The Seattle sun is shining down on Brian Yeager. Sitting in his garden and coolly wearing a Pharrell-ish hat, he lights a cigarette and begins to talk. The doors to his house are open, and occasionally the sounds of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ spill out. Between cigarettes, he spurs on conversational asides about matters as disparate as record collecting, industrial gods Godflesh and the “beauty” of Aberdeen. He laughs and asks questions. He’s in good spirits.
Guitarist for punk band The Cute Lepers and a familiar face in the Seattle music scene, Yeager is now the co-founder of the recently formed Deep Creep. His partner in crime is bassist Derek Fudesco – most recently of Justin Vernon-approved folk-rockers The Cave Singers, but also a familiar face from cult act Murder City Devils and Pretty Girls Make Graves.
Familiar with each other’s music as fellow Seattleites, the pair also worked together at famed record store Easy Street, where they crafted plans to work with one another. “We always wanted to play music together,” Yeager says. “He was busy with The Cave Singers and I was busy with other stuff, so in between those times, that’s when we’d start writing. It was a slow start.”
Easy Street helped to fill out the line-up, with Yeager and Fudesco’s co-worker Jeff Alvarez flung, unheard, into drummer duties.
“I had never even heard Jeff play drums,” Yeager shrugs, “I sensed that he was good, for sure.” Vocals were an “obvious choice” according to the guitarist, with Fudesco’s Pretty Girls Make Graves bandmate Andrea Zollo brought into the fold. This marks Zollo’s first full-time vocal duties since her time in the much-loved PGMG, something that Yeager admits to being pleased as punch about.
Without playing down the ample contributions of her bandmates, it’s Zollo’s inclusion that will draw in many prospective fans. Does Yeager feel any pressure to live up to any expectations this sets? “Pressure? No. We’re having a good time.”
And Deep Creep does sound like four friends having a good time, albeit with a tinge of unease. On a set of demos uploaded to SoundCloud in April, Zollo is in fine mettle, developing her impassioned-yet-understated vocals with new affectations: slurry storytelling, bubble-gum nonsense and occasional slips into Lux Interior-esque menace. The songs are equal amounts fun and demented, with a sinister edge bubbling beneath the surface.
On ‘Move A Little’, Zollo instructs the crowd to party over a boogie-woogie beat, building up flirty images until Alvarez abruptly hits the brakes; ‘The Ghoul’ has an organ-led refrain about “walking the streets at night” and finds honour in packs of alley cats. There’s a glint shining off the edges of these songs, but you can’t make out if it’s from a smile or a switchblade.
“It’s playful, it’s fun,” admits Yeager of this dichotomy, “[but] we like to keep a little anxiety in the music.” The four-piece plans to delve deeper into their sound with a soul-influenced EP (potentially on “big hole 45”, nerdy record collector style”) produced by old PGMG collaborator Colin Stewart, and hone their attack on dates supporting their buddies in the Murder City Devils. The wheels are moving – and fast – but after so long waiting to work with Fudesco, Yeager isn’t waiting up for anyone.
“It feels really good, I’m really excited about it – the songs are fun to play. Derek and I were really adamant at the very beginning: if we don’t want to play these songs then why would anybody want to listen to them? We play them over and over again, and these songs always feel good to play, then we feel good about it. We want them to dance, we want them to move a little!”
He finishes his cigarette and luxuriates a little longer in the Seattle sunshine.
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WHAT: Slightly sinister boogie-down rock from cult US indie alumni
GET 3 SONGS: ‘Move A Little’, ‘The Ghoul’, ‘Bees In The Basement’
FACT: If you’re looking to visit the branch of Easy Street responsible for three-quarters of Deep Creep’s line-up, think again: “They closed the one we were working on and turned it into a bank,” Yeager admits, smiling ruefully. “Sad day.”
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Words: Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy (Twitter)