Deity’s Muse, the Johannesburg-based progressive rock titans released their new EP Lungs Full on Friday 31 May 2019. Produced by Clint Vincent from Australian rock giants Dead Letter Circus. This EP will be the first in an evolving concept, the band plan to release a series of digital EPs over the coming months. Once they are all out, they’ll compile them into a full album and release it on CD and vinyl. It’s immediately clear from the opening riff of first track and single Still in Hiding that the band have grown as both musicians and songwriters since the release of their previous album, 2016’s Convergence.
Since the release of Convergence they have been making an impact on the UK and European scene having played at Euroblast Festival in Germany (October 2017), a 5 show co-headlining UK tour with SÜMER (July 2018) and Bloodstock Festival in the UK (August 2018). They also recently announced that they would be touring the UK in July as main support for prog-metallers Monuments on their Phronesis UK Summer Tour, as well as playing the UK Tech-Fest 2019 and their own headlining show at London’s 229 Venue.
For any of our readers who are unfamiliar with yourselves tell us a little bit about your band.
Wayne: We’re a hard working South African alternative rock band with prog and metal influences for fans of TesseracT, Alice In Chains, Karnivool, Dead Letter Circus, Deftones and the like. We’ve been lucky to share the stage with some of the above mentioned bands in the past and we’re looking forward to touring the UK with Monuments in July this year.
What was your earliest memory of music that peaked your interest?
Alvin: Everything from Black Sabbath. Going on family holidays and my father would play Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Free while driving.
Wayne: Definitely my parents’ musical tastes. When I was still in nursery school I remember listening to Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, Sabbath, Neil Young and Budgie. That crying baby in ‘The Wall’ and Robert Plant’s semi-sneeze, semi-orgasm on ‘Whole Lotta Love’ scared the crap out of me.
Who was the first album / single you purchased?
Wayne: I remember this like it was yesterday! I gathered a bunch of coins and bought the new Pearl Jam CD at the time, Vs. I still love that album.
When did you first pick up your respective instrument / or start singing?
Alvin: I used to be a drummer. I had to learn to play bass to join Deity’s some 12 years ago.
Wayne: I was probably about 15 years old when I first attempted singing and playing guitar. It was my Nirvana MTV Unplugged phase.
Who were your hero’s as a young musician that inspired and pushed you to want
to be a musician too?
Wayne: Definitely the so-called Grunge era musicians. That’s what got me started. Billy Corgan, Chris Cornell, Cobain, Eddie Vedder, Jerry Cantrell. I really appreciated guys who could sing and play guitar and were classy songwriters. A little after that I turned to bands like Rage Against The Machine, System of a Down, Tool, Radiohead and Isis.
Alvin: For me it was the drummers. Shannon Larkin (Godsmack) & Matt McDonough (Mudvayne)
Is there one particular album or song that gave you a “Eureka” moment from
your youth that made you want to be a musician?
Alvin: Listening to Tool for the first time pushed me to want to play music myself.
Wayne: It was probably Soundgarden’s ‘Superunknown’ that really gave me that eureka moment. They could do the heavy, the sludgy, the proggy, and chilled acoustic Beatles-esque moments. Such a versatile band.
What was the best gig you’ve ever attended?
Wayne: My first gig ever was seeing Agro live at the Global Action Cafe in my hometown. Agro were one of South Africa’s longest running metal bands and a huge influence still to this very day for loads of current South African metal bands.
Alvin: The first gig I attended was watching Deity’s Muse! haha!
Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?
Wayne: I don’t really believe in the concept of guilty pleasures as such. There’s just so much good music out there from so many different genres. I’m currently enjoying Billie Eilish for her dark pop stylings. I’ve always loved the cheesiness of The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’ and you can’t beat a good Supertramp, Michael Jackson or Bjork tune.
So any new music in the works currently or just released?
Alvin: We have a new EP called Lungs full. 3 tracks… Still in Hiding, Soon be Over, Sleep/Escape.
Wayne: Indubitably! Lungs Full is part of an evolving concept of EPs. So there are more EPs coming soon.
Where and when did you record it?
Wayne: We tracked the EP in our band room in January and February this year. We worked on pre-production for it with our good friend, Clint Vincent from Dead Letter Circus who also helped produce, mix and master the EP.
How does the song writing process generally work for you?
Alvin: Writing is usually a collaboration. One or two us would have a rough idea for a riff/beat and the rest of us would brainstorm different ideas for progression in the song.
What route have you taken to build up and establish a fan base locally & beyond
your local area?
Wayne: A long route, I suppose. Haha. There aren’t many venues in South Africa that cater for heavy or alternative music. So you tend to play the same venues over and over again. It can be quite stifling because it’s very easy to hit a glass ceiling due to playing the same 3 venues too much. So we’ve taken the recent approach of playing more shows overseas and less in our home country. We’re basically infiltrating our local scene from the outside in.
