Though they have yet to play a single show, there’s considerable buzz around Deep Red. A collaboration between Scott White of Duell and Leah Lane of Rosegarden Funeral Party – two bands who’ve generated plenty of hype individually – the project has an identity completely separate from their full time gigs. Their debut EP, Before You Leave, drops on Friday, March 6th. Across its six songs, White’s distorted guitars and Lane’s ethereal vocals layer together to create a sound equal parts heavy and melodic. When the pair harmonize, the results are even more satisfying. For the EP, White and Lane brought in Duell’s Mike Doty to play bass and James Van Damme to play drums. Recorded and co-produced by Michael Briggs at Civil Audio, Before You Leave is one of the most exciting recordings of this young 2020.
We caught up with Scott over a beer at Three Links to learn more about the project, the collaborative process with Lane, and future plans. While we wait for Deep Red’s debut show you can catch Rosegarden Funeral Party and Duell, along with Sub-Sahara and All Clean, at Three Link’s 7-year anniversary this weekend.
The Void Report: When did you first meet Leah?
Scott White: Two of our bands played together before we knew each other and then later on, but we really met when Duell played with Rosegarden and Sub-Sahara for the first time at Ruins, and we played a My Bloody Valentine cover and she kind of lost her shit.
A couple of weeks later I posted something to the effect of “Does anybody want to start a shoegaze band or does anybody enjoy shoegaze?” And she immediately responded, less than five minutes later. Then we went through the, “You know this band? You know Catherine Wheel?” Just going down the rabbit hole of sniffing each other out. And then I had one song together that I sent over. She loved it. She had a song ready and we just kind of snowballed from there.
The Void Report: Who were some of the bands that were touchstones for what you’ve developed with Deep Red?
Scott White: Slowdive, Failure, Soundgarden. Those three are massive, as well as My Bloody Valentine, and even Big Jesus, honestly, was kind of a revelation.
The Void Report: I would not have guessed Soundgarden, but as soon as you said that, the song “4th of July” came to my mind.
Scott White: “4th of July,” “Mailman,” “Room a Thousand Years Wide.” That riff is a big one…”Far Beyond the Wheel.” That’s one of my favorite bands. Even the middle riff in “Over and Gone,” that slower riff in there was just me trying to write a Soundgarden riff.
The Void Report: When did you start writing the songs that make up the EP?
Scott White: For the EP everything’s a little scattered. I have two of the songs. So, the first track on the EP was written when I was still living in Fort Worth, so maybe three or four years ago. That was the song that I was initially trying to start a band with. So, I was shopping it around to all my friends at the time, trying to put a band together, and nobody would touch it. Nobody would go within ten feet of it and I couldn’t get anybody. I got a lot of “Yeah, I mean I might do it” or “Yeah, I’ll do the recording, but I don’t really know about shows,” that kind of thing. And so meeting Leah, I sent them over thinking, “Okay, yeah, whatever, it’s going to be nothing.“
The last song, the instrumental, I wrote that when I was 14. I didn’t know what to do with it for years and kind of ended up being this sentimental thing I was carrying around and it just fit. But, everything else was written after meeting Leah. I think the other songs were probably written within two or three months of us meeting and just kind of sending shit back and forth and then going over to her apartment, recording vocals and working out patterns.
The Void Report: How did the collaborative process work? You were sending her demos of guitar riffs?
Scott White: Yeah, so most of the time…for “Box of Memories,” instrumentally it was done. It just needed vocals. So, we figured that out together and then the second song on the EP was actually two riffs that she had. I had her record the two riffs into Pro Tools and then I went home and just kind of reworked everything, added the bridge riff and restructured it. So, a lot of time it’s me going home. If I do write a song, it happens really quickly. It’s like I’ll have the initial riff, I’ll sit down with my laptop and within three to four hours I’ll have the completed thing, instrumentally, and then she and I will get together to work on vocals. But, normally it’s riffs come to me, I put the song out and then we add vocals later.
The Void Report: I did see in the liner notes on bandcamp that lyrics were written by both of you. How did you approach that?
Scott White: Honestly, I would write something initially and then we would meet up and then we’d kind of both look at it and go, “Okay, I like this, this works” or “Yeah, this doesn’t really work as well. Let’s change it to this.” And a lot of times if there’s something where I’m just like, “I fucking got nothing for this part,” I’ll talk to her and she’ll immediately have it. But, it’s nice because that collaboration between me and her is one of those where it’s like…she seems to know instinctively where I’m going and I know instinctively where she’s going, so when we’re writing together, it’s very honestly collaborative. These aren’t just my songs that she came in and laid down vocals on and that was it. There’s very much songs that wouldn’t be what they were if it wasn’t the two of us in a room doing it, which is nice. I’ve never really had that before.
The Void Report: So you demo’d out most of the material and then went to the studio?You had all the parts laid out?
Scott White: Yeah, they were pretty much exactly the same, except for “Over and Gone.” I had the chorus to “Over and Gone.” I had nothing for the verses. So, the day that we recorded, that was the day we wrote the verses, melody and all. I had been struggling with that one leading up to the recording and the initial drummer that I had, who was going to play on it, had to drop out. So, I recruited James. He was nice enough to say that yeah, he can do it and he would take time off work to do it. But me, him, and Doty got in the room and I’m just basically took the songs, took a good look at them, and said “Okay, this works, this doesn’t.” But, a lot didn’t change, I mean they’re pretty much the same. One part gets shortened down to two and so forth, that kind of thing, but otherwise they’re pretty much the same as we had demo’d them out. We spent a lot of time on making sure that it was what we wanted it to be so that we didn’t waste time when we got in there.
The Void Report: Rosegarden and Duell are playing Three Links on Sunday. Is there any chance that there’s going to be a Deep Red song thrown in the mix?
Scott White: Nope. Not yet. We are working really hard to make sure that when we do our first show, that when we get that group together and do the first show, it’s got to stand up to a standard. Because the one thing about Duell and being in that band is like, I can be confident that we play good fucking shows. If that band doesn’t do anything else, well we play a good fucking show consistently and same for Rosegarden. So, if we’re going to go out and do a live show for this, if we’re going to put a band together and go out there, it’s going to be the right band, and it’s going to be the right show. And I kind of have a thing about not really wanting it to be seen as just the Duell/Rosegarden mashup.
The Void Report: So you are saying that there is a live performance in the future?
Scott White: Absolutely. Definitely. Without doubt. It’s just one of those things where a lot of my anxieties and perfectionist tendencies get in the way. But, I want it to be at least close enough in my head to what’s right. So, I want the right guys behind us and I want the right people playing those songs with us. I want to know that we’re actually making it worth people coming out to see.
The Void Report: Is this a one-off project or are there going to be more recordings in the future?
Scott White: The second EP is already written. We’re finalizing vocals for some of the songs and then we plan on going back and recording, probably in the summer. No specific date yet, but we will be going back to Michael Briggs and we’re more than likely using the same group that we worked with the first time, because it just felt really good. It was a very easy working process for me and everybody involved, and it was kind of a guardian angel for me, because I definitely can focus on the wrong thing for too long if you let me. So, they’re all great about kind of reeling me back in. The second one’s already written and my intention is to have a third recorded and possibly released by the end of the year. It’s going to be a busy fucking year. I’m already sleep deprived and obsessing over it a little bit.