Deeper and Corridor Try to Save a House Plant

The bands catch up about milk sprays, Depeche Mode, Mimi, and more.

Nic Gohl, Drew McBride, Shiraz Bhatti, and Kevin Fairbairn are the Chicago-based post-punk band Deeper; Dominic Berthiaume is the vocalist/bassist for the Montreal-based band Corridor. In the late winter of 2020, the two bands had just embarked on a tour together, before COVID obviously halted it. But now, four years later, they’re labelmates on Sub Pop! Corridor released their latest record, Mimi, in March, and Deeper just wrapped up a tour opening for Depeche Mode in Europe. To celebrate it all, Drew Zoomed in from NYC, Dominic from Montreal, and Nic, Shiraz, and Kevin from Deeper’s practice space in Chicago. 
— Annie Fell, Editor-in-chief, Talkhouse Music 

Nic Gohl: I like your your plants, Dom. 

Dominic Berthiaume: Oh, thanks. This one behind me is actually dying. It was so big before, but last year there was a kind of destructive bug and it ate all of the leaves. We’re still trying to save it, but it’s been almost a year that it’s fighting for its life. [Laughs.] 

Drew McBride: The same thing happened to us. We had to buy some special bug spray.

Dominic: Yeah, we tried everything — the spray, the showers, this white powder. Nothing worked. 

Nic: I used to grow weed plants and this guy told me about this spray you can make with unpasteurized milk and water, and you spray the leaves with it. The fat barriers on your leaves are destroyed by pests like that, so this is a way for the fat barriers and the cells to reform. I’ll send you a recipe.

Dominic: But does it smell like milk?

Nic: Yeah, it smells bad. My plants were outdoors, so it wasn’t that bad. But it does smell weird.

Shiraz Bhatti: Do a turmeric spray, that kills off a lot of parasites. 

Drew: You just have to be committed to the cause. You have to be ready for moldy milk to smell up your apartment if you want to save this plant.

Nic: You gotta get on the Reddit forums, dog.

Drew: So, how’s the rollout of the record been?

Dominic: It’s been great so far! People seem to enjoy it. Good reviews. It’s exciting finally putting out an album after all those years. 

Drew: We had a tour around both of our [2020] records, so it’s crazy flash forwarding four years.

Dominic: Yeah, you guys didn’t didn’t waste time. [Laughs.] 

Drew: We wasted lots of time, don’t worry. [Laughs.] 

Dominic: Yeah, I know what you’re talking about. You put out a record in 2020 and then the other one in 2023… But you didn’t stop touring. Once everything came back to normal, you guys kept on going on tours. 

Drew: Oh, before it was even normal. We got COVID on the road and were stranded in Europe.

Dominic: [Laughs.] That sounds nice!

Kevin Fairbairn: You know, the second you see someone asking you to do something — it’s mid-2021 and they’re like, “Hey, do you want to play four shows here?” And you’re like, “Yes, yes, I want to do that.” Then it just keeps going from there and you’re like, “Oh, the only thing that there is to do now is play shows.”

Nic: Yeah, all of our numbers were inflated because there was no other shows going on. 

Shiraz: It was like, “Damn, it’s really happening, boys! We’re blowing up! We sold out the half capacity—”

[Shiraz, Nic, and Kevin’s connection cuts out.]

Dominic: I think we lost them.

Drew: Oh, no! Let me text them. But I mean, we hit the road but we definitely had our share of of trials and tribulations. It was great to see you guys when you played the Indieplaza thing [Rough Trade’s festival at Rockefeller Center in NYC] a few weeks ago. That was awesome.

Dominic: Thanks, it was unexpected. I think what happened was that Water From Your Eyes had to bail — because they played in front of, like, 160K people in Mexico instead. We took their spot and it was really cool to be there. It was our first time in Manhattan. We’ve been a band for, like, 10 years and it was the first time in Manhattan. [Laughs.] 

[Shiraz, Nic, and Kevin rejoin the call.

Nic: We’re back, motherfuckers. 

Dominic: What’s up!

Nic: Yeah, we’re in, like, a concrete box right now, in our practice space.

Dominic: It looks nice. Looks like a classic rehearsal space. 

Kevin: Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, actually.

Drew: It’s like the most Chicago thing possible — it’s a former Polish sausage factory that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It doesn’t look like a Frank Lloyd Wright building, though.

Nic: Still smells like sausage.

Dominic: Have you always been in that space?

Nic: Yeah, for the most part. Before, I had a house with some people and we practiced in the basement. It was called the Icehouse. 

Dominic: That’s nice.

Shiraz: Scary spot. 

Nic: Yeah. And then we moved here with a few other Chicago bands. Now it’s just us and Dehd that practice here. 

Shiraz: At one point, I think there were five bands in here, which was really wild.

Dominic: At Icehouse, were you throwing shows there?

Nic: No, we just had a recording space in the basement. There might have been another Icehouse somewhere else, but we were named after the beer company. It was just like a Section 8 house, and me four other people lived in it. So it was tight. But, yeah, moved out of there and we moved into this space. That was probably the the best thing, because I feel like when you’re practicing out of somebody’s house, you never get anything done, and you have to worry about all the roommates and shit like that.

