Deer Scout tells us the influences behind new album ‘Woodpecker’
NY native Dena Miller's debut LP as Deer Scout, Woodpecker, is out today via Carpark Records. It's full of twee folk gems with a pastoral feel that comes through in the harmonies and strings, and you can stream it below.
We asked Dena to tell us about some of the influences behind Woodpecker, and she made us a list that includes people, places, and music. Read the list, complete with her commentary, below.
Deer Scout has a few East Coast shows coming up this month, including NYC tonight (4/8) at Rubulad with Foyer Red, The Glow, and Awksymoron (tickets), as well as Washington DC, Philadelphia, Battleboro (VT), and more. See all dates below.
DEER SCOUT - INFLUENCES BEHIND WOODPECKER
The City of Brotherly Love
I first started playing shows and feeling like I was part of a music scene in Philly. It felt like everyone I knew there was in a band and being a musician was less of a big deal. Most people I knew lived in houses with basements, so there wasn’t the need to rent a practice space, and the basements also provided a space for all ages shows with no overhead costs, which is a lot rarer in NYC. I know my music sounds more “bedroom” (or “kitchen”?) than “basement” but I think the abundance of basements in Philly has a lot to do with me making music, as well as the inclusivity of the music scene there.
My friend and old roommate Nina Josephson makes incredible art—prints, drawings, digital art, and felted creatures. They are these extremely expressive characters and personifications that spark a lot of empathy and emotion. I lived in a house with her and her and her art while I was writing a lot of the songs on the album. The album cover is a painting that she made. You can see more of her art here.
My first bandmate, Ko Takasugi-Czernowin, lived across the hall from me in college. I had listened to their Bandcamp before I introduced myself to them, and by the time I asked them to play music together, I was already very familiar with their songs and a fan. They were studying composition/experimental music in the Conservatory, and their music is a lot more complicated and full of unexpected maneuvers, whereas mine is a lot more straightforward and simple. Now they make and produce pop music. Being in a band with them definitely pushed me and influenced how I hear and write music. Their Bandcamp is here.
Jenny Lewis is one of my favorite songwriters. She’s an incredible storyteller and she captures a level of detail in her songs that’s hyperrealistic, vivid, and candid. "Rabbit Fur Coat" is a ballad about a mother-daughter relationship where, over the course of the song’s 4 minutes, you feel like you’ve known both of them for decades. “Does He Love You,” (Rilo Kiley) is a multi-act, multiple perspective anthem that’s catchy and biting and completely pulls you into a world. Her ability to write songs with multiple distinct, complex characters is on another level.
Hop Along - freshman year
There’s just nothing else out there like this album. I don’t think my description can do it justice, but I know I’m not alone in considering Frances Quinlan an influence. Their lyrics are so vivid and detailed but at the same time dreamlike and surreal. I also feel like dreaming and songwriting are related processes or live in the same part of the brain—they both make sense of things more intuitively or affectively than literally. My favorite songs off freshman year are "Bruno is Orange" and "Laments of a Mattress," which they re-recorded on Get Disowned (the title track is also one of my favorite songs, and was a reference for "Breaking the Rock.") There’s also an 11-minute song that’s only on YouTube called "Second Voice" that I love. The refrain, "I don’t live in no cave, I just live in the dark like most people do" is one of my favorite lines. I love going to their shows because other Hop Along fans often have the same deep level of admiration and know the band’s whole discography, too.
DEER SCOUT: 2022 TOUR
4/8 - New York, NY @ Rubulad w/ Foyer Red, The Glow, Awksymoron
4/9 - Washington, DC @ The Pocket w/ Spring Silver, Carmen Canedo
4/10 - Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA w/ Shannen Moser, Ther, Sadurn
4/27 - Keene, NH @ Nova Arts, w/ Derek Russell Fimbell
4/28 - Greenfield, MA @ 10Forward w/ Eli Liguz, Mia Huggs
4/29 - Brattleboro, VT @ Tender Spot w/ Thuslove
4/30 - Winooski, VT @ Monkey House w/ Silt