The Gritty Birds Podcast: Deep Sea Diver

Vortex Music Magazine

Jeni Wren Stottrup caught up with husband-and-wife team Jessica Dobson and Peter Mansen to discuss Deep Sea Diver’s latest release and their future now that they've started their own label. Tune in to XRAY.fm every Thursday from 1 to 1:30pm for new episodes.

Jessica Dobson and Peter Mansen—the married half of the Seattle-based band Deep Sea Diver—have great senses of humor. This is something that has served them well during the long journey of releasing their latest record, Secrets, this past spring on their new label High Beam Records.

“Things just weren’t coming together. We didn’t have a tour, we didn’t have a publicist, we didn’t have a radio campaign company,” says Mansen of the band’s decision to shelve the record for nearly a year before its release.

Mansen and Dobson first met while Dobson was visiting Seattle. At the time, she was ​​signed to Atlantic ​​and working with famed producer Paul Eck. “He [Mansen] was trying to finagle his way on the record,” Dobson jokes.

From big label contracts to tours with greats such as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Shins, Dobson had made a name for herself as an artist to watch before releasing the first Deep Sea Diver EP, New Caves.

When Mansen came on board, he jokes, “I just made her life a lot harder. We come at music from such completely different angles. To finally get to the end result is very tenuous and very trying. To get that final result can be worth it.”

The new album of orchestral and modular indie rock fuses math with screaming guitars under Dobson’s affecting voice. At times tender, yet always with a biting edge of urgency, ​a​ constant feel of movement inform​s and guide​s the album.

“For this band, it’s much more collaborative. In the back of my mind I always have the producer mentality. But I finish most of the songs where Peter starts a spark—an idea—or the band sets a vibe. I’ll run with that,” says Dobson of the band’s writing chemistry. “When it’s a collaborative experience, I’m definitely more the arranger, songwriter [or] producer.”

With the latest record finally out, the band is back to work, traveling in support of the album and working on their third full-length—“letting the record take its own shape,” Dobson says.

Regarding their future, they are open-minded and ready to step back into creative mode, having learned from the process of starting their own label to release Secrets.

“It is more legitimate now because we’ve learned a lot,” says Dobson, who is ready to step away from the business side to focus on the driving force behind it all. “It’s hard. We are the label. This is a business. Creativity should come first.”

Get gritty listening to the whole interview below and then tune in to XRAY.fm every Thursday from 1 to 1:30pm for new episodes of The Gritty Birds Podcast, plus find extended cuts on iTunes.

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