Deal Casino Discuss Their Upcoming Album, "LLC": "We Had Never Been This Open and Honest in Our Writing Before"
With new music comes growth, and New Jersey’s Deal Casino understand that more than most. With their upcoming album, LLC, the band took the time to completely reinvent themselves, from traveling to North Carolina to record the album to starting from scratch when it came to writing. Deal Casino forgot everything about their previous music and self-titled album, released last year, and instead focused on making the best record possible without anything holding them back.
With LLC out in November, tour dates with The Wrecks kicking off soon and new music out now, we caught up with Deal Casino to chat about their new music, their growth as a band and plans for the future. Read the full interview and watch their video for “French Blonde” now below.
Interview by Dom Vigil
Can you tell us a little bit about Deal Casino for anyone who might be hearing you for the first time?
We’re 4 musicians from Asbury Park, NJ. We’ve been playing together a long time, and we are really bad at defining what genre we would fall under. We really just try to write music based on what naturally comes out when the four of us get in a room. It’s guitar, bass, keys and drums, and all 4 of us sing, plus we’re all really into modular synths and effects and stuff. We buy a lot of vintage gear online and end up using it on stage and in the studio, plus we throw in the occasional VHS sample.
You guys are getting ready to release your new album, LLC this November! What are you most excited for fans to hear on the album once it’s out?
It's been a while since we recorded these songs and we just want people to listen and experience what we put into the music. We're putting out singles prior to the full release to let each song have a life of its own, but the order of LLC as a whole is really impactful. Also, these songs have been the majority of our setlist for the past year, so we'll finally have proper justification to play them live once all the songs are out.
LLC follows your self-titled full-length album, which you released last year - how do you feel you’ve grown between the two releases? Are there any important lessons you’ve learned along the way?
The period between our self-titled record and LLC was the largest and fastest growth we've experienced as a band. While writing the self-titled record, we tried hard to bring our music to a new place both emotionally and sonically, but there were boundaries preventing us from getting there. We asked a lot of questions when we started talking about the next record, specifically targeted at the issues with the previous one. It may seem obvious, but a huge step was getting out of Asbury Park, so we decided to record at a studio in North Carolina. We wanted to stay honest with ourselves and make something that was sonically exciting to us. So being in a new place helped us leave our comfort zone. Basically, we created an environment with no boundaries at all. We're really happy with LLC. We wrote it as a 4 piece, together, and then Erik Kase Romero, who is currently on tour with The Front Bottoms, produced. There’s also some behind the scenes footage done by Anthony Yebra. It’s edited in his unique style, but that should be going up on our Youtube channel soon.
Was there anything you wanted to accomplish with LLC that you maybe haven’t had the chance to do in the past?
We basically just wanted to forget everything we thought our music was supposed to sound like and start from scratch. This record gave us the freedom to do exactly that and we definitely feel like we have figured out a lot of things that were unclear to us as artistically in the past. We wrote a lot of it in morning sessions as a band last fall, and we put a lot of ourselves into it, we had never been this open and honest in our writing before.
You’ve already released a few songs from the album, most recently “Happy People.” Can you tell us a little bit about this track? What inspired it?
As far as the lyrics go, I (Joe P) was just writing down really cynical things that once I sang them over the instrumental, seemed less cynical and more sad. When it came time to write the chorus, all I had was the first "oh" and a bunch of mumbling that went with what is now the line "happy people smile all the time." I just started making this list of things that happy people do or have until I had a page or two of ideas. The second verse is based off of a real news article I happened to come across online about a couple who committed suicide due to financial issues that they felt they couldn't get out from under, and it really stuck with me to the point where I felt I had to write it into the song somehow. Once that was part of the story, the rest of the song made more sense to me and that became the real heart of it. There are also some lyrics towards the end that I actually didn't have written and just sang them during the final vocal take. Those just happened spontaneously.
I also want to talk about the video for “French Blonde” from the album. How did the concept for the video come about?
Similar to almost all of our video concepts, our goal was just to shoot something that fit the song properly while still being relatively simple and affordable, as we have a $0.00 budget in most cases. Instead of titling the video in post production, we decided it would be cool to see someone getting a tattoo that spells out the song title instead. I (Joe P) originally wanted to shave my head throughout the video, but our manager, Pergo, was not fond of the idea. I got the idea for the video being black and white after watching a movie called "Control" which is about Ian Curtis—the lead singer of Joy Division—and there is a scene where the crowd rushes the stage and beats up the band at a concert. It just looked so violent the way it was shot, so we showed that to the director, Anthony Yebra, as a possible vibe for the French Blonde video. Initially, it was going to be me getting beat up, but that became way too difficult to achieve, so it just ended up being a simple performance while still keeping the black and white theme inspired by the movie.
You guys are also about to hit the road with The Wrecks in November! What are you looking forward to on these upcoming tour dates?
We are just so excited to go out and experience everything because we have never done anything like this before. The idea of playing a different city every night and meeting new people all over the country is slowly blowing our minds more and more we think about it, but we cannot wait to go. Also, we usually eat pizza after we play. We are excited to try pizza in every part of America. Being around the NJ/NYC area, there’s a lot of great pizza, and they talk a lot of trash about pizza in other places. But we are embracing it with open hearts and minds.
What would you like fans to take away from LLC or your upcoming live performances?
We really just want people to connect to the songs and the energy on stage because that's what makes it exciting and that's what the music is meant for in the first place. We really hope people listen to the full album in sequence because we put the songs in a particular order that we feel creates a proper listening experience. Or just go on Spotify and listen to the first thirty seconds of each song like the rest of the world!
However people want to hear it is fine with us, but we hope that if they do hear it, they will hit us up after, or come to a show and talk to us about it. Somebody wrote to us after we played live the other day and told us that one of our new songs was deeply meaningful to him in a personal way. It’s so humbling and meaningful to hear that something you created that is personal to you, someone else has a personal connection to that song as well. It’s like it takes on it’s own life beyond us as people and as a band.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
No problem! Thank you for the opportunity. I guess there's really nothing to add besides telling people to come to the shows on this tour and say hello if you're around. If you come to the merch table and say ‘Boomer is a good boy’ we’ll give you something for free!