“Going crazy for the album? Are they? I didn’t notice.” Stevie Scott responds to praise for Deafcult’s album with bashfulness. Their debut release Auras has consistently received positive reviews and the Brisbane-based band are on the edge of a revolution – and the Scottish frontman is extraordinarily humble about it all. “It’s basically just a bunch of demos I made and I thought I could try and record these and do nothing with it.
“I got five mates to record it – we thought that would be it, but we released it and people liked it – it was unexpected. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Described as “a record about dreams and places and situations that haunt your dreams,” Auras captures a reality that is different for all of us. In Scott’s dreams, in his mind, he’s able to tap into thoughts and feelings he isn’t aware of in daily life. “The way I write the songs, I’ll go to the studio at 2am and start singing. It’s all subconscious, you go back and go, ‘oh shit, that’s about that’. You kind of get an idea of what’s going on in your own head, by using your subconscious.”
If it seems like Scott is disjointed from reality it’s because, to an extent, he is. Letting his subconscious consume him and doing things unaware is pretty much the way things go for Scott and Deafcult. “Sometimes you sing a song and you look back in a nostalgic way, maybe pine for a time when crazy stuff was happening, maybe in your childhood or whatever.
“There’s a song on the album called “Judy”, it’s a song about my mother and it’s a real sad song and I look back on the lyrics to that and it makes me miss home and my family.”
Such emotive experiences generate emotive music and for Scott, it’s the same kind of process when it comes to melodies. Subconsciously he writes, picking up on the subtle capabilities of the instruments around him, but he’s never quite able to put his finger on the writing process precisely. “It’s hard to talk about the writing,” Scott says softly, “People keep asking me that, like ‘what’s the writing process?’ Really there’s very little involved, it just happens. We accent noises and they become the parts. It’s hard to describe.”
That delightful unawareness bounces off Scott’s bandmates, the sentiments he creates resonating in an unspoken harmony throughout Deafcult. “We never really talk about that. Maybe we should, he jokes, and maybe they don’t like it. I dunno, we’re all pretty close and it’s a real personal and emotional thing and we enjoy being on that level. It’s just a thing, you know? It just fits.
“I also worry about trying to dissect that stuff too much. You might stop doing it the same way by thinking too hard about it. Then you Coldplay, you know what I mean?”
Slowly but surely Deafcult are being pigeonholed into this old school shoegaze concept – but there’s far more to their music than throwback traditions of the 90s. “There’s all kinds of things going on, so it’s not really trying to emulate My Bloody Valentine or anyone – I think I get more from The Supremes and, 60s girl band stuff – there’s lots of stuff that feeds into it.
“People will decide what they want – if they only know that stuff [shoegaze] they’ll say it sounds like that but if they can open their minds a bit, they’ll hear different things.”
Scott ultimately didn’t realise the impact that Deafcult is having with its regurgitation of fuzzed-out synth, soaring vocals and blunt drums – their peers and their fans certainly have. All this month the Brisbane band are touring around the country, feeding audiences as they push boundaries of abstraction, regurgitating their love for their own material. “People like the album and they’ll tell us it’s good and I actually forgot what we liked about it – we’ve been sitting on these songs a long time – you have to remind yourself. It’s been good because we had to learn all the songs again, it’s been fun learning all that stuff.”