands of yore, but also contains sort of a poppy atmospheric shoegazey vibe more suited to Dan's vocal delivery. That's not to say the stuff we're writing now is a ton more streamlined stylistically, but it's at least somewhat more describable in few words.

SG: You have a couple of records out for sale so far, both of which have awesome artwork, who designed these for you and where did the ideas come from?

Matt: Our good friend Oz Cameron designed the EP cover for us. Oz is a great friend and one the most all-around kick ass people we've ever met. He was attending the Corchoran College of Art in DC at that time. We had sort of just brainstormed with him on having the cover describe something uncomfortable, but humorous which is what the songs expressed, and Oz came up with the tupe sketch and we immediately loved the image, despite laughing hysterically when we first saw it. Unfortunately, Oz was out of commission working on other stuff around the time of Birdseed Shirt. Dan actually did nearly everything for that. He found this random picture online of kids jumping off of a relatively low bridge into the water below. Dan edited the frame of the picture such that you can't tell how far down the water actually is. So it's a bunch of kids looking like they're having a blast jumping off a bridge, but they very well may be taking a plunge to their collective death. (We sort of all gravitate towards a dark and exaggeratedly sarcastic humour in this band). He decided to use a number of different fabrics as the medium of recreating the image, which we all thought was a great idea. Our other friend Dean Raofi at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn helped get all the graphic files made and helped with a number of technical aspects, but yeah, the credit goes to Dan on that one.  

SG: There's quite a few of your videos floating around the internet, such as an acoustic set on the metro. Where do you get the inspiration to do such videos and do you have any more planned?

Matt: Well, we actually don't have that many videos. We'd like to more, and actually do plan to do a couple in the coming months now that we have a couple people offering to do them for free. The Metro video is really the only one we've gone out and "done." In that case, Dan just got with our friend Ryan Wakeman (videographer/DC DIY houseshow king) and said "hey, let's shoot a video of me playing "One Long Country Song" on the Metro and see if we get kicked out." Other stuff is either just live recording, or "in a room having band practice" live recording like what does, or just random live stuff like the "Acoustic Ithaca on H St., NE" video.  

SG: Will you be visiting anything from the film side of the festival?

Matt: We haven't done a lot of research on what's going on there, but we do plan to stop by and use our CMJ badges to see some good free films.

SG: I understand that you're playing more then one night at CMJ this year, can you tell us a little more about the evenings? Any good supports etc.... 

Matt: Yeah, both really cool shows. On Tues at Cameo, we're playing with up-and-coming DC band True Womanhood who are really excellent. Kind of a dark Sonic Youth sound with really cool percussive sounds. I'm also interested to see the Mon Khmer, Naked Hearts and Amanaguchi. That show is being put on by this booking/promotions group called Popgun Booking who have been doing a lot of great stuff around NYC and now more so nationally over the past year. Thurs at Union Hall, I'm really excited to see ArpLine and Unicycle Loves You. That show is being put on by blogger/constant showgoer Jonny Leather....I believe it's co-hosted by The Music Slut.

SG: Name your favourite and least favourite things about NYC?

Matt: We love the food, the widely available free shows, the atmosphere.....we hate the parking tickets and the BQE East at the Hamilton Ave exit (Exit 26) that is ALWAYS blocked.

SG: What do you like to do with your time in New York while not performing? 

Matt: Go to shows, get free pizza at Alligator lounge, hang out with people, watch movies and buy 22 oz bottles of alcohol.....that doesn't sound like a particularly good use of time in NYC does it? But yeah, that's basically what we do. 

SG: What's next for Deleted Scenes.. any plans down the road?

Matt:  We're going to do some smaller tours over the next few months, but we're mainly writing and demo-ing for our next record. We hope that can be ready sometime next year. Once that's out, we'll tour extensively off of it. Then we'll repeat that cycle all over again hopefully.

Deleted Scenes - 'Fake IDs'

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