The Denzels have been playing shows around Brooklyn for the past two years, releasing two EPs in the process: Slow Death and last year’s Easy Tiger. Their membership (David Beegun, Tom Hinga, Aman Ellis, Matthew Degorio and Paul Lizarraga) hails from the South and the West Coast, and have gathered in Brooklyn to produce a garage rock and synth-inflected musical project with overt pop ambitions. I saw them play at the Living Bread deli in Bushwick, and met up with singer Tom Hinga and keyboardist Aman Ellis the next weekend at Taqueria Los Hermanos on Jefferson Street where we chatted about their music and experiences as a band so far.
Where’d you guys get the name? Everyone likes Denzel, I guess . . .
T: We initially had a different name, but it was super generic and you couldn’t find us on the internet. We were The Goods.
That’s a little tough.
T: Yeah, it was silly, so we came up with a shit ton of names and The Denzels was the only one that no one hated.
Any good books lately?
A: I’m reading a Brief History of Thought by Luc Ferry. It’s a philosophy primer. I found it, and it’s been pretty good so far.
T: I just started that Keith Richards autobiography, Life.
Right, that’s the one that just shows him on the cover, and you go, “Jesus Christ.”
So what’s the background of the song “Black Girls”?
“Black Girls” is like a dramatic description of being blackout drunk and having friends that don’t really care about you and acting like an asshole. The title of the song was from two different songs that we put together. We thought one of them sounded like the band Girls, and one of them sounded like The Black Lips, so that was just a working title that we ended up keeping.
A: We’re just lazy.
T: Yeah, but it’s just about going on a bender and being in that crazy space where you’re not rational. We pretty much all bartend and everything sort of revolves around booze.
A: In New York everybody drinks.
When you came to Brooklyn to start making music was it just you guys on your own, booking your own shows?
T: It was just us, totally on our own, floundering. We played some really shitty weird venues, just because we didn’t know the scene, and then we started going to things, we saw Todd P’s website and started checking out DIY shows and realized that that was the scene that we wanted to start playing in.
As far as sound, are you guys looking to keep things in the same garage rock vein for the next EP, or are you guys branching out? You have keys, which is a slight divergence from the template.
A: There’ll be more substance to the production. A bit groovier. And we’ve been toying with noisier and weirder sounds, but trying to keep that pop mentality.
So how does the Internet influence your business model? Being searchable is important, obviously.
T: We gotta be more on top of that. But the name alone, if you search it, you find us.
A: I think it’s important also not to be oversaturated, or bombard people with updates.
What about the importance of being consistent? You hear about some bands that come out with some well-received material, but then take too long to follow up with more.
T: Yeah, that’s huge. I mean, there are so many good bands, and so many names, to stay relevant, you need to put out a single or some sort of EP like, every couple months and be playing shows all the time even if they’re not good shows.
A: There’s so much access to information now – you can make music and distribute it almost instantaneously. Any person can learn the guitar in two months just using tutorials online. So there’s oversaturation, which is a blessing and a curse at the same time.
The Denzels are playing tonight, Tuesday, January 29th, at Mercury Lounge.