The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday January 26th


Q&A with bluegrass group Deep Chatham

Deep Chatham is a folk and bluegrass group out of Asheville that’s celebrating the release of its second album, Flood, this weekend. The band characterizes its grassroots ferocity as “rabbit folk,” with influences ranging from traditional bluegrass to punk rock. Diversions Staff writer Charlie Shelton talked to the band about the new album, how they got here and the road to come.

Diversions: What makes it so exciting to finally release Flood?

Julian Sikes: It’s exciting to finally get the product in the hands of the people who expressed that they wanted it. We made the money for this album on the Kickstarter, so it was pretty much funded by the people who heard us play and they gave us an opportunity to make this thing. And adding a pact with all of these people who helped us out and being able to give it to even more people who don’t know who we are.

Dive: It seems like you’re incorporating more instruments into Flood. Were these intentional changes or was it just how the group grew since your first album?

JS: Well we started as a two-piece, it was just me on guitar and Jeff (Loops) on bass. And then we found Matt (Heckler; banjo, violin, vocals) and it was incredible because he brought so much to what we were doing — we were just so empty before. And now Trevor (Grassi; accordion, piano) concreted it into a place where I feel like we are all comfortable with everything that we have.

It seems like we have found all the right, key players and now we are figuring out how we mesh together the best.

Jeff Loops: In the last album, we threw it together in a matter of five or six days just because we didn’t have anything and we needed something quickly. We needed an album because we were going on tour, and it turned out great. We were really happy with it. So this new album is the first opportunity to actually take our time with something and not just be rushed but actually put a lot of thought, effort and time into the album itself.

Dive: Have you been to the Triangle to perform a lot?

JL: Well, Julian and I are from Pittsboro in Chatham County so we grew up in that area. When Deep Chatham originally started, Julian and I actually left North Carolina when we traveled to Alaska. So there was a long time where we neglected our home fan base, but we have definitely been paying more attention to Chapel Hill and everything and it has been paying attention back and treating us well.

Dive: Is Deep Chatham’s form of bluegrass influenced by personal experiences in Chatham County or more of a traditional folk standing?

JS: I feel like the songs would be better off with their source not being Chatham County but it being more like the generation. And Chatham County is the place where two of our members come from but two of our other members are from the Woodstock, N.Y. area so it is coming from all over the place.

JL: Yeah, our band name is named after Chatham County and that is definitely influential to us but in a way that anywhere that you’re from is going to form who you are and what you do and what you make.

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The Daily Tar Heel for December 1, 2021

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