Athens, Georgia’s Deep State have been flying under the radar making some of the best, pure-bent rock joy heard in a generation in their crook neck portion of the east coast. Power, volume, transition, and then suddenly, they’re here: one of your new favorite bands, wearing out the motor on your turntable.
Friends from bands, college, restaurant jobs Deep State knows there’s a vapor trail of goodness that’s been spread across the planet, so there’s the challenge. Follow it. Do it. The band plans to burn the wheels off the van with the release of Thought Garden, which was released in April via Friendship Fever.
Ghettoblaster caught up with singer/guitarist Taylor Chmura to discuss the pillars of the Athens music community, recording live, and his loftiest goals for the band.
Athens has a particularly strong musical history. What are your favorite parts of that? Is there any Athens music lore that you love?
There is so much from the past to be inspired by. Many of the people responsible for putting the city on the map are still pillars of the community. The present variety is exciting also. So many different avenues to go down. There are great shows every night! I lived in a house that my co-worker lived in back in the ’80s. He told me his old band used to live/practice there. Black Flag came and stayed on the floor. No big deal.
What were you hoping to accomplish with Thought Garden? As you were writing it was there a particular message, theme or feeling you were hoping would come through in the end?
Low-rent introspection filtered through high fidelity recording mechanisms. Personal moral decay seems to be a theme we return to constantly. We were hoping the album could be seen as an invitation to a garden of ideas.
One of the themes seems to be self-resolution. Are people always a work in progress or is there a point where you have to say “this is as good as it gets?”
Our argument is that your mind is a garden. It requires maintenance to remain healthy.
Did you always expect that you’d record the album live or was that Drew Vandenberg’s idea?
We went in knowing that we were going to record live and as quickly as possible. We tracked the songs over the course of two days. Drew was more than willing to work at a breakneck speed. He knew what we were up to the second we started playing.
Were you familiar with him before you began working together?
Ryan is good friends with him and has been for a while. They had worked on other recording projects together before we did this album. Drew’s reputation in town is well-known though. He makes amazing albums. He is a wizard. I’m proud to be his friend now.
What are your proudest moments on the record? Is there anything you would have done differently?
There are so many things we could have done differently…but I’m proud that you get us at one particular moment in time as opposed to stretched out over the course of a few months. It’s exactly who we are in a room together. We have no business being a rock band if we can’t play 11 songs well in a couple of days.
Ryan has a Master’s in guitar performance right? Is there an academic approach or music theory that leaches in to your compositions? Or, do you write based on feel?
He does. He certainly has a unique approach to his instrument. We all have an effect on the songs in our own ways. I come to practice with a stone cube with some words etched into it. Smokey, Michael, and Ryan turn it into a wheel. I suppose both of those options apply. We try not to think too much.
How did Friendship Fever/Chris Watson discover you and what has the label done to elevate or support the band?
Chris and Sabrina Watson of FF found our Bandcamp page, asked us what our plans were, and then chose to sign us. It was like a dream playing out in real life. They are the sweetest, most hard-working people we’ve encountered as a band and we are so honored to be a part of their grand vision. Long live Friendship Fever.
What are your loftiest goals for the band?
We would love to keep doing this as long as we can. We just want people to hear our music. More albums more albums more albums. Maybe it’ll be our only job one day…
(Visit Deep State here:
Catch them live here: