Jennifer Moore, the guitarist, organist and vocalist of experimental-pop duo Deep Time, uses the word “weird” as a verb.
“I like to take these straight-forward melodies, and then weird them up,” she says. “We want to play pop music, but we try to make it sound as weird as possible.”
On Deep Time's self-titled debut album, which comes out July 10 (on Hardly Art), Moore and drummer Adam Jones accomplish this mission. The songs are catchy and melodic, but also spacious and rhythmically complex. The opening track, “Bermuda Triangle,” and the album closer, “Horse,” sound like familiar pop tunes, but the harmonies and beats are chopped up to create frantic, labyrinthine patterns of melody.
Though Deep Time is adamant about its status as a pop group, Moore and Jones don't seek inspiration from traditional pop artists. Jones listens to a lot of 1960s American free-jazz by artists like Albert Ayler and Ornette Coleman. Moore, who's a big fan of American composer Phillip Glass, says her favorite guitarist is the British avant-gardist Fred Frith.
“We want to play pop music, but we try to make it sound as weird as possible.”
“Adam's music background allows him to see each part of a song from many different angles," says Moore. "And, since I was in choir, sometimes I write these strange, Medieval-sounding melodies, like the one in 'Clouds.'”
Moore sang in her high school choir (and was also in a rock band that played Smashing Pumpkins covers). She briefly attended the Berklee College Of Music, in Boston -- where Annie Clark of St. Vincent was a fellow incoming freshman -- but left after one semester.
“It was too commercial and all about chops,” Moore says about Berklee. “I just wanted to write weird songs, and I didn't need a music degree to do that.”
Moore and Jones have been playing music together for six years, initially under the name YellowFever. They released a few 7-inches and EPs, and, in 2010, their first album was released on Wild World, the label run by Brooklyn indie-rock group the Vivian Girls. A few months ago, the duo changed their name from YellowFever (for legal reasons).
“It's like a clean slate,” says Moore. “The new name gave us something new to think about, and it helped us get rid of some baggage.”
The new name comes from the deep time concept used to understand time from a perspective that's more vast than the framework of human existence. For the band, this means approaching songs from different perspectives and embracing simplicity.
“We like songs with empty spaces,” says Moore. “But, since we're a two-piece, we already don't have that many hands to use, so we're forced to keep things simple.”
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