What is the music scene like locally to you and where do you fit in?
Alvin: Our local music scene is flourishing, despite not having the most venues to perform at here in SA, we have a significant number of quality bands. We tend to fit in more for the metal scene despite the fact that we aren’t full on metal.
Do you feel there are enough venues around you to help promote and establish
up and coming bands like yourself?
Alvin: Hahaha. Definitely not enough venues. It makes it very difficult and you have to be pragmatic about show choices.
As a South African band do you feel there were any specific challenges to you or
hurdles you have had to overcome to get this far?
Alvin: Definitely. The main problem is funding. Most successful bands in SA have day jobs too which ultimately makes it increasingly more difficult to progress where you’d like to be.
Wayne: Our currency is terrible when compared to the US, UK, EU, Australia etc. So touring outside our home country is an expense we take a year to pay for. Touring in and around South Africa is also tricky because the demographic for alternative rock or metal is tiny. You can’t play on a weeknight and think you’re going to get a crowd in South Africa. Most shows need to take place over a weekend to make sure you’re not playing to the sound guy. A lot of countries get government grants to fund tours, videos etc but we aren’t so lucky in South Africa as alternative music is mostly misunderstood by our suits in power.
What would you like to see ideally to help hard working bands / artists get
better exposure and opportunities to make a living form their craft?
Alvin: Generally more support. More attendance at shows. And most importantly more bands supporting other bands. We’re all in this together and I feel like there is sometimes a sense of “competition” between bands. We should stick together, promote/support each other.
Wayne: I think a very luck few, and a very hard-working few get to make a living out of this lifestyle in today’s environment. Kurt Cobain never needed to give guitar clinics while on tour or release signature model guitars to get by. One thing I’d actually love is some form of sponsorship or grants that help hard-working artists get their name out there. I do believe however that it’s a bit of pipe-dream at this stage as the musical landscape has changed dramatically over the years. People don’t buy music anymore and Netflix ensures your butt is kept nice and warm on the sofa.
What is the best piece of advice you have received on your journey thus far?
Alvin: To leave your ego at the door (Clint Vincent – Dead Letter Circus) while we were tracking our previous album Convergence.
What would you say has been the biggest lesson you have learnt on your journey
Alvin: Believing in yourself, showing respect earns respect and to have fun while being patient.
Does the introduction of New Technology / Digital Age / Social Media etc
enhance your life as a musician or do you feel it can be more of a hindrance?
Wayne: I think there are more positives to embracing technology than not. We’re able to record albums and songs faster than ever before and that really helps when you have a day job and bills to pay.
Alvin: Social media is a weird one. Definitely tilting more towards being advantageous having social media now. Easier to get exposed and discover new music. It’s easier to expose your music the the world these days but you need to backup the exposure with your live performances.
What’s the most recent album you have purchased / downloaded and who
currently out there has peaked your interest?
Alvin: I have just downloaded the new Thank You Scientist. There is a sense of unpredictability in every song. Lately I have been following a lot of Rival Sons progression in music.
Wayne: I really like to dig my teeth into various genres. I really loved ‘The Last One’ from Circles which they released last year. There are some incredible prog bands from Australia and that album definitely deserved more attention. I’m currently enjoying Emma Ruth Rundle’s ‘On Dark Horses’, Spotlights’ ‘Love & Decay’, Soen’s ‘Lotus’, GoGo Penguin’s ‘A Humdrum Star’ and the new Baroness album.
We caught you guys at Bloodstock Festival in 2018 – How was that experience
for you guys and have you any plans to venture back into Europe in 2019 or
Wayne: It was a life-changing experience and one we’ll never forget and hope to do again sometime. We’re back in the UK this July supporting Monuments on tour and we are already setting plans in place for Europe and UK in 2020.
So moving forward what’s next for you?
Wayne: UK tour and more songwriting in preparation for the next batch of EPs.
How do you see the evolution of the band / yourself as an artist?
Alvin: We want to tour abroad as often as possible. Branching out to the USA, Europe & Australia tops my list.
Wayne: To just keep progressing as songwriters. We always intend to move forward and it’s definitely worked well for us recently.
Do you have any short-term or long-term goals in mind?
Wayne: Yes we do. It’s important to have a plan and set some goals. Short-term goals currently involve filming loads of content in support of our new EP and the EPs to follow. Long-term goals include getting loads more international touring under our belts and breaking into the European summer festival circuit.
If you could tour with any band or artists who would that be?
Wayne: That’s a tough one to answer because there’s so many bands we’d jump at the opportunity to tour with. Tool, Alice In Chains for the classics. Currently I’d love to tour with Karnivool, TesseracT, Dead Letter Circus, SikTh. The list is actually endless.
Alvin: I’d love to tour with Die Antwoord. Just because I’d have no idea what to expect. And they’re South African