Deptford Goth on life after defo

Fresh from his G-Shock award, the south London musician chats about his fusing of unlikely elements from pop, folk and dubstep

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After the release of his debut EP last year, Deptford Goth (winner of our Casio G-Shock Awards) was quickly placed alongside artists like James Blake, Youth Lagoon and The xx, who explore emotive, R&B-inflected territory with minimal means. Since that release, the south London-based artist (real name Daniel Woolhouse) has only put out two tracks - "People Get Still" and "Life After Defo" – via various social media outlets. Both drew significant attention and demonstrated a major development in sound that made the earlier comparisons feel lazy.

In early 2013, Deptford Goth will release his first album, Life After Defo on Merok. While Youth II was predominantly instrumental, incorporating elements of synth-pop, folk and dubstep, here the outer layers have been stripped back, exposing heartbreakingly atmospheric harmonies and the introspective vocal lines.

Dazed Digital: How would you describe Life After Defo?
Deptford Goth: The album is the first time I've really written music whilst thinking about how songs will work in relation to each other. There's definitely a lyrical thread that ties everything together. But I also think that, after the back-and-forward process of adding parts and then stripping things back, I arrived at a more succinct set of sounds than I did in earlier work.

DD: What did you want to get out of a full-length album?
Deptford Goth: The idea of making a full length is quite intimidating at the start but the more I thought about it and the more I got into it I realized it’s a really good thing: you’ve got more space to contextualize; each song is informed by the other however many on the record. So in that sense you’ve got more scope to try things, because something’s not necessarily out on its own – it’s connected to the other things that are going on.

DD: Your vocals seem more important than on your earlier tracks...
Deptford Goth: I wanted them to be songs, and I don’t know if it was really a conscious decision that they were going to be more lyrically driven or have a more traditional song format in a sense. That’s just kind of how it happened.

DD: Are you happy with it the record in terms of what you’ve done before?
Deptford Goth: Yeah, I’m definitely happy with it, but I think you have to stop working on something at some point. I can’t listen to it without thinking, ‘Oh, maybe I could have done that different...’ But it sums up that period of writing and recording well, so it makes sense to close it there. 

DD: What’s happening with live shows for the album?
Deptford Goth: This goes back to the album being more lyrically driven. It was kind of in my head whilst making the record. I was thinking, you know, personally, I want to perform a song. Even if you’ve produced something using a lot of different sounds, if there’s a song at its core then you can turn up with a guitar or a keyboard and knock out that track, because at its core you’ve got a lyrical strand going through it. 

DD: What are the plans for the future? 
Deptford Goth: Wait and see I suppose! Get the album out, play some shows. I’m writing stuff again now, and I’ve definitely started thinking about recording other things. Yeah, kind of wait and see what happens.

Text by Harry Thorne

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