Interview: The Deafening Colors Transmogrified

For The Deafening Colors, a rock band based in Morristown, New Jersey, it all started with a tape recorder suspended from the ceiling.

The band’s founding members – vocalist/guitarist John Arthur, 25, and guitarist Cris Slotoroff, 24 – started playing together ten years ago, and that tape recorder caught the first notes the budding musicians produced. Now, the band has their first full-length album, Upstairs, recorded and available to download at music site Arthur told Cultural Transmogrifier that an official release date is in the works, and the band will play festival shows on the east coast this summer.

It’s a happy time for The Deafening Colors, and their hard work and meticulous style of writing is evident throughout Upstairs. Slotoroff said the band’s sound comes from growing up with Arthur in Atlantic City. He also credits the beaches of New Jersey with shaping the band’s sound; Slotoroff is a surfing enthusiast, and spends a lot of time catching waves in Ocean City.

“Our stuff is east coast surfside,” said Slotoroff, who added that the solitude of surfing fuels his creativity.

“Island Full of Christians” showcases the “beachy” sound Slotoroff referred to. The tune has a catchy hook but also contains slightly melancholy guitar tones. This song is the perfect soundtrack to a late summer day at the beach. Although the song is laid-back, actually putting the song on tape wasn’t a free-and-easy experience. Slotoroff said he recorded “Island” over 200 times on his own before settling on the album’s finished version. “Salt Free Diet” contains the reverb-soaked guitar attack of Arthur, Slotoroff, and third guitarist Mark Macor. Macor is also the author of the outstanding guitar interludes that punctuate Upstairs.

“Island Full of Christians”

Arthur, Slotoroff, and Macor put their stamp all over the record, with Slotoroff’s bass holding down the groove; but the band’s secret weapon may very well be Filipino-born drummer Marx Lenin. Arthur spoke glowingly of Lenin, saying the older and more experienced drummer keeps the band in shape by helping to arrange songs.

“Marx is the best drummer I’ve played with” said Arthur.

Upstairs can be downloaded for free from the Bandcamp website, but with one caveat: listeners must download the entire album. Slotoroff said the record was fleshed out in the attic of a 2-bedroom loft in Morristown (the loft appears on the cover of Upstairs), and the band wants to keep the home-spun vibe.

“The album is already worn-in and creates its own atmosphere,” he said.

As for what’s next for The Deafening Colors, Slotoroff said he just wants as many people to listen to the record as possible. Slotoroff teaches ninth-grade English in New Jersey, and Arthur and Macor are currently attending graduate school. Making money would be nice, Slotoroff said, but it’s not the end of the world if they don’t.

“We want to give people time to digest the album,” he said.

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