Deus

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Formed: Nov 20 1989 (25 years ago)


Biography

It doesn’t take a smart band to know that music is at its best when it connects with someone. It does however take a very smart band to be able to maintain that connection over the space of 20 years. Even a group like dEUS- with all their amassed musical intelligence, astuteness and ingenuity- can lose their grasp on that elementary principle. As he looks back at their last album ‘Vantage Point,’ front man Tom Barman admits that despite enjoying almost universal critical praise, they did indeed lose some of their vital human touch. “It was a great record and I’m very proud of it but there was ... Read more

It doesn’t take a smart band to know that music is at its best when it connects with someone. It does however take a very smart band to be able to maintain that connection over the space of 20 years. Even a group like dEUS- with all their amassed musical intelligence, astuteness and ingenuity- can lose their grasp on that elementary principle. As he looks back at their last album ‘Vantage Point,’ front man Tom Barman admits that despite enjoying almost universal critical praise, they did indeed lose some of their vital human touch. “It was a great record and I’m very proud of it but there was something a little distant about ‘Vantage Point,’” he offers. “I never really thought of dEUS as a distant band. I’ve always thought of us as being a band that touches people. I’ve always wanted everyone to derive a sense of warmth from dEUS and that’s the sort of place that the new album is coming from. Hence the title- ‘Keep You Close.’”

It’s an intimate mindset that the Belgian outfit had to cultivate within their own ranks before offering it out to their rabid fan base. Instead of half the album being made up of songs worked out by the band collectively and half from Barman’s own compositions (which has been the blueprint for each of the five previous LPs dEUS have released since 1994), the entirety of ‘Keep You Close’ emerged from time spent jamming as a group at their Vantage Point studio in Antwerp. As Barman enthusiastically explains, it’s an approach that prompted a previously untapped sense of togetherness. “That’s the first time we’ve developed and written the songs collectively in the band’s history and it’s taken us to a very melodic place. We played and tested them live and I really think it added a new power to our set because they’re so much fun for all of us to play.” With the help of producers Dave Bottrill (whose previous credits include Muse, Tool, Placebo) and Adam Noble (Guillemots, Mumford And Sons, Paul McCartney) the colder, mechanical feel of ‘Vantage Point’ has been phased out in favour of a more welcoming atmosphere that becomes apparent in a matter of seconds through the cinematic grace of the opening title track. It’s a recurring sensation throughout the album, and it often comes from the subtlest of sources. For example Alan Gevaert’s jazzy bassline wraps around ‘The Final Blast’ in a way that gives it a snaky and insidious brilliance. The tender, soulful tones of ‘The End Of Romance’ meanwhile sound like they’re coming through the curling cigarette smoke of a late night speakeasy, while Barman delivers his vocal as almost as though he were singing it surreptitiously over your shoulder. Even the rockier moments like ‘Dark Sets In’ have their musical bombast eclipsed by an intense emotional resonance and before you know it, ‘Keep You Close’ has invaded every part of your being.

Lyrically too, Barman keeps up the intimacy by addressing the more complex emotions associated with all the relationships (or occasionally, the shocking lack thereof) in his life. “To be blunt about it, ‘Vantage Point’ was more about the sexual, carnal side of love, but this time around they’re definitely more about the emotional and passionate side of things,” he explains. “There is a very personal perspective to the many of the lyrics which made them very difficult to write. There are some harsh things being said in some of the songs, but there are also some very redemptive lyrics too. As much fun as it is to play the songs musically, it remains to be seen if I’ll be able to sing them all for a long time. But right now, it feels right.”

It was perhaps fate that an album centred on such themes would also boast a guest appearance from Afghan Whigs singer Greg Dulli- a man who is a master at articulating the intimacy of sex, love, passion and a whole lot more with an uncomfortable honesty. Naturally, Barman can’t contain his excitement at their collaboration on ‘Dark Sets In’ and ‘Twice,’ and the thrill is most definitely mutual. “That whole thing came about in the most random way- which is my favourite kind of way,” he smiles. “We went out for a drink one night and I invited him to the studio next day, but I warned him ahead of time that he would have to sing. He said, ‘I’d be honoured, maaan.’ So to see him in the studio, opening his mouth and singing my lyrics was- and I’m not exaggerating when I say this- a highlight of my life. I was jumping up and down like a little kid. He has such a great rock ‘n’ roll brain but he has the soul too. He’s one of the greatest rock singers of all time if you ask me.”

For a band who continue to put their extremely varied influences on open display, ‘Keep You Close’ is also a new high watermark in cohesiveness for dEUS. The traces of Tom Waits, Captain Beefheart, Sonic Youth, Prince and even Sun Ra are all still audible but thanks to their revised emotional and musical approach, this album is their most fluid, most elegant and most seamless album to date. It’s tempting to see this near perfect balance as a sense of completion in the band’s career but as the band once said themselves, nothing really ends. Indeed, Barman himself sees this version of dEUS as a renewal rather than the sum total of almost two decades and five previous albums worth of work. “When I was a kid, I wanted to make movies but I ended up being in a band so I’ve already achieved more than I ever wanted to with this dEUS!” he admits with a sense of satisfaction but nothing even close to arrogance. “I know we’ll never be a band that sells 12 million copies of anything, but right now we’ve got a great new label and more importantly, we’re much closer to the band that I always wanted us to be.” Keep them close, because dEUS are about to take you somewhere amazing once again.

