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by Keavin Wiggins

Depswa may be a new name to you at the moment but chances are in a few months that will all change once their debut album hits stores and they bring their live show to fans across the US on this summer's Ozzfest. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Depswa frontman Jeremy Penick to get a little background on the band, the dangers of insects on the road and a look into their debut album. Here is our first look at this explosive new group.

RNW: Since this will be the first exposure most of our readers will have to Depswa, I’d like to do some background questions. First: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it yet? 

Jeremy: I would say it’s definitely heavy in melody and emotion. It goes from extreme to extreme. Extremely soft in some parts to extremely heavy. Really no boundaries. Mostly, songs I hope that leave you thinking. 

RNW: Is there any general overall themes to your songs? A certain message or subject matter?

Jeremy: Each song is different. Each song comes from a different time a different place. To me each song has it’s own vibe and character. 

RNW: You’ve guys have done a number of EP’s over the years, did any of those songs end up on the album?

Jeremy: Yeah, like some of the demos and stuff we did. We did all of the demos ourselves or our friend with help us with them and all those, well some of those old songs are on the record but there are still a lot of them didn’t make it too. 

RNW: Any plans to reissue the EP’s down the line for your new fans?

Jeremy: The demos? I don’t know about the demos. I’d really like to record them for real, do a real good job on them. Most of the demos, we’d do in like a day or two and just crank it out. You know the sound quality and everything, it was all right but it wasn’t everything that it could be. 

RNW: Do you guys have a release date for the album yet?

Jeremy: You know what, it’s no later than May, is what they’re saying. We had February 24th but they pushed it back and said “no, it won’t be no later than May”. I think April is when the single comes out. Within the next couple of months I would say.

RNW: Do you have any personal favorite tracks from the album?

Jeremy: I don’t know, I like em all! 

RNW: You recorded your debut with producer Howard Benson. How was it working with him? 

Jeremy: It was great! I think we all actually learned immensely. I’m also interested myself in recording and stuff, I have my own little studio and I learned just a great deal about how they really record an album. And you know, just listening to different peoples opinions and perspectives on music was really enlightening and got to see the inside of the way things… I always wondered how they were done and it was really cool for all of us to go through that experience. We definitely grew. 

RNW: Where did the title “Two Angels and A Dream” come from?

Jeremy: One of the songs is called “Two Angels and A Dream”. The song is kind of a metaphor between like wrong and right or heaven and hell, whatever. The chorus goes, “..and I caught between two angels and a dream. One is pulling at my heart, the other ripps the seams.” It’s sort of a metaphor between wrong and right sort of tugging at you at the same time and trying to figure out which way to go or if you’re gonna stay in the middle somehow. 

RNW: I know you get this question in every interview, where the name came from?

Jeremy: Yeah, initially we were a band called Carcinogen years ago and we had a demo and we named it Depswa and we got that name, for the demo, because we were a little more tribal sounding, had a lot more drums, we did like drum solos and where it came from actually was one of us watched “Medicine Man” and saw in there, in the movie “Medicine Man” Sean Connery is in a Venezuelan rainforest and he’s looking for the cure for cancer, he’s studying this and in the Venezuelan rainforest there is a tribe that he is working with and the medicine man or the healer they called the “Depswa”. 

RNW: So the name just sort of fit with what you guys were into. 

Jeremy: Yeah, we wanted a name that had no stigma. Which was kind of cool. We were just like, you know, when it came time to change the name our music was changing so we were like “I think it’s time to change our name” because Carcinogen has such a stigma, like a death metal band, smoke whatever, you get all these images in your mind but Depswa nobody knows what the hell it is.  It’s either the word you never heard before or you’ve heard of the band obviously. 

RNW: You guys started out as an instrumental metal band. How did you guys evolve over the years going from the instrumental band to what you are today?

