Local band Deep State will be performing at its sixth AthFest in the Club Crawl this weekend.
In preparation for the festival, Deep State’s singer and guitarist Taylor Chmura talked to the Red & Black about the band’s inspiration for its newest album, “THE PATH TO OBLIVION,” and how it feels to be back at AthFest once again.
Deep State takes the stage at 1:00 a.m. on Saturday night at Little Kings Shuffle Club.
The Red & Black: You guys just got back from a tour in March. What’s different between performing in Athens, your home base, and other cities?
Taylor Chmura: The level that we’re at, specifically, I think we’ve managed to build a base outside of Georgia, but obviously it’s never going to be as good as the people that you’re friends with and the community of your peers and whatnot that support you in ways that it’s really hard to get strangers to do. Athens is unique because it’s so conducive to being an artist, so that’s probably the most glaring difference.
R&B: How would you classify Deep State’s sound?
TC: I liked that idea of being like a southern punk band just because I think there’s some of those moves in a lot of our songs. You know, it’s a flirtation with indie-rock and punk-rock. It’s kind of ragged, but it also is super melodic. But whenever someone asks I just say we’re a rock-n-roll band, usually.
R&B: You’ve said that your most recent album, 2019’s “THE PATH TO FAST OBLIVION,” is partially about the current state of politics in America. Can you explain that a little?
TC: The record really sought to explore what we’ve all been witnessing since 2016, like the unbridled violence that’s being reported on, but we don’t really seem to be gaining any ground on it or making it better. I think it all started coming together, and I realized, like, “Wow, I have all these mixed feelings about gun violence and racial violence, and just all these things that are not being solved, they’re just being talked about. And often not talked about in a responsible way.” I think I was trying to figure out why people are bad, to put it bluntly. And I’m still trying to figure that out.
R&B: This will be your sixth time performing at Little Kings Shuffle Club for the Club Crawl. How did that happen?
TC: It wasn’t intended to be a tradition in any way, but we’ve just done it because it’s so much fun and the shows just keep getting better and more crazy. The first year was the only year we played outside because they didn’t really know what to expect … People were just, like, losing their minds and crowd surfing and stuff. It’s cement out there, so it’s not really safe … From then on, it’s just been building and building, and people have been having more and more fun.
R&B: What makes AthFest enjoyable to play year-after-year?
TC: It’s so cool that there are so many shows going on simultaneously. You can just walk a couple blocks and there are 100 acts that you just walked by. Just the fluidity of the whole thing. I see the appeal of festivals that are in a field or in a destination spot, but it’s cool that it kind of showcases how awesome our downtown is. Like all the great venues, all the great bars and restaurants. The city gets to kind of show off a little bit. Not to mention, AthFest is just a great organization that’s giving back to Athens in ways that I think … in its longevity, is amazing.