Hardeep Phull
Brooklyn, July 2011

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

It doesn’t take a smart band to know that music is at its best when it connects with someone. It does however take a very smart band to be able to maintain that connection over the space of 20 years. Even a group like dEUS- with all their amassed musical intelligence, astuteness and ingenuity- can lose their grasp on that elementary principle. As he looks back at their last album ‘Vantage Point,’ front man Tom Barman admits that despite enjoying almost universal critical praise, they did indeed lose some of their vital human touch. “It was a great record and I’m very proud of it but there was something a little distant about ‘Vantage Point,’” he offers. “I never really thought of dEUS as a distant band. I’ve always thought of us as being a band that touches people. I’ve always wanted everyone to derive a sense of warmth from dEUS and that’s the sort of place that the new album is coming from. Hence the title- ‘Keep You Close.’”

It’s an intimate mindset that the Belgian outfit had to cultivate within their own ranks before offering it out to their rabid fan base. Instead of half the album being made up of songs worked out by the band collectively and half from Barman’s own compositions (which has been the blueprint for each of the five previous LPs dEUS have released since 1994), the entirety of ‘Keep You Close’ emerged from time spent jamming as a group at their Vantage Point studio in Antwerp. As Barman enthusiastically explains, it’s an approach that prompted a previously untapped sense of togetherness. “That’s the first time we’ve developed and written the songs collectively in the band’s history and it’s taken us to a very melodic place. We played and tested them live and I really think it added a new power to our set because they’re so much fun for all of us to play.” With the help of producers Dave Bottrill (whose previous credits include Muse, Tool, Placebo) and Adam Noble (Guillemots, Mumford And Sons, Paul McCartney) the colder, mechanical feel of ‘Vantage Point’ has been phased out in favour of a more welcoming atmosphere that becomes apparent in a matter of seconds through the cinematic grace of the opening title track. It’s a recurring sensation throughout the album, and it often comes from the subtlest of sources. For example Alan Gevaert’s jazzy bassline wraps around ‘The Final Blast’ in a way that gives it a snaky and insidious brilliance. The tender, soulful tones of ‘The End Of Romance’ meanwhile sound like they’re coming through the curling cigarette smoke of a late night speakeasy, while Barman delivers his vocal as almost as though he were singing it surreptitiously over your shoulder. Even the rockier moments like ‘Dark Sets In’ have their musical bombast eclipsed by an intense emotional resonance and before you know it, ‘Keep You Close’ has invaded every part of your being.

Lyrically too, Barman keeps up the intimacy by addressing the more complex emotions associated with all the relationships (or occasionally, the shocking lack thereof) in his life. “To be blunt about it, ‘Vantage Point’ was more about the sexual, carnal side of love, but this time around they’re definitely more about the emotional and passionate side of things,” he explains. “There is a very personal perspective to the many of the lyrics which made them very difficult to write. There are some harsh things being said in some of the songs, but there are also some very redemptive lyrics too. As much fun as it is to play the songs musically, it remains to be seen if I’ll be able to sing them all for a long time. But right now, it feels right.”

It was perhaps fate that an album centred on such themes would also boast a guest appearance from Afghan Whigs singer Greg Dulli- a man who is a master at articulating the intimacy of sex, love, passion and a whole lot more with an uncomfortable honesty. Naturally, Barman can’t contain his excitement at their collaboration on ‘Dark Sets In’ and ‘Twice,’ and the thrill is most definitely mutual. “That whole thing came about in the most random way- which is my favourite kind of way,” he smiles. “We went out for a drink one night and I invited him to the studio next day, but I warned him ahead of time that he would have to sing. He said, ‘I’d be honoured, maaan.’ So to see him in the studio, opening his mouth and singing my lyrics was- and I’m not exaggerating when I say this- a highlight of my life. I was jumping up and down like a little kid. He has such a great rock ‘n’ roll brain but he has the soul too. He’s one of the greatest rock singers of all time if you ask me.”

For a band who continue to put their extremely varied influences on open display, ‘Keep You Close’ is also a new high watermark in cohesiveness for dEUS. The traces of Tom Waits, Captain Beefheart, Sonic Youth, Prince and even Sun Ra are all still audible but thanks to their revised emotional and musical approach, this album is their most fluid, most elegant and most seamless album to date. It’s tempting to see this near perfect balance as a sense of completion in the band’s career but as the band once said themselves, nothing really ends. Indeed, Barman himself sees this version of dEUS as a renewal rather than the sum total of almost two decades and five previous albums worth of work. “When I was a kid, I wanted to make movies but I ended up being in a band so I’ve already achieved more than I ever wanted to with this dEUS!” he admits with a sense of satisfaction but nothing even close to arrogance. “I know we’ll never be a band that sells 12 million copies of anything, but right now we’ve got a great new label and more importantly, we’re much closer to the band that I always wanted us to be.” Keep them close, because dEUS are about to take you somewhere amazing once again.

