Artist Interviews

Q&A: Deus

By | Published on Wednesday 7 September 2011


Belgian alt-rock outfit Deus made their full-length debut with ‘Worst Case Scenario’ in 1994, later signing a deal with Island Records for the album’s European release.

Founder members Tom Barman and Klaas Janzoons then oversaw several shifts in the band’s line-up before taking a hiatus from recording in the wake of acclaimed 1999 LP ‘The Ideal Crash’. Having regrouped in time for 2005’s ‘A Pocket Revolution’, they continued to tour and rehearse, also building their own studio in Antwerp, in which fifth album ‘Vantage Point’ was completed.

Described by Barman himself as “very Can meets LCD”, Deus’ latest album ‘Keep You Close’ was co-produced by David Botrill (Placebo, Muse) and Adam Noble (Guillemots) over a six month period. With the LP due out via [PIAS] on 3 Oct, the band’s next scheduled UK appearance will be at London’s Koko on 11 Oct. Drummer Stéphane Misseghers found a moment to address our Same Six Questions.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
Well, a band was formed in 1989 by Tom Barman, originally consisting of him and four friends. None of those friends ever made it onto a Deus album though, the band wasn’t even called Deus back then. They mainly played covers, but as Tom busked on the streets and squares of Antwerp, the urge to write original songs grew, and so the band Deus began to emerge. I joined in 1991.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
I can’t say we were especially inspired by anything really, except perhaps the joy of having great vibes in the band and the creativity that comes from that. It’s impossible to make an original piece of work if you have another brilliant piece of music stuck in your head, so I’d go further and say we actively tried to avoid other records when we wrote the album. If you are listening too much to something else, your song might turn out to be the same, and the last thing you want to be is a copycat of a band you really like, because they’ll always be one step ahead of you.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
For this record, we would record several jams during rehearsals, some of which we would then mould into some kind of a structure… and then we’d do the same thing over and over again until we thought: “Yep, we’re getting somewhere”. It’s fair to say that most of the jams we recorded were utter crap, but from time to time beautiful stuff happened. Sometimes we would then shelve a song for six months before picking it back up and finishing it. Let it sit there for while. It can be a painful process, the waiting, but it’s a good test. If we still like it in six months, you’ll probably still like it in six years!

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Hard to say at this point. I think with the earlier Deus stuff it was probably easier to put your finger on where we got the mustard, but nowadays… I don’t know. There are so many bands being thrown at us today that it has become an even bigger pleasure to listen to the likes of Neil Young, Beefheart, Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, Ennio Morricone, Hall & Oates, and listen how they did it, you know? But now and again we get blown away by newer bands such as The Roots, Tool, Arctic Monkeys, Gorillaz, and we play their records until the neighbours stop singing along.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Deus songs are like a single malt: it takes a hell of a long time to make, but every time you open it, you know you’re gonna want more than one…

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Well, first of all… release it, and then tour Europe, the UK, and eventually aim for Australia in 2012. We also have plans to release an EP with some of the better groove-jams we did while making ‘Keep You Close’. So we’ll be back in the studio this month to put that together.