Drew: But we’ve had a pretty good cast of bands. Back in the day we used to share it with NE-HI, and then Jason [Balla] started Dehd, so then we were sharing with NE-HE, Dehd, Kev’s old band Clearance, Stuck… Who else?

Nic: Lala Lala.

Dominic: Wow. House of great bands.

Nic: Yeah.

Shiraz: We don’t vacuum the rug so we can keep all that energy over the years.

Nic: We recorded the self-titled in this room as well, our first record. A lot of shit’s gone down here. And actually, it goes further back, too, because it’s Rise Against’s old space. 

Dominic: Really? 

Nic: Yeah, they wrote on the wall… [Nic angles the camera to show the wall.] It says “give up” here. 

Dominic: Wow, yeah.

Nic: Even the celebrities are doubting themselves, man.

Dominic: Were you fans of Rise Against when you were teenagers? 

Nic: Yeah, I saw them at Summerfest in Milwaukee when I was a freshman in high school. And there was an army sign-up booth right by their stage, and they were like, “Fuck the US Army! They’re just selling your lives away!” And everyone was like, “Yeah, fuck you!” It was the most punk thing I did when I was, like, 14. It was pretty cool.

Drew: I did see them at Warped Tour once.

Dominic: Yes, me too. I was a fan when I was a teenager, like early 2000s — I think 2001, 2002. Actually, I think I discovered them at one of my first ever Montreal shows — I’m from the suburbs of Montreal and it was one of the first shows where I took the train and I went to see a punk rock show. I think they were playing with AFI, Catch 22… It was just a big bill of punk rock bands, like Fat Records. I discovered them at this point and was like, “Oh, yeah, this is my jam!” 

Drew: I want to know what that lineup was. 2002, or is that too early? I see AFI, Bad Religion, The Damned, Good Charlotte… Does that sound like the year?

Dominic: Yeah, it sounds like it, for sure.

Drew: AFI played, like, every year.

Kevin: AFI played every year of Warped Tour? 

Drew: I mean, they played a lot of them. 

Kevin: They were like Shellac at Primavera. [Laughs.]

Dominic: So, guys, how was the Depeche Mode tour?

Nic: It was tight. I’m wearing the shirt right now. 

Dominic: Damn! They must sell it for, like, $150. 

Drew: Yeah. But, you know, the euro is pretty weak right now, so it was affordable.

Dominic: How is it playing in stadiums? How was the vibe? Did you feel like people were into it, or like they were just waiting for Depeche Mode to play?

Kevin: People liked it more than I thought they would. I thought we would feel pretty cold up there most of the time, but it was actually a lot better than I thought. I think over the course of the tour, so many of those people go to multiple shows, so maybe people were a little more familiar with what we were doing. But Drew, you say this a bunch — the reception would be really good or we would feel good about it, and then we would get off stage and they would play this Climate Pledge charity thing. This video announcement would come on and Martin from Depeche Mode would say a couple words, and the second his face showed up on screen, the whole stadium would erupt. [Laughs.] 

Drew: We would play and it was like, “Oh, yeah, good job.” And then it’d be a pre-recorded climate video and everyone’s like, “YEAH!!!” [Laughs.] Like, “Oh, even a Climate Pledge video is getting a bigger applause than us.” I think the coolest thing was from the stage — all these shows were sold out, so you would look at the top of the 300 section and every single seat had a head in it.

Shiraz: It was crazy.

Kevin: They were like, “There’s actually not going to be that many people there when you guys play, don’t get psyched out about that. There’s going to be, like, 30% of the crowd and they’ll shuffle in right after you play.” And that seemed to not be the case at all. These Depeche Mode fans were lining up for the door, like, five hours before the show. 

Shiraz: Yeah, we’d show up for soundcheck and people would already be in line.

Kevin: Like, thousands of people.

Nic: There were these dudes camping out in front of the last three shows in Cologne, and they were there for two weeks before the show. One of the guys died in his tent — it was two guys that went to the show together — and they found his body after, like, three days. And his buddy still went to the show! 

Dominic: No!

Nic: Yeah. These motherfuckers are crazy, dude. We’d be walking around — especially in Cologne because we were there for a week and there was three shows — it felt like every one out of 20 people was wearing a Depeche Mode shirt. That’s maybe a little inflated, but it was seriously insane. No matter where you were, at some point you were going to see somebody with one. So it seems like everything’s going well for them. I was a little nervous for them for a little bit, but… [Laughs.]

Kevin:  It’s good to see them above water.

Drew: You’re rooting for them. You know, 50 years in, you don’t know how it’s going to go.

Nic: You don’t know if it’s going to be some sort of Nelly thing, where there’s only 200 people at the 20,000 cap venue, you know? 

Kevin: That happened to Nelly?

Nic: Yeah. When was the last time you were guys on the internet? Come on.

Kevin: I don’t know, I haven’t gone to Google and searched Nelly in a while.

