Deep Pockets play thoughtful, distorted, melodic, frustrated music. Heavy-but-jangly distorted guitar and a swirling rhythm section hover around impassioned, assured vocals, all the instruments and vocals holding level then exploding into distortion at the drop of a hat. The music that Deep Pockets plays channels their influences – Silkworm and other 1990s midwestern post-hardcore – and makes it new again, relocating this distinctive sound to Deep Pockets’ personal territory– the outer boroughs of New York City.
Naturally, when we caught up with Deep Pockets’ Matthew Brennan to discuss his prominent influence before the band releases their You Feel Shame LP on September 24 via Iron Pier, he chose to discuss Silkworm’s Lifestyle. This is what he said about it.
What is your favorite album?
Lifestyle by the band Silkworm.
Do you remember when you received or purchased the album?
I met a man named Brian who had been involved in a lot of the local Long Island hardcore bands that I grew up listening to. I was a bit of a fanboy talking to him at first, but we became friends. One night, I think he invited me over to his house to talk about the New York Mets. This was about ten years ago. While we were hanging, we were riffing about bands. The one band he kept going back to as something to check out was Silkworm. I had heard the name a few times. He played me Lifestyle. He also showed me a great video of Michael Dahlquist their drummer doing an a capella version of their song “Treat the New Guy Right” by himself. The next day I spent about a hundred bucks at the Tower Records I worked at on all of their albums. After I listened to each one I would call Brian to talk about it. Tim from Silkworm recently wrote a little thing about seeing Neil Young live. He said, “That stuff is embedded in me. So much of my own feelings and thoughts are in that music.” I could easily see myself saying that about Silkworm. I’ve lived with this band. Specific preferences develop and change, and I could tell you similar “had to go get everything this band has done” stories about other bands and groups I know by heart, but Brian has essentially become family to me. He played me this record, so he’s to blame.
What is your favorite song on the album?
It’s odd to pick just one out, as much as it’s odd to pick out just one album. Lately, if I hear the song “Dead Air” I have to listen to it a few times in a row before I can move on with what I’m doing.
What is it about the song that resonates with you?
There’s a line in it, “I’ll eat anything that’s cooked,” and Tim Midgett sings “cooked” with such a short snarl to it that just grabs me. Musically it’s got a pretty good vibe of what I suppose you could call a standard Silkworm song from that era is. The beat drives, eventually the guitar rips, something slightly off happens on piano, and then it’s over. The vocal delivery that is placed on top is just something else to me entirely. It seems so simple, but I’ve tried to sing it on my own hundreds of times and failed. I get to that “cooked” line and sound like I’m performing a fourteen year old’s version of David Lee Roth.
Have you ever covered a song from the album?
Not from this album, no, but we did cover “Wet Firecracker” off of Firewater on a single we did for Art of the Underground records last summer. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had recording vocals for sure. I try to trick people into letting me sing Silkworm covers with them all of the time. I have not succeeded with anything off of this record though. If I find out a band we meet on tour knows who Silkworm is I just assume to myself, “Ok, well tonight after everyone’s set we’ll clearly just have this super group on stage and I’ll sing Silkworm’s entire catalog with them and everyone in the crowd will stick around and be excited for that” all because one guy I’ve never met before tells me he heard Libertine once.
What is it about the album that makes it stand out against the band’s other output?
They all stand out in different ways. A huge reason I like Silkworm so much, and really the only tangible point of influence they’ve had on my own work and contributions to my bands is that lyrically and vocally they sound like they’re just bullshitting with the listener. They touch on some high level, intricate scenarios. They’re invoking arguably intelligent, or at least abstract and obscure references and characters, but they never seem like they are talking down to anyone. This record especially has these little colloquial lead ins to many vocal lines that keep the words grounded in reality.
Have you ever given a copy of this record to anyone? What were the circumstances?
I’ve given it to too many people to really remember how what when why. I know that I’ve bonded with the members of Deep Pockets over Silkworm for sure though.
Which of the records that you’ve performed on is your favorite?
I am always the most into whatever is most recent. I’m most excited for You Feel Shame at the moment, but in half a year when we’re mixing something else I’m sure I’ll think that’s the best thing.
What is your favorite song on the album and why?
For the most part, I think these tunes are all worthwhile. If I had to pick one to go into detail about I suppose it’d be “Neither of Those Are Mine.” The title comes from a fifty year old family story about my father forging his mother’s signature on a variety of school documents. My grandmother sold him out when she told the principal that all of the signatures were forgeries. The song itself for me is trying to get to a few different places at once. It’s essentially about taking inventory and assessment and going from there. When the band was first hammering it out it struck me as a progression from where our first demo tunes were to where we are now. It’s that same band that was dicking around in a basement, but now with a better understanding of themselves. That could all be bullshit though. I know it makes me nod my head a bit. And I know I think about some important things when I sing it.
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