The Depth Beneath Us performs for WITF Music on June 12, 2023. Jeremy Long - WITF News
WITF Music: The Depth Beneath Us
Making music on their own terms.
In an age when it can all be done from home, The Depth Beneath Us focuses their efforts on creating and recording music. Instead of spending long hours on the road and late nights in bars, they’ve opted for online marketing and livestreams to build their fanbase. The band sat down to talk about their philosophy towards music as well as some other random topics. The Depth Beneath Us is: Mike McCormick, guitar; Daniel Eckrich, guitar; Matt Rockman, guitar; Ryan Manning, bass; Wes Shatzer, drums.
Listen to the radio feature:
Joe: Tell me how this band got started.
Mike: So in 2017 I realized with the digital realm, it was easier to record stuff, write stuff and share it with people who are busy. Somebody can put down an idea and you can email it to everybody and everybody else can work on it on their own time.
Dan: I think we just wanted to make a really good album. Because we’re all getting … what is it? Long in the tooth? We’re all getting old. COVID really shut us down for a little bit too. It did everybody. So we’ve been sitting on these songs since 2017. Especially for people like us who are just … I have to create or I go crazy.
Joe: What’s your way of listening to or discovering new music?
Matt: I follow some people on Instagram that will post things from a specific genre, whether it’s instrumental stuff or metal. And very often I’ll just find something from somebody that I know what their taste is and I trust them.
Joe: There used to be these major outlets that sort of curated the music for you. Now it’s like you have to discover your own.
Matt: I try to do it without relying on algorithms as much as possible. Try to keep real people in it because I think that’s more valuable.
Dan: Taylor Swift, 2Chainz, Meatloaf. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Right there. [Laughter]
Joe: Are there any surprises in your playlist?
Dan: I do listen to a lot of hip-hop. The weirdest thing in mine is probably gonna be some Hall and Oates. Which I really dig. And then I listen to a lot of synthwave nowadays too.
Matt: Synthwave, that was my guilty pleasure for a while until I finally just leaned into it. I was like, you know what? This is good. I like this. Just owned it.
Wes: Tears for Fears.
Joe: Do you play out much or is this like a recording project?
Dan: We’ve had one show, one live stream and this right here. This is the only time that we’ve left our little bastion of music creation. Opportunities have come up and I know that we’re all open to it. I know Wes and I having children probably need a month in advance…
Mike: But not even just kids. We all have our daily grind. We all have our different priorities outside of this. That was one the points of me starting the band was in the digital age we can do stuff on our own time and release and work towards getting a good album. We don’t have to play out.
Matt: If you look at the style of music that we play too, you have to look beyond just local if you’re gonna find your audience. And so that was why, when we were looking to get the recording happening, at the same time I’m starting to look into how can we leverage marketing and how can we get this out there to not just to put it on Spotify or Bandcamp and just let it breathe, but actually get people coming to it and finding it.
Dan: I think all we want as we get older too, we just want people to listen. Shows for me were always just segments in time. You go to a show, you go home, that’s it. But a recording lasts forever.
Mike: I would like to know that I can put something out there that touches other people, whether it’s a musician or just somebody who’s just a listener. And our music is different because it is instrumental. It doesn’t have lyrics and doesn’t necessarily connect with everybody. So as Matt was saying, marketing it and finding a way to get to the appropriate audience.
Joe: When you guys are getting familiar with these songs and playing them, do each of you have a certain image in your head or a certain feeling or a certain situation?
Wes: I think for me, whatever space it has been between the last time we all got together and played together, it’s just a lot of built-up anger. And instead of unleashing that on somebody or something, it’s easier to take it out on the drums. Anger management basically.
Shows for me were always just segments in time. You go to a show, you go home, that’s it. But a recording lasts forever.
Mike: An interesting tidbit about the album is everything was written in the order in which the songs are actually on the album. It’s capturing that moment in time. And those different snapshots of life, of what’s happened in the past month, what’s happened in the past week, and having that imprint a little bit on the song.
For me, there’s been times where I’ll take a phobia that I have and I’ll watch a YouTube video about it and then sit down and play guitar and if something cool comes out of it, cool. But again it’s putting myself in an uncomfortable position and then seeing if it affects it at all.
Joe: It seems like you guys are having pretty good success. People are streaming the album, right?
Matt: It really was surprising. When we were in the process of recording this album, I was seeking out how to market this. And I came across this guy on YouTube, Andrew Southworth, he’s got a whole course and a bunch of free videos that take you through step-by-step how to set up your ad campaigns and how to market.
And I know a lot of people feel like marketing can be a dirty word, but if it’s gonna help the music get heard by more people it’s really the way to go. And I was as surprised as everybody when it was working.
Joe: Does it feel weird when you haven’t played many gigs and then you do some marketing wizardry and all of a sudden you have 20,000 streams on Spotify ?
Matt: It’s incredibly rewarding and validating.
Wes: As far as other countries, the response from that definitely is awesome.
Dan: I guess they don’t consider it organic and that’s where marketing kind of becomes a dirty word. But people are listening, and the organic streams are starting to come in now regardless of the advertising. Word of mouth will help it travel eventually. And I have no problem starting off doing some advertising and marketing. You wanna get it to the right people.
Mike: There was one day I was scrolling through Reddit and somebody was like, “Name something that’s like Explosions In The Sky.’ And I’m scrolling through the comments and all of a sudden somebody said our band. And I was like, what? That was the most bizarre thing.
Matt: Some of the people that have reached out, we have stayed in touch with. People have reached out and said, hey, you should play such and such a town across the world somewhere. I’m like, that may or may not happen, but, we would love to.
Mike: This isn’t our job. This This is our passion. This is our hobby. We have commitments and everything else outside of this.
Joe: I love this idea that bands can totally thrive without having to go and subject themselves to super late nights.
Matt: That’s why we look for other ways to do it. Like opportunities to live stream, whether it’s going out someplace to do it or working on setting something up in our own practice space. It’s not the same thing as going to see a live show, but it does approximate that experience.
Dan: I just wanna record music. That’s all I really care about.