Deep Tissue Interview

Deep Tissue - Philadelphia Post-Punk Band


Deep Tissue Band Members, Instruments, and Ages

Lauren Leilani Iona, vocals
Arthur Wurt, Bass
Geoff Smith, Guitar
Adam Moffitt, Drums
Shaun Nelson, GuItar
We're all in our early 30ʼs!

Deep Tissue S/T cassette on DISINFECT(AUS) out now!

How did you all meet, how long have you all known each other, and how did Deep Tissue start?

Shaun: Adam and I met while we were in high school.
Adam: Through a mutual friend, Aaron, who is actually the person who recorded us.
Arthur: Shaun and I met at Titan House, an old punk house in South Philly. And thatʼs also where I met Adam. The three of us have known each other for about 10 years!
Shaun: At first, I thought Arthur was weird, haha. As we got to know each other, I admired his taste in music, so we started hanging out and eventually decided to play music together.
Lauren: Geoff and I are actually roommates and had tried to do a project before, but it never really took off. I met Shaun at a very poorly attended noise show; we were both playing underneath a bridge. He asked me if I would be interested in singing for his post-punk project not long after that, and thatʼs when I met Arthur and Adam.
Geoff: I vaguely knew Shaun through my job, but really got to know everyone after Lauren joined and Shaun asked me at a party if Iʼd be interested in playing guitar.

What does Deep Tissue mean and where did the name come from?

Shaun: I had been wanting to start a dark punk band for a while and was struggling to think of a name. One day I was giving a friend a massage and the phrase "deep tissue" sort of popped into my head, and I thought it would make a good name.
Arthur: I appreciate the name because I feel it has a sensuality to it.

Since being a band, what is your favorite band story or experience?

Adam: When we all ate hot chicken in Nashville, and I almost died. This is last
March when we went on tour with Zorn, who are friends of ours. Actually, our
entire time in Nashville last winter. We went to a 90ʼs dance night at a place called
Cobra and someone set off fireworks in the middle of the dance floor. No one got
hurt. Being on tour was fun because we actually got to hang out as a group
beyond band practices for the first time.
Shaun: Adamʼs peanut butter jar rolling around in the van.
Arthur: I just like that time we were at this gas station in South Carolina, and we
were all tense because it was a bit in the middle of nowhere and we had seen a
bunch of confederate flags and shit, and the other band we were on tour with like,
broke the gas pump or something and we all thought we were about to get our
asses kicked.
Geoff: Iʼm also gonna go with the time we were in Nashville. Thatʼs where Iʼm from, actually.
Lauren: Our tour in March, which is what everyone is referring to. That was my first time ever being on the road and itʼs tough to choose just one time or one favorite experience.

Who are your biggest influences and who would you say that you sound like?

Arthur: I try to have like, funkier basslines. Iʼm not sure it comes across in our
music, but I like dancier stuff, House and Electronic music particularly.
Shaun: My biggest influences are my friends' bands. I feel inspired by the people
around me who I think make interesting music. The (aforementioned) Zorn, Lunacy, The Ire, Pʼids, Haldol (Geoffʼs other band) are just a few l bands I love. Hearing what my friends are doing makes me excited to be creative myself.
Geoff: Well, my favorite bands have always been The Cure and Rudimentary Peni. I grew up listening to a lot of bebop jazz, and (before I learned to appreciate it), I was constantly surrounded by country music growing up. Jimi Hendrix and John McGeoch are some of my biggest influences, guitar-wise.
Lauren: I have a hard time knowing the difference between liking something a lot
and being influenced by it. Or at least being able to tell that the influence shows in
what you do, I guess. I listen to a lot of sad songs. I love Rowland S. Howardʼs solo material, his lyrics are heart-wrenching to me. This morning I listened to Roy
Orbison for like 3 hours. I like anything that feels a little haunted.
Adam: 80ʼs music in general. I used to go to this club night in Philly called
Nocturne Wednesday, at a club called Shampoo, which no longer exists. It was the most fun I had with music. It wasnʼt pretentious; it was just fun. I realized I want to make music that people enjoy and can maybe dance to. DJ Robert Drakeʼs parties are great. I guess Iʼm influenced by The Cure, Clan of Xymox, Cabaret Voltaire…your goth night staples.
Geoff: I feel like we sound like The Chameleons a bit at times.
Shaun: Yeah, I agree with that. I love their guitars.

