Last week, when Deserts unveiled their new EP Skeleton, we were immediately immersed in their unique fusion of sounds. Across the EP, the duo floated through a series of addictive pop gems that still held a charming DIY quality.
So we caught up with the band themselves to chat about the new music, the influence of punk and alternative, and how it feels to lose your tunes in a data crash.
Fresh off the release of their incredible new EP Skeletons, we caught up with Deserts to chat new music, their history playing in punk and alternative bands, and losing their tunes in a data crash.
HAPPY: Hey guys, how’s it going? What have you been up to lately?
DESERTS: Great, thanks! I’ve been on holidays from my real teaching job, but I’ve been busy recording and mixing Elba Lane’s upcoming LP which has been fun. Jacob has been at work which I think is funny and he thinks is pretty bogus.
HAPPY: We’re loving the new EP… how are you feeling about it now that it’s done?
DESERTS: Oh really? Thank you. That’s very kind. Yeah, we’re very relieved it’s finally done and out there. It’s been a pretty long process.
HAPPY: You both came from alternative and punk bands… what made you want to take your sound in a more pop-driven direction?
DESERTS: We made an active, purposeful decision to try something new. We had access to a bunch of vintage pianos and I had just got a midi controller for some software synths and it all just came together. Having our own studio where a bunch of musicians tend to leave gear lying around makes trying new instruments and methods a lot easier. Thanks guys!
HAPPY: Do you think your time in those bands still influences the music you make as Deserts?
DESERTS: Absolutely. There is still a verse, chorus, bridge structure and the way create melody over the music is much the same. The only things that have really changed are the instruments and arrangements… however, we still managed to run pianos through layers of distortion. Distortion is still pretty prevalent in everything we do, regardless of genre, which is a direct hangover from our punk aesthetic.
HAPPY: You originally finished recording this EP in 2016, right? But then you lost it all due to a data crash… could you walk us through what you were thinking at this time?
DESERTS: This was a pretty dark period. I lost about 4TB during a back up. Somehow my main drive had been physically damaged, though I have no idea how, and just completely shat itself. Nearly 1200 dollars in data recovery services later, nothing could be retrieved. I had all Old New Yorks masters and Suicide Swans masters vanish too. Luckily I had backups of these elsewhere, but Deserts was all lost bar some mp3 bounces we had. Ringing clients up and telling them their masters were gone was gut wrenching. Everyone was super cool about it though. I’m not sure I would have been…
HAPPY: I can imagine that would’ve been pretty disheartening… did you ever consider scrapping the EP after this?
DESERTS: It was pretty terrible to say the least, but no, we didn’t consider giving up the project. I mean, we had the time and were in no real rush so canning the whole project never really came up as an option. We loaded the mp3 tracks into Logic and just started relearning and re-recording the whole thing again.
HAPPY: How different is this final version of the EP to the version you originally recorded in 2016?
DESERTS: It’s pretty spot on give or take some tonal choices. We did manage to get everything pretty much as it was and in some cases better.
HAPPY: Are there any other exciting plans in the works for Deserts?
DESERTS: We’re just happy to be done with this one. We will probably slap together another video for one of the songs. Jacob is a Graphic Designer by trade and I’ve been videoing for years so we can pull a clip out of the hat pretty easily, it’s just coming up with a decent concept that is the tricky part. We’ll definitely let you know when it’s done!
HAPPY: Cheers for the chat!
DESERTS: Not at all. Thank you!
Skeleton is available now.