Chelsea (WWU): Tell everyone your name(s) and what you do in DejaGravy.
Ben (DejaGravy): My name is Ben but I am also referred to as Vater. I am the bass player and noise maker in DejaGravy. The other half of DejaGravy is my best friend and life mate Ricky. Ricky plays drums, makes noise, and is also stunningly handsome.
WWU: DejaGravy is a pretty crazy name. How did you come up with that?
DejaGravy: Oooooh boy. So. I was on a new level of awareness and experiencing some strange things. At one point I said “it feels like I'm having Deja Vu while someone pours gravy on my brain” and I wrote down DejaGravy.
WWU: Is there a genre you’d say you fall under?
DejaGravy: We kind of fall under a few genres. Some say we're doom metal. Some say we're stoner metal or sludge metal. I've even heard people say we are “psych metal”. The way I always described it is that we are just 2 slow and heavy guys playing slow and heavy music.
WWU: What influences your sound? Anyone or anything in particular?
DejaGravy: Horror movies, bad dreams, and insomnia is a good thing to start with. On the music side, we love bands such as Melvins, Sleep, & Secret Chiefs 3. We also have our own personal inspirations. Ricky, for example, listens to jam bands and somewhat follows Phish while I lean towards Swans and hardcore punk. We enjoy each other's music as well so it really works out. Ricky takes me to Phish shows. I take Ricky to Dillinger Escape Plan (R.I.P) shows.
WWU: Can you take me through your writing process?
DejaGravy: The writing process is random with us. Sometimes its me alone in my basement making noise until I have something to show Ricky. Other times we record ourselves jamming for an hour or two and later go back to pick out parts we really liked. Some songs start as jokes. We'll be just fooling around and being dumb when suddenly we stop and go “Woah. Wait. Let's do that again”.
WWU: How has your sound changed since you first started?
DejaGravy: Not too much! Since Ricky and I started full time we've kept the same vibe going while trying to mix it up. An example would be that Purgatory Dawn & Coven are more trippy/spacey while keeping the heavy but Visitor and Lost Wards(our split with Cotard) is more on the heavy riff side while slightly keeping the trippy-ness.
WWU: How long has DejaGravy been a band?
DejaGravy: DejaGravy has been a recording name for me since 2009 so almost 10 years! However, I didn't start actively start playing out with Ricky until 2013. “Fancy Noise Volume 1” from 2009 was more of an experimental noise surf metal acid jazz freeform mind fuck. 2012’s “Embalming” is when I started doing more of the droney stoner stuff.
WWU: Do you have any shows coming up or any tours planned?
DejaGravy: We just played with Mac Sabbath this week(which was groovy). Other than that, I heard we are playing at the Meatlocker on May 12th but I don't have details yet. Other than that, we are trying to book a tour with our good friends in Moot Point this summer! We recorded in January and are already writing our next few releases so the shows have slowed down for a moment(but not for long).
WWU: Do you have a favorite city or venue to play? Favorite city?
DejaGravy: It's not a city but the Pine Barrens was my favorite place that we've played so far. We played at Mad Liberation Festival which is a 2 day festival at a campsite. Our stage last year was an abandoned cabin in the woods that was painted in black light responsive paint. We tried to summon the Jersey Devil but didn't succeed. However, we did awaken something that night. Other than that, we love basements, attics, VFW's. Smaller venues and more intimate settings, please. Places we frequent would be the Meatlocker and Boontunes.
WWU: Speaking of shows, do you have any pre-show rituals?
DejaGravy: Sort of! We always seem to listen to Wu-Tang Clan, Cypress Hill, The Roots or something else from our youth on the way to shows. Other than that, we have another ritual we do right before we go on stage but I'm going to leave that to the reader's imagination. Do we wear the skins of our enemies and perform a rain dance? Do we summon spirits? Do we sit on a couch and share funny memes? Maybe we bathe ourselves in virgins blood? Who knows. Come see us live and find out.
WWU: What direction do you see your band going in? Is this project more of a career move or hobby?
DejaGravy: Heavier and slower! Haha. I have a few ideas. We are always trying to find ways to keep it interesting and trying new things without losing the essence. DejaGravy is therapy. It's a release. We do what we do because we love it and it makes us feel good. While we would LOVE to make a career out of this, it isn't the main objective. DejaGravy is making music with my best friend and doing whatever we want. I wouldn't change a thing.
WWU: Do you have any advice for anyone trying to start a band?
DejaGravy: Practice. Go support other band shows. Be open minded. Most of all, have fun! If it becomes work then what's the point of even doing it?
WWU: Anything you want to add?
DejaGravy: We have a split coming out with Please Exist in a few months. We are also going to be releasing a split with Moot Point and will hopefully be touring with them this summer. Please check out Please Exist and Moot Point! ALSO, we are now on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, etc etc so...stream away!
WWU: Ok, one last thing. Sheetz or Wawa?
DejaGravy: I'm so thankful this wasn't the “pork roll or taylor ham” question. Haha. I'm not sure how Ricky would answer but I'm going with Sheetz.
Interviewer - Chelsea Grega
For an interview, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for an application.