Following two years and a smattering of successful releases that have seen the band championed by Fred Perry, Gigwise and It’s All Indie to name a few, Deep.Sleep have quickly established themselves as one of the most exciting bands to have recently emerged from Newcastle upon Tyne

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Fast gaining attention through their catchy and anthemic songs, which radiate feel-good vibes and captivate audiences live, Deep.Sleep have been plying turning heads and breaking hearts on stages up and down the UK, as well as a near-sell out tour of The Netherlands, not to mention the likes of Kendal Calling, Tramlines and Hit the North. 

This run of well-received dates was set to continue across 2020, but like all bands, Deep.Sleep have been forced to reschedule dates, and instead have focused on honing their sound, whilst selling out three socially distanced lockdown shows in their native North East. It’s this honing of sound that has allowed the band to release their latest single, ‘You and I’. 

An upbeat synth-driven indie-pop offering described by frontman Dan Frend as being “about my anxiety about my then-girlfriend moving away to University. This was an anxiety that I had no idea would follow me into my early twenties and continue to manifest itself in my art. Hailing from the North East I think there’s still a big toxic masculinity mindset about “manning up” and “acting tough”, which is a narrative I just became accustomed to growing up and for ages after…I think this is probably the most anxious I’ve felt about a release because I suppose I’m putting such an important time in my life to bed and giving it to the world, which is terrifying.”

Deep.Sleep are Daniel Frend, Alex Greenup, Ben Cottis and Louis Hellie

Introducing Deep.Sleep with Northern Revive:

What made you want to get into music?

Dan: I think for me music has something I’ve always been ‘into’. My Dad is a DJ and he owned a record shop in the 90s so a huge portion of my childhood was soundtracked by all the new releases he’d get through the door and fill the house with. I started wanting to make music when I started getting bored of having my life soundtracked by somebody else all the time. I wanted to make a contribution to my own score in the film all about me. 

Louis: I actually loved old school hip-hop when I was growing up. Embarrassingly, I had awful rap lyrics that I used to love writing. I remember being in high school and hearing Mr Keane playing a simple ‘rock beat’ on an old beaten up drum kit, barely tuned, and thinking it was the most amazing thing. Since then I’ve never really put the sticks down!

Greenup: Growing up I always looked up to musicians, I started trying to form bands with my friends before I could even play an instrument. I was always attracted towards playing bass from driving around with my dad on a Saturday blasting The Jam, Bruce Foxton’s melodic and driving bass lines were unlike anything I’d heard before as a little kid. 

 

What’s the writing process?

Dan: Normally it’ll start with a rough demo on my laptop with some ideas or a voice note from my phone with a melody idea. I think the best way I’ve ever found to describe it is that I try to sketch the ideas in pencil then the guys paint all the pretty colours over the top. We make a really conscious effort to bring as much as we can to each track so there’s a nice bit of representation of our own individual influences in each of our tracks.

Louis: Yeah, we all have our own individual ideas that we assemble collectively. It comes naturally and usually Dan will have a song ready to show us all, and put our take on it. I personally record my own bits and pieces on my phone and see what the lads think.

 

What comes first: lyrics or music?

Dan: Lyrics, every time. The Streets played a massive part in my understanding of how a great lyric will compliment a good melody and form something brilliant. The notes section of my phone is full of phrases that I’ve overheard people using and I love the use of colloquialisms in art. I think I just like to make everything I write as true to myself as I can and I really struggle to pen a story to a pre-existing melody.

Louis: For me, the music. Always.

Greenup: I always start with music when coming up with demos, for me the lyrics and vocals are always an afterthought but I feel that’s pretty natural for an instrumentalist. When I started writing with Dan at the end of last year I found it interesting to see someone come from a different angle, now we’re just perfecting our process and making some great music for 2021.

 

What other talents do you have?

Dan: I can fit a full bag of skips in my mouth at once I think. 

Ben: I’m the world’s best backwards driver. I can draw a basketball player, an aeroplane and a rear view of an elephant. I can count to 10 in 16 different languages. I could go on forever with this one but I’ll stop there.

Louis: I can’t handle my drink but I can make a banging cuppa the next morning.

Greenup: I’m fairly confident I make the best carbonara in the north east.

 

If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?

Dan: I think if I could change anything about the industry it would be the way in which artists are financially compensated by streaming platforms. There’s never been a better time to be a consumer because when have you ever been able to fit the entire history of music in your pocket for £9.99 a month and I think this alone is both encouraging and daunting for smaller artists because it’s easy to get lost amongst the never ending new releases. When you then factor actually being able to afford to keep up with a good momentum of releases by paying for more studio time, streaming royalties just don’t come close and more often than not, it’s sometimes just enough to keep your music on streaming platforms annually. I’m quietly confident that some incredible platform is right around the corner that will pay artists better, but if the current platforms worked harder at making their algorithm accessible to all, regardless of whether they’ve hit it before or not will definitely help.