Hardeep Phull
Brooklyn, July 2011

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

It doesn’t take a smart band to know that music is at its best when it connects with someone. It does however take a very smart band to be able to maintain that connection over the space of 20 years. Even a group like dEUS- with all their amassed musical intelligence, astuteness and ingenuity- can lose their grasp on that elementary principle. As he looks back at their last album ‘Vantage Point,’ front man Tom Barman admits that despite enjoying almost universal critical praise, they did indeed lose some of their vital human touch. “It was a great record and I’m very proud of it but there was something a little distant about ‘Vantage Point,’” he offers. “I never really thought of dEUS as a distant band. I’ve always thought of us as being a band that touches people. I’ve always wanted everyone to derive a sense of warmth from dEUS and that’s the sort of place that the new album is coming from. Hence the title- ‘Keep You Close.’”

It’s an intimate mindset that the Belgian outfit had to cultivate within their own ranks before offering it out to their rabid fan base. Instead of half the album being made up of songs worked out by the band collectively and half from Barman’s own compositions (which has been the blueprint for each of the five previous LPs dEUS have released since 1994), the entirety of ‘Keep You Close’ emerged from time spent jamming as a group at their Vantage Point studio in Antwerp. As Barman enthusiastically explains, it’s an approach that prompted a previously untapped sense of togetherness. “That’s the first time we’ve developed and written the songs collectively in the band’s history and it’s taken us to a very melodic place. We played and tested them live and I really think it added a new power to our set because they’re so much fun for all of us to play.” With the help of producers Dave Bottrill (whose previous credits include Muse, Tool, Placebo) and Adam Noble (Guillemots, Mumford And Sons, Paul McCartney) the colder, mechanical feel of ‘Vantage Point’ has been phased out in favour of a more welcoming atmosphere that becomes apparent in a matter of seconds through the cinematic grace of the opening title track. It’s a recurring sensation throughout the album, and it often comes from the subtlest of sources. For example Alan Gevaert’s jazzy bassline wraps around ‘The Final Blast’ in a way that gives it a snaky and insidious brilliance. The tender, soulful tones of ‘The End Of Romance’ meanwhile sound like they’re coming through the curling cigarette smoke of a late night speakeasy, while Barman delivers his vocal as almost as though he were singing it surreptitiously over your shoulder. Even the rockier moments like ‘Dark Sets In’ have their musical bombast eclipsed by an intense emotional resonance and before you know it, ‘Keep You Close’ has invaded every part of your being.

Lyrically too, Barman keeps up the intimacy by addressing the more complex emotions associated with all the relationships (or occasionally, the shocking lack thereof) in his life. “To be blunt about it, ‘Vantage Point’ was more about the sexual, carnal side of love, but this time around they’re definitely more about the emotional and passionate side of things,” he explains. “There is a very personal perspective to the many of the lyrics which made them very difficult to write. There are some harsh things being said in some of the songs, but there are also some very redemptive lyrics too. As much fun as it is to play the songs musically, it remains to be seen if I’ll be able to sing them all for a long time. But right now, it feels right.”

It was perhaps fate that an album centred on such themes would also boast a guest appearance from Afghan Whigs singer Greg Dulli- a man who is a master at articulating the intimacy of sex, love, passion and a whole lot more with an uncomfortable honesty. Naturally, Barman can’t contain his excitement at their collaboration on ‘Dark Sets In’ and ‘Twice,’ and the thrill is most definitely mutual. “That whole thing came about in the most random way- which is my favourite kind of way,” he smiles. “We went out for a drink one night and I invited him to the studio next day, but I warned him ahead of time that he would have to sing. He said, ‘I’d be honoured, maaan.’ So to see him in the studio, opening his mouth and singing my lyrics was- and I’m not exaggerating when I say this- a highlight of my life. I was jumping up and down like a little kid. He has such a great rock ‘n’ roll brain but he has the soul too. He’s one of the greatest rock singers of all time if you ask me.”

For a band who continue to put their extremely varied influences on open display, ‘Keep You Close’ is also a new high watermark in cohesiveness for dEUS. The traces of Tom Waits, Captain Beefheart, Sonic Youth, Prince and even Sun Ra are all still audible but thanks to their revised emotional and musical approach, this album is their most fluid, most elegant and most seamless album to date. It’s tempting to see this near perfect balance as a sense of completion in the band’s career but as the band once said themselves, nothing really ends. Indeed, Barman himself sees this version of dEUS as a renewal rather than the sum total of almost two decades and five previous albums worth of work. “When I was a kid, I wanted to make movies but I ended up being in a band so I’ve already achieved more than I ever wanted to with this dEUS!” he admits with a sense of satisfaction but nothing even close to arrogance. “I know we’ll never be a band that sells 12 million copies of anything, but right now we’ve got a great new label and more importantly, we’re much closer to the band that I always wanted us to be.” Keep them close, because dEUS are about to take you somewhere amazing once again.

Hardeep Phull
Brooklyn, July 2011

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

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