great deceivers

ISSUE #45 / January 31, 2019

photo credit: Vanessa Valadez

CCS: Chicago Crowd Surfer
GD: Great Deceivers

CCS: For those that don't know, can you give a rundown on the members and bit of how you all got started?

GD: Two of us have been playing music together since we were about 14 years old. This project has been around in some form for about 10 years, although it sounds pretty different now than it did in 2008. Ben, Max (hi, that's me), and Russell all moved to Chicago from Florida. Shortly after that move, Seth (Options, Lifted Bells, Nature's Neighbor, a dozen other good projects) started playing with us. We'd first met him online in 2011 and then picked him up on the side of the road in Columbus, Ohio one time while on tour.

CCS: Your new record In Spirit dropped last week. Can you give us a rundown on the album and a little on the process of recording it?

GD: We've been writing the songs that wound up on this album for a good few years. It's the first full-length we've recorded in quite some time. I think that's because with the move across country and some line up changes, we were kind of waiting to get into a groove and for things to feel a bit more cemented in place. We released a couple of EPs prior to In Spirit and the batch of songs we were writing started to feel more cohesive, and like, they belonged together on a longer thing. We started recorded the album right after a tour with our friends Slow Mass in the summer of 2017. I think we sort of got our hands around the songs on that tour more than we had previously, and so we were more prepared to come back and hunker down and get it done. Seth Engel, multi-instrumentalist and recording engineer extraordinaire (and our drummer) recorded it at Pallet Sound, which is his studio in Bridgeport. We knocked out the instrumentals in pretty short order, and then I took a long time—a couple of weeks of being in and out of the studio at least—to finish the vocals. That's much longer than we've spent on any recording before but I think it needed to happen to get the record we wanted out of the process.  

CCS: Your last EP came out on Sooper Records but we noticed this one is not released by them. Have you separated from Sooper?

GD: I wouldn't say that we're "separated" from Sooper—those are some of our very dear friends and the reason we self-released this album is mainly related to timing. Sooper has some very cool stuff coming down the pipeline that I'm sure they'll be announcing soon, but because of them being tied up working out some details relating to all of that, and us wanting to get this album into the world on a certain timeline, a self-release for this made the most sense.

CCS: Knot Rock is the genre you listed on bandcamp. Can you fill us in on what that means to you?

GD: That's more of an in-joke for us because sometimes it's difficult time to describe the kind of music one's band makes with more specificity than "rock." We usually say the same kinds of bands for reference that a lot of other groups probably say, which isn't bad because bands that are referenced a lot as influences are referenced because they're good. I've always been made fun of by my bandmates for not really knowing how to talk about music and genres in general, and specifically our band. Not that it's difficult, I'm just bad at it. It's rock music. Knot.   

CCS: You've been around for nearly a decade now. How has the Chicago scene changed over the course of your career?

GD: Well, we've only been in Chicago and actively playing for probably four years. But we've always felt really welcome here, and like, we were really energized and motivated by the sheer amount of incredible art happening here. We had a great circle of friends and support system of bands and peers in Orlando (where myself, Russ, and Ben moved from) but we certainly felt a kinship in Chicago with a lot of the bands we've fallen into playing shows with and hanging out with. So, can't really speak to Chicago in any historic sense, but even in the short time we've been here it feels like the number of really good bands making really interesting music has grown.  

CCS: What’s your favorite venue, to play or see a show?

GD: This project has never played there, but The Hideout is a very special place. We hope to one day be honored enough to grace its stage.

CCS: Are there any Chicago acts out there you think are being overlooked?

GD: Some of our favorites are Imelda Marcos, Options (I know this is cheating because Options is Seth's band and he's our drummer, but it's true), Gentle Heat, The Knees, Marc Drake, Panelist, and Floatie. There are a lot!