I had the pleasure of working with Bryce Alber [bottom of picture] during a brief stint at a popular thrift store in Los Angeles. Aside from the discount, the people were the best thing about this particular day job, and Bryce was the coworker who everyone seemed to be entrusting with things previously only shared in a diary. A clear empath, it’s rare to meet someone who seizes every opportunity to make eye contact and smile. When he told me that he’s also a music maker I was immediately looking forward to hearing his stuff since this high sensitivity thing is often accompanied by artistic chops. I finally saw Deep Dark Blue, his recently launched musical project with good friend Jason Ganberg, at Highland Park’s The Hi Hat for their first show last month and was mesmerized. Deep Dark Blue is Bryce’s beautiful, reverb heavy vocals and Jason’s precise and delicate drumming. The two are also responsible for their tracks’ shimmering production which sweeps, chimes, and pulses you into submission. They were accompanied by Zephyr Avalon on bass and the combination was moving.
I’m looking forward to seeing Deep Dark Blue play more shows, bigger stages, and eventually spotting their merchandise all over Echo Park and Brooklyn, but I was glad that Bryce was happy to answer a few questions at a point when it’s still possible to chat with him on stage after a gig.
Where are you two from? When did you meet out here?
Jason is from Swindon, England and I’m from Wichita, Kansas. We met 4 or 5 years ago at a second-hand clothing store we both worked for here in LA.
Did making music together evolve naturally through playing together or did you two decide that you wanted to start a project?
We hung out for years before ever really considering the idea of playing music together. Most of our time spent together consisted of talking about relationships with our families, spirit quests, quotes from the BBC Office and how to feel better about working at weird day jobs. It wasn’t until we realized that we both had an affinity for the band Caribou that we decided making music together was a must. We started writing together with Jason’s laptop and some random synths. We gradually started spending more time playing together and now I guess you could say that we’re going steady.
How long did it take for your sound to develop? Are you coming from the same place influence wise or did you bring different preferences to the table and see what you ended up with?
We’re still very much developing sounds together. One of us will lay out a skeleton for a song and then we can play with the arrangement and filigree for hours, days, months even, before deciding enough is enough. It’s fun making music with someone who doesn’t mind getting lost with you.
Do you have a space at home where you guys like to work and record or are you studio rats?
Using a portable sound card with an excellent mic pre made it easier for us to write and record wherever we could. Sometimes Jason would set up shop at our rehearsal space to track drums or set up microphones at a friend’s place who had a piano we could play. We even tracked vocals in our closets and bathrooms, everywhere was fair game.
Once we had the songs from this first collection of songs completed, we spent 3 days and nights at our friend Erik Colvin’s studio mixing it all. That was a trip! Sitting with someone so knowledgable and willing to hold our ears through the process was a very gratifying experience. Then we reached out to George Graves, who worked on Caribou’s ‘Swim’ album, at Lacquer Channel Mastering and he agreed in helping us make some final adjustments.
I’m sure it won’t be too long before you’re the headliners but what current artist would you love to open for on a national tour?
If it isn’t obvious by now, Caribou! Haha we also really dig James Holden, Kiasmos and Nils Frahm from Erased Tapes Label and now that LCD is back, playing around them would be electrifying! Tame Impala, St. Vincent, Angel Olsen… wow, the list is long! Let’s do this.
Is there a producer you two admire and hope to eventually have in the studio with you?
We really enjoy writing and producing ourselves. All the grunt work of setting things up, recording an indefinite amount of tracks, playing with textures for days, driving ourselves delirious, it’s all satisfying and vital to our well being.
Some people see music in colors.. does Deep Dark Blue have any relationship to this or does it just sound cool and communicate the vibe?
Some say that Blue is seen and felt to be the color of communication. We set some intentions around sharing a sense of happiness that comes from living through unhappiness as well as through great joy; from an endless well of experience or a deep happiness. The name seems to convey that even if it’s only subconscious for most.
What are your favorite planets?
Jason is entering his first Saturn return and I’m on my way out. Saturn is present.