Jeremy: Well, it’s gone a few different shades, it’s just.. like me and two other guys years ago we started a band, we were a three-piece instrumental. It came time to record, we had a bunch of material and wanted to record a demo. We had no signer, and there were no singers where we lived, we lived up in Northern California by Turtle Rock. And I just thought, maybe I’d at least give it a try. That’s when I started (singing) right then and later down the road the bass player quit and that’s when we got Ryan. Then we moved to LA, just to get away from people and concentrate on music and then the drummer parted ways with us and we got our new drummer Gordon, of almost a year and half now. I’ve known Dan for years, even before Carcinogen, I played with him in a band up in Sacramento, so when we came down to LA I asked him to join the band. That’s kind of how it all meshed together. 

RNW: Was it like a big culture shock going from up in Northern Cal to LA? 

Jeremy: It was really interesting; it felt like I was in a whole new world. I think it was helpful to creativity and I was there for music, just period. To concentrate on music, we rented a house which I’m still living in that’s in an industrial area by the city dump in Sun Valley and you can practice all night long, so we got a lot of practice done there and we did all of our demos and everything there. That place where I live is a pretty special place. 

RNW: Now you guys have been together five years…

Jeremy: Yeah, as we are right now.

RNW: That’s a long time waiting for something to break, did you guys ever get discouraged along the lines, thinking “this thing ain’t gonna happen,” you know what I mean?

Jeremy: Yeah, you know what we’re… everybody wants to be noticed and wants to be appreciated but I know from many different experiences that things don’t always come out the way you think they are. Regardless, you can’t go forward if you quit. We love music and that was the whole thing, we just wanted to improve on our songwriting and really develop our sound. I guess get more intensity of emotion in the songs musically and lyrically. 

RNW: So do you think the deal (with Geffen) came about right at the right time?

Jeremy: I think so, yeah. I think the album has a great bunch of songs on it and they’ve come, I think the oldest song on there is probably 3 – 2 ½ years old. So we had a lot of material to pick from to make this album. 

RNW: Cool, I heard that you were considering a deal with Slipknot’s vanity label, Maggot Corps but decided to go with Geffen instead.  What happened there?

Jeremy: We were confronted by Corey from Slipknot, he really liked the band. But when all that happened Geffen got involved also so it was kind of a bidding thing and who had more to offer. It was nothing personal, we love Corey and we appreciate everything but to be honest I think it was kind of a lucky deal because their label folded shortly after we signed with Geffen. 

RNW: Yeah and Geffen has a track record to go with.

Jeremy: Exactly, and you know we had to make the right decision for our career. 

RNW: So how has it been working with Geffen so far? 

Jeremy: they take care of us. I think they appreciate us, which I think is really cool. And we’re willing to work, because we’ve always worked.. our motto has always been “we have to work twice as hard to get half as far as anybody else.” So we’ve got that attitude going into everything and whatever we get, we usually feel we’ve worked for twice over.  So we stay very modest and the label really supports us so it’s really cool. 

RNW: Has there been any major surprises? You know preconceived ideas you might have had about what it would be like to get signed and things turned out differently? 

Jeremy: Yeah, you know I was looking from the outside in like everybody else who is not in the business who say “I’d love to do this, this is great,” but there’s a lot of weird stuff on the inside once you get in there and you’re like “wow, I didn’t realize this is exactly how it was.” But you know, such is life and that’s the way things are everywhere a lot of times. It looks good in the store window, you get it home it might be a piece of s***. You never know, it might be just as good as what you thought. 

RNW: So what’s your songwriting process like? 

Jeremy: Usually I’ll come up with a melody on the guitar, some riffs and stuff. Then I’ll hear something in my head, a vocal melody over it and what I’ll do is I’ll introduce it to the band a lot of time and we’ll just start building off of what the band does. Usually, I won’t write the song entirely because I like to feel the band out, like musically, like what kind of things they’re gonna put in it. Then we all sort of combine our minds and start building it and start shaping it. And usually by the time the music is done, I’ve got some ideas for the lyrics. 