Could you briefly describe the music-making process? How you write your songs? What are the lyrics about?

Shaun: Mainly, I just work out some riffs on my own and then try to present them to the rest of the band. If everyone is into it, we start turning it into a song.
Adam: Sometimes it starts with me coming up with a drum beat. I think Injury
started like that.
Lauren: So one person has an idea, and everyone builds around it.
Arthur: At least for the stuff that Iʼve written, I think about guitar and bass. I demo
out things by myself. Sometimes it doesnʼt end up being what I envisioned initially but thatʼs the nature of collaboration. I try to write at practice, but Iʼm better at coming up with things on my own. I need time to think about it.
Geoff: I donʼt know if I can weigh in much yet. I came along after most of the
songs on our record were written already and just added parts as needed. Iʼm just
now beginning to be part of the songwriting from the ground up.
Lauren: When I first joined, they had 4 or 5 demos for me to listen to and write
parts to. This is the first band Iʼve ever been in where Iʼm just singing, and not also playing guitar. I feel like because Iʼm not playing an instrument, I can push my voice a little more than usual because the vocals are all I have to concentrate on. So I try to come up with something that compliments their instrumentals.
Frequently Iʼm off to the side writing in my notebook while theyʼre coming up with
parts together at practice.
As for what the lyrics are about, theyʼre mostly my real experiences or thoughts. I tend to write about relationships, but some songs are just about what I think of my
life. Mood Swing is about desperately wanting your life to change for the better
but being so down, and so clouded by negative thoughts, that you canʼt bring
yourself to believe itʼll ever really change. The title of the record, Patience Or Fear, comes from a line in that song. Itʼs me questioning that old saying "good things come to those who wait," wondering if itʼs more like Iʼm looking for an excuse to give in to apathy and not take any action. Fear is the root of that.
Despair is about feeling terrified to walk outside alone, but also about mass
shootings and the fear that Iʼll find myself in the middle of one someday. Liminal
Space is about enjoying yourself at a show or a party maybe, wishing time would
stop so you could always live in those moments you feel joyful and free. This is
getting too long. Most of the other songs are about love or desire in some way.

How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?

Adam: Initially Shaun and Arthur had four songs and wanted to demo them out, so I recorded them. Shaun played the drums on those, I would tweak those parts, and eventually, the two of them asked me just to be the drummer full time. I feel like we havenʼt changed too much from their original vision.
Shaun: Arthur and I started writing together in 2016. I still have the first recording
we made. It just sounds like noise and unorganized chaos. When we started
working on turning that into actual songs, they seemed to get poppier. I was in a
lot of punk bands. I heard of a group called Low Life, the album Dogging, in
particular, inspired me to do something slower and moodier. I wanted to do
something with a different attitude than my previous projects. I feel like weʼre all
working well together, the 5 of us.
Arthur: We wanted to do a post-punk band. Lately, we seem to be getting more into melodic stuff, trying to make them more complicated.
Geoff: Iʼm ruining everything.
Lauren: Geoff and I are latecomers, so we werenʼt there at the beginning, but I
think I can see a difference in how we write now as a group versus a year ago
when I had just joined.

What are your plans for the future, besides the release of your upcoming LP?

Shaun: Our plans are to write another record, go on another tour, and do the damn thing.

What are each of your favorite records to “play alone?”

Lauren: Teenage Snuff Film, Rowland S. Howard.
Geoff: Pornography, The Cure.
Shaun: Psychocandy, The Jesus And Mary Chain.
Arthur: Transformer, Lou Reed.
Adam: Boston, Boston. Iʼm playing it alone, right? No one can judge me.


Post-Punk Artists

Play Alone Records, Erica and I, not only love the music that our post-punk artists create but respect the personalities and values of each band member. We do these interviews to share with you why each of our bands is special and why we enjoy the partnerships with them. Check back to our blog for future post-punk artists interviews. 

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