Challenger Deep is an instrumental four-piece metal group from Atlanta, Georgia. More specifically, they play progressive metal. Already, just with a general description they are not a normal band because they don’t have a vocalist. This doesn’t mean they shy away from telling stories with their music, because they certainly communicate emotions and concepts with their songs.
- What are your biggest musical influences?
These days, I’d say it’s bands or artists that are trying to push the same sort of guitar-centric instrumental music we are. Bands like Chon, Intervals, Plini, Polyphia, Animals as Leaders. Historically, I’ve always looked to bands that balanced really intricate music with catchy melodies. Protest the Hero, the Fall of Troy, Periphery, the Human Abstract, Aphex Twin, are all acts that have hugely impacted the way I view and approach music.
- Do you listen to any band or genre that would surprise your fans if they found out?
I’m really into Aesop Rock and Streetlight Manifesto. I think those two are a pretty far step from the kind of music Challenger Deep makes, so that might surprise some people. Also, pretty much all ’80s music. All of it.
- What’s next for the band?
We’re going to spend the next few months playing gigs to support our first release that came out this past February. We’re hoping to gain some new fans this year in cities outside of Atlanta. We’ve got our 3rd music video in the works right now, and we’re already working diligently on some new tunes.
- How do you think streaming services like Spotify and Pandora have changed how bands release music? Has it made it easier or more difficult?
I think the advent of music streaming has been a double-edged sword. As far as the release of music, I think streaming services have made that a lot more accessible for independent artists (such as ourselves). You don’t necessarily need the backing of a major label anymore to put your music out there. On the other hand, this does significantly increase the pool of music that you become a part of. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does become a bit harder to gain significant recognition through streaming sites as a result.
- Do you have any non-musical influences that show up in your music?
Literature I think is my biggest non-musical influence, which I realize sounds a little odd given that there aren’t any lyrics to our music. The mark of good art, to me, is its ability to make an impression on my emotions, to make me react and feel strongly as a result of experiencing. In the same way that a good story makes you feel a certain way, I try to craft music that has a similar impact and draw from various books I’ve read for inspiration in that regard.
- Can you describe your sound?
It’s eclectic, instrumental fabrication for transient, thoughtful, self-indulgent sensations.
- What are you listening to lately? Anything you would recommend?
I’ve been revisiting Tiger and the Duke and The Ocean and the Sun by the Sound of Animals Fighting quite a bit lately, still riding the high of their most recent tour. Would definitely recommend checking out those albums if you didn’t get a chance to hear them back in the day. Been jamming a lot of Periphery, Dance Gavin Dance, Sianvar, Somepling, and Roof Light these days as well, the latter two being two incredible electronic artists that I would recommend to anyone that is a fan of good music.
- What made you decide to “get into” music and start a band?
Back in middle school, my friend group at the time thought it would be the cool thing to do. It seemed like a fun idea since we were all into the same kind of music, so I asked my parents for a bass for my birthday, which they were generous enough to gift me. After about a year, I bought a guitar with the hopes of learning some song-writing skills through learning the instrument. As time went on, the initial band idea fizzled out some as we had diverging musical interests with age, but with those interests came a lot of song ideas that I wanted to take to the stage. I knew the music I was hearing in my head wouldn’t sound very good as a one-man act, so I set about trying to find some band members.
- How does your writing process work, do you all collaborate on the lyrics or is that job reserved for just one person?
Typically, one person comes to the rest of the band with a song idea of varying degrees of completion, and we all sit down and work on making it into a fully realized work. It almost always starts with a guitar riff (or a few) onto which Grant adds some drums until they feel like they’ve got the right energy for the part. Then whoever’s in charge of bass for the song works in a good groove to help push the song forward. We don’t have lyrics to our songs, so that’s one less thing to worry about.
- If you had topick just one, which album would be your favorite?
Protest the Hero’s Kezia.
- Are there any bands you would desperately love to tour with someday?
Definitely any of the bands or acts I’ve mentioned thus far would be a dream to tour with. Additionally, Strawberry Girls, Night Verses, Clever Girl, would be amazing to join on tour.
- What are your thoughts about bands releasing more singles, rather than following a traditional route and just releasing albums?
I think the current path away from the traditional album cycle is an interesting one and one that’s influenced by the current landscape of streaming services that offer access to a massive cache of music at any given moment. Bands and artists have to more carefully plan their approach to releasing music to achieve maximum impact on their fans and potential fans. I think for this reason two, the quality of music released will inevitably increase. Artists are no longer restrained by the expectation of a full album, so they’re more free to pour all of their work into singles whenever the inspiration strikes. I think songs on albums considered “filler” by many fans will certainly become a thing of the past as we move more toward singles being a more viable option for release.