Interview with N.W.O.B.H.M. band The Deep
One week ago today I covered the 2013 debut-demo from London's The Deep. You can check out that review right here (http://metalmark.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-deep-demo-2013.html) and up-front let's just call it like it is. Had I heard the 4-track demo before the cut-off date for my "Best of 2014" list it would have easily made it as it's about as good as you can get when you're talking about classic heavy metal! This (soon to be household name if the metal gods would just get up off their lazy butts and do something about it!!!!) N.W.O.B.H.M. act, which has ties to bands such as Deep Machine, Rogue Male, Angel Witch and Vardis, was kind enough to sit down and discuss the past, present and future and for that I give a hearty "Thanks" while I throw some devil horns up in the air as homage to what has proved to be one dead-serious kick-ass heavy metal outfit!
Andy-First things first. Tell us about The Deep would you please?
The Deep-Well, although it’s a new name, the roots of the band go back to 1982 when most of us were together in a band called Deep Machine. It was a great band. There was myself on vocals, Tony Harris and Paul W. Smith on guitars, Andy Wrighton on bass and Steve Kingsley on drums. I think we all felt it was the best band any of us had ever been in, and we felt that we really should have been signed up by a label. Thirty years later we decided to have a jam together and it was brilliant, so we decided to re-form. However, by now the name Deep Machine was being used by a different line-up, hence we adopted the name The Deep.
Unfortunately, two of the members; guitarist Tony Harris and bassist Andy Wrighton couldn’t continue with us. Andy was already heavily committed to Tokyo Blade and found working in two bands impractical. Sadly, Tony developed an ongoing physical illness which makes it hard for him to play guitar anymore – which is a terrible shame. Although that was very disappointing for us, we were very lucky to get back in touch with an old friend, guitarist Mick Feleppa. Then, after quite a search, we eventually found bassist Don Whiberley.
Andy-Wow, it sure sounds as if you've come a long way just to make it to this point! As hinted at though your band has ties to some of the greats, heavy metal and N.W.O.B.H.M bands alike! There is a lot of experience packed into The Deep. Just how do you keep it all contained?
The Deep-Yeah, we’ve all been around and played with some great musicians in other bands too. I was with Airrace for a while and also in another band with drummer Les Binks of Judas Priest. Steve was in Rogue Male after Deep Machine split up and was also in Vardis for a time. Curiously, both Deep Machine and The Deep historically have ties with members of Angel Witch. Kevin Heybourne was with Deep Machine just prior to our line up forming and our current band, The Deep, had Kevin Riddles on bass for a few months.
There’s no doubt that in terms of experience we’re very fortunate. However, more importantly, I think we are all very creative people and as a band we all gel. The personality mix has a great bearing on the effectiveness of a band and when things are in equilibrium, the creative processes flow. When we were looking to recruit new members our drummer, Steve Kingsley, was especially keen to find the right people as well as the right musicians. We’re all different personality types, but the balance is good and we all respect each other and listen to each other. I guess we’re all pretty grounded really.
Andy-I've just got to say that your 2013 demo is fantastic! How did that come about? What has been the reaction to it so far from fans and critics alike?
The Deep-Thank you, that’s very kind of you to say so. Well, we were keen to record quite early on because we already had the songs. Most of the stuff we’d been playing was mostly written by myself and Tony Harris in the eighties. We’d spent most of 2013 trying to get the line up completed and we’d got to the stage where we had Mick on board and we’d been working with a bassist by the name of Bob Allen. We’d been rehearsing for weeks and were getting ready for the demo when Bob decided to quit too.
By this point we just decided to go ahead with the recording and let Mick and Paul play the bass parts. It was actually a good friend of ours Terry Whiberley who suggested we try out his son Don, who was a bassist. Boy were we glad we did! First we jammed with him at a rehearsal and then threw him in at the deep end (no pun intended) by letting him record one of the tracks. He impressed the hell out of us so we asked him to join and he finished the demo with us.
We were all pleasantly surprised with the demo as an end-product. Things often sound good in the studio, but when you take them home and listen, you start to hear problems. This demo just seemed to sound pretty good from start to finish. The engineer, Steve Good, has had a lot of experience with rock bands and is into rock music. The recording studio is actually part of the rehearsal complex where we rehearse each week, so the engineer had heard us dozens of times and knew the sound we wanted before we even started recording. That obviously paid off for us. Plus the approach has to be right. If you treat it like a demo it’ll probably end up sounding like one. We treated it like an album and try to play well, and hopefully that shows.
Reception has been great, very positive from public and press alike. So we’re very happy with that. But it’s still early days and we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us yet.
Andy-Well, I'd argue that you're more then have way there if the EP is anything to go by! And speaking of which, some labels have shown interest in sighing you correct? Based on the strength of that EP alone I'd wager!
The Deep-That’s true, there are a number of labels showing interest, but we’re in no rush. Our focus at the moment is to promote ourselves and we believe the best way to do that is to gig. We also believe our strength is going to be in our live performances. Hopefully, from that we’ll develop a following. When the time is right we’ll decide how we’re gonna go about doing the album, either as part of a label, or independently.
Andy-Count me in then on your that following! I'm on board and ready to roll! Now, we all know that the studio has been kind to you (again, the 2013 demo is killer folks!), but it also sounds as if The Deep has already made a splash on the live scene. How has the reaction been? Are there some shows coming up that you'd like to plug?
The Deep-Actually, apart from a couple of low-key unannounced warm up gigs we’re just started to book them now. Don had to learn all the material and we’ve been tweaking song arrangements and also been writing new stuff too. We’ve got a few confirmed dates booked from May onwards. The biggest one so far is a metal festival, Metalwave 2, just outside London, which is really cool. A few of our NWOBHM friends are playing that one too, so that will be fun. I think the audience is going to expect a lot from us because back in 1982 we had a great reputation for live performances. I can promise you that we plan to deliver this time around too.
I also can’t wait to play in Europe again, that was brilliant last time around. We’re looking at playing one or two of the festivals there next year. Maybe we can get some dates arranged in the States next year too, fingers crossed. There are numerous bands we’re looking forward to playing with: Chariot, Midnight Messiah, Soldier, Monument, Weapon UK, House of X…just to name a few. It would be especially nice to do a gig or two with the current line up of Deep Machine, so audiences can hear all the songs from the eighties, the ones we play and the ones they play. I think fans would really appreciate that.
Andy-All of that sounds awesome and I wish you guys nothing but the best! How can our readers get in touch with you about purchasing the demo?
The Deep-The web site won’t be up and running for a few weeks yet, in the meantime they can email us: the(dot)deepnwobhm(at)btinternet(dot)com
Or drop us a line on our Facebook page:
Andy-Well, I'd just like to encourage all of our readers to check out the band's 4-track demo for themselves and, if you live on the other side of the pond, see The Deep live! I thank you once again for taking the time to talk with us and be sure to keep in touch!