Louis: I’d like the government to better fund and support upcoming musicians. 

 

What other bands do we need to be checking out right now?

There are SO many! Our current favourites include: Motel Carnation, Club Paradise, Ghost//Signals, bigfatbig, Picnic, St Buryan, Casual Threats, Holly Rees, Voix, Hector Gannett, Callum Pitt – we could go on forever haha!

 

What’s in store for you when all this is over?

Dan: A massive hometown show, a UK tour and a decent holiday hopefully! We should have hosted a sold out show in Newcastle in March this year with Scruff of the Neck records, but this WILL happen. We then had plans to take our sound up and down the UK and meet as many like minded people as possible. I’m absolutely wounded that we won’t be able to do this until next year now, but I suppose the best things in life are worth the wait eh?

Louis: Get together. Make more music. 

 

How are you coping with lockdown?

Dan: Yeah I think I’m coping ok! I think it’s difficult to remember sometimes how well everybody has done this year just to survive it, literally. I’m very fortunate that I moved in with Greenup (bass) at the start of the year so we’ve spent a good amount of time continuing to bounce ideas off each other on a daily basis and I’m really excited to put these ideas out into the world. The B-Side to our latest ‘Her and I’ was all recorded, engineered and produced at home by Greenup so I hope it acts as a nice teaser for what’s to come while the studios are closed.

Louis: Pretty well to be honest! Bit pissed that they’ve closed the gyms. I’m working from home and have been since lockdown number 1, so I’m used to it.

Greenup: As a bartender I’ve spent most of this year without work, which on paper meant I had all the time in the world to work on music and perfect the craft. But the reality of it is that it can be really hard to self motivate and not get bogged down in trying to be productive all time. It can often be daunting to get creative and write but I’ve found simple joy in learning to play drums, playing around with synthesisers and mixing home demos and collaborative pieces without the pressure of deadlines or expectations. Because at the end of the day playing music is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things in the world, nothing should stop you from such a great form of self expression.

 

How is lockdown affecting the music scene?

Dan: It’s hitting everything really hard. I think the best thing that’s come from it has absolutely been this collective effort that musicians have made to support each other and promote each other’s art at this time. It’s sort of helped make everything a lot more accessible because everybody is so on the ball because there’s nothing else to do. The real push needs to come from the government in order to safeguard grassroots music venues while everything is closed. I need to give a huge thank you to Cole and Allan (Tyne Bank Brewery/Little Buildings) for giving musicians a space to have their voices heard during this time in Newcastle and Ben and Lee (Independent) for doing the same in Sunderland. When things do open up, I really hope people appreciate them more and remember the first time they saw one of their favourite artists in a small, intimate venue. Without them, the entire industry fails, and for an industry already on its knees, we really need to help in every way we can.

Ben: Instead of stagnating the north east is adapting. We’re lucky enough to have some amazing venues putting on shows for local artists. We have Tyne bank brewery, Independant, Music Lounge, Base Camp (and more) and I think pretty much every show that’s been played has sold out. We’ve also had megastars playing at the Virgin Money Arena. We can’t wait to get back to normal, but it’s been amazing to see everyone act so quickly to bring back some normality.

Louis: Everyone is still cracking on, doing their bit and it seems to be thriving still. Thanks to all of the promoters, venue owners, artists, etc, the music scene is still very much alive! Obviously not without its struggles.

 

What’s the scene like where you are from?

Dan: Incredible. If it wasn’t for such a vibrant and welcoming music scene in Newcastle, I definitely wouldn’t be speaking to you right now. My first introduction to local music was when I followed Street Party in Soho (Now Club Paradise) when I was about 16? The sound and the way the lads looked on stage the first time I saw them was a real turning point in deciding who I wanted to be when I grew up. I’m older now and those stupid boys are now some of my best friends but nothing has changed. Everybody in Newcastle still really respects and champions each other’s art and I love that. Being involved in any kind of business or scene or whatever you want to call it can be really intimidating but we’re really lucky up here. I’ve won the lottery of life coming from Newcastle.

Louis: Yeah, it’s really good. Newcastle’s music scene is currently on the rise and there’s so much talent coming out. Keep and eye out for upcoming gigs from not only Deep.Sleep, but all of the other bands writing exceptional music during lockdown.

For more info:

www.Facebook.com/deep.sleepUK

www.Twitter.com/DeepSleepUK

www.Instagram.com/deep.sleepUK