LOST IN MAGIC CITY
Miami based garage rock band Deaf Poets have a refreshing, hard hitting sound reminiscent of Nirvana or the Smashing Pumpkins. The two person band, consisting of vocalist and guitarist Sean Woulters and drummer Nico Espinosa, have been friends since elementary school – and this closeness is reflected in their music. Woulters and Espinosa have been collaborating since they were fourteen years old – and this shared history results in a very cohesive and unique sound.
Miami isn’t particularly known for its rock scene – but Deaf Poets are helping to carve one that feels current and exciting. Awarded “Best Band 2014” by the Miami News Times, Deaf Poets have adapted their interest in Classic Rock to an audience that veers more to the genres of electronica or hip hop. And the result: a blend of classic rock with cool, current electronic distortions. The band’s song “Trinity”, a collaboration with artist/producer Virgo, is a perfect example of this – the song follows an electronic beat similar to Purity Ring or Grimes, but is cut with Espinosa’s loud, clean drums.
I talked to Deaf Poets at a park in the Lower East Side about all things Miami, music, and sports. The band’s upcoming album Lost In Magic City will be available everywhere on May 5th, and they begin their tour (the dates of which are available on their Facebook), begins May 4th in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
INTERVIEW WITH DEAF POETS
CONOR (HIGHLARK): So first we were wondering where you guys first met and how the band came to be?
SEAN (LEAD VOCALS + GUITAR // DEAF POETS): We met in fifth grade, in art class.
NICO (VOCALS + PERCUSSION // DEAF POETS): We used to be in the art club together, and we played music throughout our freshman year of high school all the way up to now. But different groups and projects and stuff, I’ve known him forever.
SEAN: Our first band was together, then we split up and did different projects, and now we’re back playing together.
CONOR: What was the first band called?
NICO: The first was called New Era. We were in freshman year, we only played like two shows, and we covered Eye of the Tiger by Survivor. It was an instrumental band because neither one of us could sing.
SEAN: You did sing one song, though
NICO: that’s true, that’s true. I did cover one song but it was horrible
CONOR: You guys have a big tour coming up, which cities are some of your favorites to play shows?
SEAN: There are a lot we’re really excited about. For me, for sure Seattle is going to be one of the one’s I’m really looking forward to, and San Francisco.
NICO: For me it’s gotta be Austin, I played there a few years ago with another group at South By (South West), and I had an awesome time there, and I had some of the best wings I’ve ever had in my life. Looking forward to going back over there and getting some wings.
CONOR: And Sean, why are you excited about Seattle?
SEAN: In general, the scene in terms of the city I only hear incredible things
NICO: And Nirvana, that’s basically the number one reason
SEAN: Yeah, there you go – that’s a very good reason! I’ll go with that.
CONOR: You guys are based in Miami, how do you think being from there has shaped you both as musicians and as a band?
NICO: Everything we do the city helped us shape, there’s not a big rock scene over there, so we had to adapt and write music that everyone would want to go and check out and listen, everything from growing up there to what we write today was influenced by Miami – and that’s why we called the album Lost in Magic City.
CONOR: Awesome – I love the band’s sound, who were some of the biggest inspirations for the classic garage rock style?
SEAN: Well, he already said one. Nirvana was a huge influence, and of course classics like Led Zeppelin are gonna be a go to. But everything from Unknown Mortal Orchestra to My Morning Jacket are some newer bands I’m really into.
NICO: Same thing for me, for my drumming I usually try to channel John Bonham from Zeppelin, Mitch Mitchell from Hendrix. We grew up listening to all 60’s and 70’s music, so, I think that’s where we draw most of the influence for our sound.
SEAN: We like the classics
CONOR: What are some albums or new music you guys have been listening to that you’re excited about?
SEAN: Nico showed me the new Childish Gambino and that was incredible
NICO: Yeah, actually new Kendrick dropped today, and I haven’t heard it yet but “Humble” was such a sick track, so I’m really excited to sit down and listen to that whole album from beginning to end. I love Kendrick a lot, I saw him open for Kanye and it was so amazing.
SEAN: He showed me this new album by Jim James from My Morning Jacket and it’s incredible, I’ve really been listening to that a lot
CONOR: What are you guys doing when you’re not playing music?
SEAN: For me, I’m obsessed with old stuff – anything with old amps, I spend a lot of time doing that, collecting old things and putting them together.
NICO: For me, watching sports, playing sports, I love basketball, soccer, I love riding my bike a lot.
CONOR: Who are your teams?
NICO: I’m a huge Heat fan, I have a tattoo of their logo on my calf
CONOR: Very nice, and I have to ask about the band’s name – whats’ the story behind it?
NICO: We used to work at Urban Outfitters together, and one of those days where you’re just folding a million shirts, and I saw a Dead Poets Society shirt, which I actually haven’t seen which is funny, and then we were gonna play a show for fun and I was like Sean wanna call it Dead Poets, which we decided was too metal – so we went with Deaf.
SEAN: Well we went on Facebook – or no! Myspace, to check, and no one had Deaf Poets
NICO: And we did a show for fun and it started steam rolling, so that’s how it came about.
CONOR: You guys have already released a couple of singles this year, are you currently working on anything new?
NICO: Yes! Actually before we came we demo’d are new song. We’ve started working on a new record.
CONOR: Can you let us know what it’s called
NICO: Honestly it took us so long to name this record, and it’s going to take us a little while for this one.
SEAN: Our names always start out as a joke, but then turn into something serious
CONOR: Or you can just look at some Urban Outfitters shirts
NICO: Exactly! That’s where we draw our musical inspiration
CONOR: And What can we expect from you guys down the road?
SEAN: Well new music videos for sure, the new album is being released on Cinco De Maio (May Fifth)
NICO: Yeah the new album, and lots of touring!
CONOR: Awesome! Thanks again for sitting down with us – and good luck for the show tonight!
NICO: Yeah man! Thanks again
[+] DEAF POETS
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Photos © Katie Willoughby. All Rights Reserved.