Te Ahi Top 10 | deepState

Written by on 1 October 2021

The winner of this week’s Te Ahi Top Ten is Tāmaki Makaurau artist deepState with her song ‘Deep Summer’. The track is a haunting piece of Garage featuring airy vocal samples and dreamy percussion.

We caught up with Jess Morgan (AKA deepState) to chat about musical influences, her production process and the making of ‘Deep Summer’.

Check out the interview below!

Hey there! Congrats on taking out the top spot on this week’s Te Ahi Top 10 with your track, ‘Deep Summer’. Can you tell me a bit more about who you are and what you do?

Thank you! My name is Jess Morgan and I’m a producer from Tamaki Makaurau, making music under the name deepstate. I started making electronic music during the first 2020 lockdown. I’ve always been very passionate about music and have always wanted to have a go at producing and the lockdown gave me an opportunity to really get into it and start learning and making.

I found that I got totally obsessed with it pretty quickly and started to spend most of my spare time making and producing and haven’t stopped since!

So, ‘Deep Summer’ is the title track from your recent EP, can you tell me more about that project?

Yeah sure, I guess I have quite a wide variety of music genres that I love so after release my debut release MMXXI I wanted to try making something a little different that explored some of the other sounds I really love. This EP explores some of the darker sides of my musical interests, mixing the atmospheric sounds of future garage and ambient electronic with 2-step garage beats at a faster pace than some of my previous releases. 

‘Deep Summer’ is giving me some Burial vibes, what would you say have been your influences on this project?

Totally, Burial is a huge influence for me. I remember first hearing the album Untrue back in 2008 and my mind was blown, like I’d discovered this amazing sound I’d never really heard before and have loved Burial ever since. Some other artists I’ve been listening to a lot over the last few months include Zomby- I think his use of fast-paced, heavy bass influenced the making of the Deep Summer EP for sure. I’ve also been listening to a lot of earlier 2-step and speed garage so artists like Dem 2, Fredrik Nyberg and MJ Cole have also been a big influence. As well as DnB and jungle artists like El-B, Origin Unknown, LTJ Bukem and Roni Size.

‘Deep Summer’ follows your previous project ‘MMXXI’ and is a bit of a shift in tone production-wise. Was that something you were quite conscious of?

Yeah, there’s definitely a shift away from some of the sounds in MMXXI in this EP. Although I think some of the atmospheric sounds in MMXXI can be heard in Deep Summer too. It was a conscious shift for sure, I was wanting to try something different and have a go at making something that sounded more like what I’m really into at the moment. I’ve also been wanting to try using the faster, syncopated beats that you hear in Garage and its subgenres and I guess this is what came out of that. I’ve really loved making Deep Summer so I’d say expect some more music in that vein in the future!

Tell me more about your production process, how do you go about putting a track together?

I use reaper for production, which I know isn’t a common daw used for electronic music making but I find it easy to use and make in which is why I’ve stuck with it so far. When I’m making a track it’s generally put together using a mixture of samples I find along the way or from the 100s of sample packs I have on my laptop and the use of a midi keyboard with vst plugins. I usually tend to tweak and warp samples I use with pitch shifting and lots of reverb/delay to get a deep sound out of it and I do the same with any vst’s I use as well.

‘Deep Summer’ features quite a haunting vocal sample, whereabouts is that from?

The sample scattered throughout Deep Summer is of a woman talking to a man is from a video I found on youtube a while back. It’s from a CBC documentary “How to go out of your mind: The LSD crisis”, where she is talking to a researcher whilst on acid. I guess he is asking her questions and taking notes, I think it’s from the 60’s. I just loved her tone and voice and the way she is talking is kind of hypnotic and I thought it would fit well in the song. The other vocal sample I’ve used through the song is from a sample pack I found a while back which I chopped, sped up and pitched down a bit.

You’re based in Auckland which is still going through another lockdown, have you been able to make much music during this time?

Yeah for sure! As much as lockdowns can be a difficult time it definitely gives me that extra time to spend getting absorbed in music making. It allowed me to finish off the Deep Summer EP which was great and I’ve started on some new stuff too, although it’s going a little slower at the moment as I find after finishing something I need a bit of space to get motivated again. But things are definitely moving along 🙂

What does the rest of 2021 have in store for you?

I think for the rest of 2021 I’ll be making more music. As we’re not sure about how long lockdown will go on for I guess gigs and shows are a bit up in the air at this point but I’m excited about making new music to hopefully share with everyone next year! It’s kind of crazy that I’ve released two EPs almost within 2 months of each other so I’m keen to take some time to work on new stuff for now and will see what next year brings.

Who are some of your favourite local producers that we should know about?

I’m really loving The Forbin Project who recently came out with 3 EP’s, it’s an exciting mix of jungle and rave which I’m loving at the moment as well as some beautiful downtempo tunes, I would recommend listening to the latest releases on Bandcamp if you haven’t already! I also recently discovered Paige Julia who I believe is from Wellington, I’ve been enjoying the latest album Morphling which includes a lot of the dark atmospheres and heavy bass that I love. I am also forever inspired by Totems, which was one of Ruben Winter’s many amazing projects, his talent and passion will live on through his music forever, which I’m sure will go on to influence many others beyond his lifetime.

You can listen to ‘Deep Summer’ below.

And check out the full EP.

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