Interview: Stevie Scott of Brisbane’s Deafcult on their debut album, Auras

Brisbane’s Deafcult have recently dropped debut album Auras, a shoegazy, reverb-drenched foray into the unknown. It’s euphoric yet morose, gregarious yet restrained, and might be one of the best albums released this year. I caught up with guitarist/vocalist Stevie Scott to chat about what the release means to him, ahead of their national (not Perth though, sorry Perth) tour.

“I’d describe it as an adventure into the subconscious to find out who you are,” Stevie says of the album, when asked to describe it as succinctly as possible. “I don’t really like to delve too much into it, because I still sort of like the ambiguity; it sort of applies to people. I like people to be able to listen to it and think of events in their [own] lives. You know what I mean? It’s nice to have those things, not everything has to be handed to you. I think it’s good to have these things that exist where you can find bits of yourself in it.”

Auras is their first full-length album, following on from 2015’s self-titled EP. “I think when we did that demo, we didn’t really know who we were as a band. I found a bunch of mates to record with me and we sort of just went in to record it and didn’t really have a clue what it sounded like. Then after that record we knew what we sounded like, so I think with [Auras] we tried to push all the extremes of what we thought we were.”

It’s a difficult album to describe, one reviewer going so far as to describe it as a sort of ‘soundtrack’. “It’s things that we all share, things that happen to you when you’re becoming 20 years old, and things that happen to you when you’re becoming 30 years old. It’s all these shared experiences that we have that maybe I’m sort of dealing with… trying to deal with… maybe I’m not dealing with them, that’s why I’m singing about them. In that sort of sense, it sounds like a soundtrack to your life.”

“When I write the songs, I don’t write words. I just sort of go into the studio at 3am and just sort of start singing. It’s all a subconscious thing,” he says, trying to explain his writing process. “Most of the time, we play guitar in weird ways. We play super loud, [use] ghost notes… these things that exist in the music that you’re not really playing. I’ll write a rhythm track, and then it sort of presents two lead guitar parts by itself. We try not to think too hard about writing songs, we just let it happen. [The songs] kind of exist in their own right, we don’t really force anything. It happens, and it’s like, ‘Fuck, that’s a song.'”

The writing process really is natural, as Stevie elaborates, “The whole process, it feels embarrassing to talk about. For me, you let it happen, it just becomes this emotional thing. It’s kind of a hard thing to talk about. I feel like a bit of a fraud using words like songwriter… I’m more of a chancer with a lead guitar.”

For someone who has crafted such an amazing album, he remains painfully humble. I asked about having four guitarists in a band (which I can only imagine to be something like a zoo), and how avoiding ego clashes works. “It just is what it is. It just becomes one thing. If you hear us playing by ourselves, it sounds terrible. All these small things come together to make this big thing. And I think life’s a bit like that, you know, it’s all these things that sort of make you who you are… I feel like that’s what the album is about. All these small events, all these small people that you meet, these little fractions of yourself, and it just becomes this whole. I feel like that’s how the band exists.”

Deafcult are heading out on tour as part of the Aura album cycle, and I think they’re more excited than the punters. “Every band that we’re playing with is amazing. Everywhere we’re going it’s going to be fucking mindblowing just to see those bands play.”

The tour continues to Brisbane this weekend (The Brightside, July 21st), before hitting Sydney (Red Rattle, August 4th) and finishing in Newcastle (The Hamilton Hotel, August 5th).

Get yourself a copy of Auras through Hobbledehoy, here.