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“The thing is, I’ve always kind of kept my expectations low,” he admits. “In high school I was a bright enough dude, but I was just not doing well because all I could really bring myself to care about was music and playing in bands. I kind of knew when I became an adult that my goals really weren’t that high. I just wanted to have a band that did cool stuff, maybe we could do house shows on the weekend and go on a couple of tours a year, just play in small places. I just wanted a job that would allow me to do that and pay the bills. I wanted to live in a big city and have a girlfriend who was cool. My goals were pretty much that. When you set your goals like that, it allows anything extra to happen to just be a bonus. When I woke up one day and realised the job that I didn’t hate was actually my band, it was kind of a dream come true.”


As bonuses go, finding yourself gigging across the world is a pretty sweet cherry. Deafheaven are a band who have been building steadily since 2011’s Road to Judah, which had the critics on board but failed to break through to audiences. Through hard work, debt and doubt, the band persevered and released sophomore record Sunbather in 2013, finally cracking the music charts. Along the way, they found themselves picking up a variety of different labels, but none of which really did the band any justice.


“I think at our core we’re a metal band, but really we’re just a band who does what they want. We’ve never had a moment of, ‘Oh we can’t play that because it doesn’t fit’. Our thing is that we all like a bunch of different music, so how do we incorporate that into our band? The goal was never to be a black metal post-rock shoegaze band. The whole idea has always been to make a band where, if we weren’t in it, it would be our favourite band. I don’t think we’re a black metal band. We don’t have the ethos or the sound. We’re definitely not a shoegaze band either, or post-rock or whatever. But we incorporate elements of all of those into the metal band that is Deafheaven.”


New Bermuda has already begun to get industry voices talking, hailing a darker, more intense sound. Some critics are calling it a change or rebuttal to earlier releases, but McCoy sees it more as an evolution than a response. At the start of his career, for want of an electric guitar, songs were written on an acoustic. Over time, their gear has upgraded, but the integrity and heart of their music remains intact.


“Back then I couldn’t afford an electric, so an acoustic was all I had. But a riff is a riff, and the main advantage was that if a riff sounded ok on an acoustic, it can only get better when you add six different styles of electric guitar tunes, add the dynamics of the band all put together. Now, having the money and resources to get pedals allows you to experiment more at home, but we’ve never been an effects heavy band. A lot of people in the genre are, so I think that’s misconstrued about us sometimes. It’s really a natural progression; there’s never been a drastic change. We’ve gone along this nice little path of progressing, working on new sounds, exploring new things. Definitely having the resources to get new gear and try it – ha, and also not having to go to work everyday and come home to do all that tired – helped the creative process a bunch.”


For now, McCoy and the band are happy just to be playing. Fame and money was never the ambition, but it has provided what he always wanted; the freedom to be able to be in a band and gig.
And he is very conscious of the fact that just as unexpectedly as success came, it may one day blow away just as easily.


“When you don’t have anything, you’ve got nothing to lose, so when Sunbather took off and we had some success, suddenly we have money, your lifestyle adjusts really quickly. All of a sudden you have something to lose. We wanted to try and force all that out, to make a record that didn’t worry about any of the pressure we were actually feeling. Floating around in the back of your mind is this whole, “God, it’s going to suck if people don’t like it, they stop coming to your shows, you’re going to have to go back to Whole Foods.” Luckily it doesn’t seem like that’s happening just yet. We’ll see. You feel sometimes you’re on borrowed time, but you know, that’s tomorrow’s problem. If it all falls apart, it will still have made a good story.” 


New Bermuda is out November 2 via ANTI-. For more details, visit