RNW: You’ve shared the stage with quite a few notable bands.  What were the most memorable shows or tours for you? 

Jeremy: In Oregon we played with Rob Zombie, Switched, il nino, Adema. We played a couple of shows, huge shows like ten to fourteen thousand people and I remember one time at one of the shows out there, I was signing some autographs for people, then I stopped for a little bit and everybody left and I went to the bathroom. I took a piss and came out and there was a bunch of kids waiting there for me and I was signing and all of sudden there was this immense pain in my penis. I didn’t know what the hell it was, I was thinking a spider bit me or whatever. I finished up signing the autographs in total pain, it was just immense pain and I went back into the porto-potty and pulled down my shorts and there was a bee singer in my…

RNW: oh Jesus! 

Jeremy: The bee was like totally flopping around inside my pants. I guess when I went to the bathroom before it dropped down into my pants and I didn’t even know it. 

RNW: Ah man!! 


Jeremy: I was in pain a couple of days… (laughs)

RNW: That’s probably one of the craziest road stories I’ve ever heard! 


Jeremy: yeah and nobody believes it! How in the hell does a bee get in your pecker? What is the deal with that. I must have deserved that for doing something wrong, I don’t know. 

RNW: You ever write a song about it?


RNW: Man, that’s hard to top… who would you most like to tour with? Is there like one band that you’d really love to tour with?

Jeremy: Really not one band, there are a lot of bands that we’d really love to be able to see every night and it would be amazing. Like my favorite bands like Radiohead, that would probably be a bill that would never be made but I love Radiohead, Perfect Circle, Tool, and then there are so many other new, up and coming, bands too. I like onesidezero, Apex Theory is cool, we have such a diverse influence of music we’d love to tour with just about anybody. The Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age… there are some great bands out there! 

RNW: So would you say that those are your main influences? 

Jeremy: Not all of them, we’ll they all influence me but I have so many different influences from Tori Amos to Bjork, you got like Jeff Buckley, there are just countless numbers of CD’s that I’ve gotten inspiration from.

RNW: Cool, so you have really eclectic taste.

Jeremy: Yeah, I think that’s what’s really cool about this band; we’re all a very eclectic bunch of guys. We don’t have one style of music we just listen to. Everybody has an immense catalog. 

RNW: So I take it you bring that into your songwriting as well.

Jeremy: Yeah, we don’t have any boundaries in our music. We play what we feel I guess. Whatever comes out. We don’t really like imitate anybody we just kind of take stuff like your feelings or something. 

RNW: So you aren’t like some of those bands out there that says, “ok this is what’s hot on the radio, let’s write that!” 

Jeremy: No (laughs) We didn’t even know. When we were writing this stuff I think it’s kind of different music from what’s out there. I don’t even know if people are gonna get this. As we kept going on, we were like I guess we are radio friendly. 

RNW: So where would you like to be in five years?

Jeremy: Let’s see that’s a long time.. Geez, I don’t know. Hopefully had toured around the world and I’d love to get into producing also, eventually. You know recording, helping out young bands and hopefully have some sort of success with this. And just be able to live modestly and live playing music. That’ always been my dream. It’s been all of our dreams. It’s always really cool when you are able to work at what you really want to do in life. I feel really fortunate and I know everybody else in the band does too. Hopefully we have longevity. 

RNW: Well if you’re doing your own thing it sounds like you probably will. Those are the bands that stick around. 

Jeremy: We’ll see. I’ll talk to you in five years! 

On that note the interview came to an end. A couple days later I finally got a hold of a copy of Depswa's debut and was very impressed. Those last few lines of the interview rung out loud and clear. The music is there and if luck is on their side we will be talking with Jeremy in five years about the breakthrough success of Depswa. This is rock n' roll and anything can happen but they do have the goods to back them up so we'll have to wait and see where the road leads them next. Until then check out the links below to learn more about the group!   ...and look for more on the band right here! 

Want More

Official Website - learn more about the band and preview songs from their debut album


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