Written By Laura Curry
Deaf Rhino’s hard-hitting rock ‘n’ roll music combines catchy melodies and danceable grooves that draw listeners in. The Pop Break had the opportunity to interview Deaf Rhino’s Adam Schlett about the origins of their name, their guitar-driven sound and their upcoming full-length album.
Who are Deaf Rhino? (Names of the band members & the instruments you play): Deaf Rhino is Adam Schlett on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Bobby Weir on lead guitar and vocals, Jack Biamonte on drums and vocals and Tommy Scerbo on bass.
What town are you based out of: We started out of my parents basement in Glen Rock, NJ. We now live in Weehawken, NJ right outside of Hoboken and Jersey City.
When did you form as a band: We’ve been playing together for well over 5 years – Deaf Rhino has been “Deaf Rhino” for two and a half of those. Bobby and I played in a cover band in college and I had known Jack, our drummer, from my hometown. After we graduated, I had moved up to Boston for a job and a lady. I started collaborating with Bobby over iPhone recordings and after a few months of exchanging ideas, we decided to start a band.
Originally, you were called Easy Company. Was there an exact moment when you realized that your name Easy Company had to be changed? What is the meaning behind Deaf Rhino and what does it represent for the band: We named ourselves Easy Company after three weeks of playing together. We were invited to do a show in town at the local Elks Lodge and just thought that covered the bases for the time being. As we started playing out more and refining what our sound is, we saw an ever-increasing divide between how we interpreted the name Easy Company and the sound. We knew it would change and when we recorded “Dirt, Rust, Chaos,” it was painfully obvious we had grown as a band and a sound.
Deaf Rhino was the evolution of “Deaf Rhino,” which was proposed by our bass player’s Dad. It’s weird and powerful, just like our personalities and hopefully our music.
If you could create your own genre to fit the sound of your music, what would you name it? How does this genre name reflect who you are as a band: For a while we classified our music as “Sex Groove Dick Punch.” We haven’t used that “professionally” in a little bit. Our sound is based on danceable grooves, heavy guitars and big catchy melodies – making those worlds meet has always been our aim – consciously or subconsciously.
What atmosphere or vibe is conveyed to listeners with your music: The live show is energy and a primal blood lust for pure rock ‘n’ roll.
From your debut album Dirt, Rust, Chaos to your most recent single, Can’t Say It Ain’t True and your upcoming full-length album, how has your music evolved over the past couple years? How has it stayed the same: Better songwriting and arrangements. DRC had a very wide array of tones and styles. This new record has a more consistent sonic thread that sews the songs together. Our producer Joel Hamilton did a great job with arrangements and capturing the sound of Deaf Rhino in a room playing together without it sounding like a “live” record.
Would you say that your single “Can’t Say It Ain’t True” foreshadows what’s to come on your new album? What does this single mean to you: The single was recorded with a few other tunes in the winter of 2016 WAY before the new stuff was written or even on the docket of being written. Not really any correlation between CSIAT and the new album. The single did really well on radio and was the first time I think we really blended heavy, catchy and groovy seamlessly in the same song successfully.
What details can you give to fans regarding the new LP? Sonic-ally, will there be any surprises in store for them? More specifically, do you have an idea about the album’s title, the number of tracks or a possible release date/month: Right now there are nine tracks (were debating on including the 10th track.) The first single is coming out in June with a new video. We don’t have a label, manager or a timeline. We’re working on a release timeline and have some ideas, but that’s all were going to give out now.
How has the writing/recording process been going so far for your upcoming album? Have you spent as much time on the writing/preproduction process as you did for Dirt, Rust, Chaos? How does this process for the new LP differ from that of your previous album: We have our own rehearsal space and played the ever living crap out of these songs prior to recording. Studio time is big money and we fund everything ourselves. When you want to record live and at the highest quality, you need to show up on recording day ready to go. We wrote all the songs over 6 months in our space and would send them to our producer for feedback in the months leading up to recording. We recorded 10 songs in 5 days, which was a maddening pace. There is a beauty to that frantic “Do it…it’s done’ method of recording but there are also drawbacks—what you play is what you get. No editing or rearrangements once you move on.
Do you have any special techniques to help you out during the recording process: We stayed totally sober this go around. Stakes were too high to be high working with the level of production talent we were with.
What’s the best thing about being a part of Deaf Rhino? How does this influence your passion to create music: We play raw rock ‘n’ roll in a time when not many people are. We love rock ‘n’ roll, that’s why we started this band, that’s why we continue to work hard at being in a band.
DEAF RHINO PLAYS TONIGHT AT WONDER BAR AT 8 P.M. WITH THE BLACK CLOUDS AND TANGO MACHINA.