After a string of popular albums, years of heavy touring and doubtlessly hard partying, one …
George Clarke is getting his affairs back in order before he sees in the New Year the same way he’s seeing out 2018–with a helluva lot of touring.
The vocalist for the San Francisco rockers Deafheaven says he gets a little restless, the band definitely being more comfortable on the road. The experience of performing their latest album Ordinary Corrupt Human Love has been an enjoyable one, Clarke says, so taking the album to even more audiences around the world, Australia included, will make for another very busy year.
Last time Deafheaven played Australia in 2016 they put on a particularly immense performance at the Sydney Opera House. This time round, with a reputation for fantastic live performances, how can Deafheaven possibly top their last shows here? “You know what,” Clarke begins with a giggle, “this is gonna sound like bullshit because everyone always says they get better and better, but I promise you, it sounds ridiculous, but I really think we’ve become such a strong live band this year than ever before.
“The energy has increased greatly; I think we’ve really become our most confident selves and I think that’s really gonna show.
“As fun and as important and amazing as the Opera House show was, I think that this next one is gonna be pure energy and a lot of fun. I think it will be topped–don’t count us out!”
Clarke feels the success and reception of their album Ordinary Corrupt Human Love plays to some extent into the betterment of Deafheaven’s live performances. “The new album is a lot of fun to play live,” he says, “I’ve heard a number of people be like ‘These songs come alive in a live setting,’ and I tend to believe that also.
“It’s been cool because our songs have been so long, now we have enough albums, our set list is long and we have enough time to play songs from all the records. I think the new tracks fit in with the rest of everything – it’s a good time.”
But I think we’ve reached a point as a band where we do feel good about the choices that we make–we’re not flying blind as much as we used to be.
[ George Clarke ]
When Clarke says the tracks from Ordinary Corrupt Human Love fit in with Deafheaven’s four album discography, he means that each album ties into the next, each one a reaction to the previous one. “This record in particular, we really expanded on instrumental sections,” he says, “and it does have this more expansive, progressive feel to it New Bermuda , which was very urgent, very aggressive, in the live show we get to do both and it ends up complimenting one another.
In terms of the music, yes, it’s easy to see how there might be a domino effect between New Bermuda and Ordinary Corrupt Human Love. But what about the motional commitment, the long and short of being in a band and having to write and produce new music as a band? What’s the domino effect for Clarke there? “Invigoration,” Clarke says bluntly. “For me, anyway. I feel we were so much more attentive and in tune this time around.
“You know, New Bermuda, a lot of that record is a bulldozer and I think in its frenzy it can sound more confident than maybe it actually is. I think Ordinary Corrupt Human Love has more of a cool confidence to it.
“I feel like we allowed ourselves to do things we hadn’t done before, we were taking a lot of risks, and I think that was in part because we were taking the studio more seriously but also just enjoying ourselves more overall.
Ultimately, Deafheaven have given themselves a confidence to take more risks as they move forward with everything they do in future. “As far as where we go from here, it’s too early to say,” says Clarke, “But I think we’ve reached a point as a band where we do feel good about the choices that we make–we’re not flying blind as much as we used to be.
“A lot of the time we were guessing a whole lot and I feel like that’s lessened over time. It’s a much more enjoyable mental space to work n, and I do hope we can continue that in whatever direction we go.”
Being in a more comfortable space, Deafheaven have come full circle, and that sense of being at one with themselves and what they do will, Clarke says, be evident on the live stage. “I think people will see a much more dialled in, much more confident band than what they’ve seen before,” he says.
Catch Deafheaven at the following dates:
Fri 22 February // Perth Festival // Perth
Sun 24 February // Crowbar // Brisbane
Wed 27 February // Corner Hotel // Melbourne
Thu 28 February // Manning Bar // Sydney