Shiraz: Man, I grew up on Country Grammar. I would have been there. Guess I’m a bad fan.

Drew: So, Dom, you’re leaving for Europe today?

Dominic: Yes. I gotta leave, I think, in six hours.

Kevin: So you’re thinking about packing right now? 

Dominic: Kind of. We’re bringing merch with us and we only have one extra luggage, so I’m trying to fit band merch in my own luggage, and now I have to figure out how to put my own clothes in my baggage. 

Kevin: Well, worse comes to worse, you can just wear your own merch. That’s what Nic does. 

Nic: Yeah, that’s what I do most of the time. I’m just too poor to buy another shirt, so usually it’s just easier to take one of ours. 

Dominic: And you know it’s clean.

Nic: Exactly, yeah. Sometimes I just put it back in the shirt pile, too.

Dominic: [Laughs.] It adds even more value. You look at the person buying it like, “You know, I wore this one. You should never wash it.”

Kevin: “Oh, yeah, ‘large’? Good size.”

Nic: “Yeah, that one just smells weird because of where it was in the car. It’s not because I was…” [Laughs.]  

Dominic: So talking about fans and and stuff, we just played for the first time in Mexico and it was sick. And I think it’s the weirdest thing that I signed ever — a fan came to me and asked me to sign his beer can. What was the weirdest thing you have signed after a show?

Nic: I signed somebody’s vape pen once. When we played Pitchfork, we did this CHIRP Radio meet and greet booth and people had to sign merch and stuff, and this person had one of those big ass vape rigs. That was honestly the tightest thing I think I’ve ever signed. Beyond that, nothing too crazy.

Kevin: When I was really young, maybe 6 or 7 years old, I was in the Denver airport and I saw this basketball player David Robinson there. I said to my mom, “Mom, that’s David Robinson. Can we talk to him?” She looked at me — and he’s, like, 7’2” and the most jacked man that’s ever lived — and she was like, “Before we go up, are you sure that’s him?” I was like, “Yes.” So I went up to him and I was like, “Are you David Robinson?” And he just looked around and was like, “Alright, let’s go over there in that corner.” Like he didn’t want to create a scene. And we went in the corner—

Nic: This guy does not sound like he was him. It sounds like you’re being abducted by some random stranger.

Kevin: [Laughs.] He was like, “Alright, I don’t have much time, but it’s really nice to meet you. Do you have something for me to sign?” And my mom starts fumbling around — we didn’t have anything, but on the flight to Denver, I had almost gotten sick, and my mom took the barf bag from the plane. 

Dominic: No!

Kevin: She brings it out and she’s like, “I think this is all we have.” 

Dominic: [Laughs.] Wow.

Kevin: He had won the MVP the year before, and he signed my barf bag.

Dominic: Do you still have it?

Kevin: I don’t have it in my apartment, but it’s in my parents’ house. It used to be in my bedroom pretty prominently displayed. So that’s the weirdest thing I’ve had signed.

Nic: I don’t think you can really beat that one. 

Kevin: So when you guys go to Europe, what’s the spot you look forward to?

Dominic: Uh, France. [Laughs.] On this tour, we’re actually not going to France, but in November we’re doing a two week tour of only France. So it’s like a vacation, you know? It’s weird because, I think our very first Europe tour was only France, but we have a very fun and great memory of that. Because when you tour only France, you’re only traveling two or three hours per day, so you can party, you can get up late. So earlier this year we asked our European agent, “Can you just book a France tour?” And he actually did it. So it should be should be fun. Because European tours are always super hectic — you wake up in Amsterdam and the next day you have to be in London. 

Shiraz: You don’t know what language to speak at the gas station sometimes. 

Dominic: Yeah, yeah.

Kevin: Yeah, we love touring Europe, but one of the things is by the end of the tour there’s — I wouldn’t call it “culture shock,” but when every day you’re waking up in a different country, at the end of it you’re like, “Oh, man, I gotta switch gears again?” 

Dominic: Yeah, absolutely. Well, it was a pleasure talking to you guys right before leaving!

Kevin: Yeah, have a great tour! 

Shiraz: Enjoy yourself, bro.

(Photo Credit: left, Drake Sweeney; right, Dominic Berthiaume)

Deeper‘s Shiraz Bhatti, Nic Gohl, and Drew McBride take a thoughtful and direct approach with their songwriting, yielding spry melodies and inventive structures. It’s a clever combination of jagged post-punk and refined indie rock. A tightly wound rhythm section teeters on the edge, but is anchored by intricate guitar interplay and saturated with an enigmatic spirit. Their first album, 2018’s Deeper channeled the anxiety of change in everyday life and navigating the unhinged political atmosphere. Run takes a more existential approach, reaching down past the emotion and staring back at the inner.

Backed by an astutely scientific cover of the John Maus rarity “Bennington”, Deeper sheds the searching bottled up in previous material, carving out an ambit distinctly their own. Brisk, pointed and efficient, and no note wasted, Run b/w Bennington, a new 7 Inch out in October 2019, sets the stage for the Chicago trio’s sophomore LP.

(Photo Credit: Brendan Carroll)