Behind the Beat: The Spirit of '91

It’s telling that local band Deceivers’ dream lineup would be the 1991 Reading Festival. Unencumbered by time and space, the indie rock trio—guitarist and vocalist Jason Vachula, bassist Girshwin Chapdelaine, and drummer Eric Outhuse—would add itself to that legendary three days of music that featured college-rock colossi Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr., Teenage Fanclub, Mercury Rev and Swervedriver.

Vachula and Outhuse met during an art class at Holyoke Community College in the fall of 2009. Outhuse was working on a project that involved album artwork of the seminal Boston band Mission of Burma. The pair struck up a conversation about No Wave and legendary independent record label SST.

The two played and wrote music together throughout that winter, also recruiting Chapdelaine. Vachula had seen the bass player hanging around at local area punk shows, and the two even jammed together spontaneously at one particular concert while waiting for another band to arrive.

Vachula approached Chapdelaine about joining the nascent project and the three began practicing as a trio that spring, with shows following quickly that summer. The first gig was a shambolic but memorable one.

“I don’t think we knew what to expect, so we ended up playing all of our songs extremely fast,” recalls Vachula. “At one point I was playing so hard that my guitar fell off and two people from the audience rushed over to put it back on. My fingers were bleeding after that show.”

The band’s gigs have morphed over time. “Our songs are getting longer—one at almost seven minutes—which has changed the way we play live,” Valchula says. “The sets themselves sound like a sonic sprawl. Sometimes songs will segue to another with feedback or walls of noise. Shows dynamics can shift rapidly. I’ll be playing on the floor during a noise section while the next song may have strummed guitar to produce a soothing wall of sound.”

The three-piece was and is influenced by the Wipers, My Bloody Valentine, and much of the roster of the aforementioned SST—bands like the Minutemen, Black Flag, Husker Du, the Meat Puppets and Sonic Youth

There are certainly traces of the raw energy and noisy, experimental rock peddled by those acts in Deceivers songs like “Storms Reoccuring” and “Here Is No Truth.”

The trio relies heavily on the rehearsal space to produce songs that exist “somewhere between noise, punk/hardcore, and shoegaze.” Tunes usually begin with Vachula, who brings his rough song structures and ideas to practice. After Outhuse and Chapdelaine learn the basic structure, the songs evolve over time until they reach a finished state.

Vachula says he’d like for the writing process to become even more freeform and fluid in the future. He finds it interesting that the threesome have essentially developed “in reverse”: “Bands usually evolve from a harsh beginning into a cleaner sound, while we continue to get more noisy and abrasive,” he says.

Deceivers is currently in the process of recording a cassette demo for year-end. A full-length release is also in the works. The band’s next show is at a “soon-to-be-determined showspace” Jan. 1 in Brooklyn, New York.

For songs and more information, visit

Author: Matthew Dube

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