A London band following astrology, and Mogwai
Less than 5 minutes have passed since I met Deep Tan but I already know that Wafah, lead singer and guitarist, is whip-smart and passionate, and the rhythm section of Celeste and Lucy are a combination of fearsome and laidback. I know this as they’ve showered me with the full range of their divine information and worryingly they’re about to extract mine. “Do you know your rising sign?” asks Celeste. “Oh my god let’s do your star sign chart. Right, we need your time of birth and where you were born!” As interviews go, this is far from conventional but that seems to be how Deep Tan operate. “So I am a Cancer sign, Sagittarius moon and Virgo rising,” says Celeste. “That is fire, water, earth. The Virgo in me means I am really anal, I also feel like I am the centre of everything, so I have huge ideas and I feel like I am a fiery personality but really I’m just pedantic and all about details.”
“You already know what a Scorpio I am,” smiles Wafah, which seems like a Scorpio thing to say.
As a Leo, they tell me I seek the public eye, but it’s the three friends from Hackney who are revelling in attention right now after releasing two new songs, ‘Shimmer’ and ‘Constant Inconsistencies’ on Practise Music, home of fellow buzzy Londoners Squid. “We’ve been playing ‘Shimmer’ for a year already and that shows our softer more feminine side but we also have another side,” says Celeste. “‘Constant Inconsistencies’ gives us something faster to kick our set off with but its darker and weirder like us.” On the evidence so far she’s totally right.
Deep Tan have been kicking around the capital’s underground scene for around 12 months now, honing their atmospheric, haunting pop sound with peers like Sweat, Waterbaby and Madonnatron sharing the trio’s path. The band have been slowly carving out their own space and these songs feel like the next step. “‘Constant Inconsistencies’ was a B-side, but we decided to change it to an A side after people heard it,” says Wafah, clearly proud of the new direction.
“It’s been compared to the Slits and obviously that’s cool, but someone also compared it with Joy Division which is unbelievable,” says Celeste.
Having already been likened to Foals and Warpaint with their rhythmic, sometimes sparse dynamics, the Joy Division resemblance is an interesting one that sparks passion in Wafah. “It’s definitely darker, which I guess is like Joy Division in a sense,” she says. “We wanted to write a song about being let down; what it feels like to love someone but they’re not there for you – it’s confrontational and a bit more punk in its delivery.”
I mention that all of their songs seem to be about negative attributes, ‘Shimmer’ also centred in surface level people whose malice runs deep. I ask if they’re dealing in first-hand experiences with friends and enemies? “I would say it’s not out of experience,” says Celeste. “We don’t hang around with awful people. They’re not all the same though, these songs, they’re not all negative thoughts about people, at the moment we are writing a track about downing a drink.” She laughs and Wafah jumps in: “Well, I’m not sure about that anymore.” “You’re getting a glimpse into our song writing technique here,” says Celeste. “We all have our say and then Wafah changes it.”
Wafah laughs at the jibe before gently adding, “I would say I make small tweaks.”