Music News

Deerhunter Knows How to Build Band Buzz, and You Can Too

You've probably been hearing a lot about a wacky band called Deerhunter. With a critically feted album, Microcastle, a national tour, and attention from every corner of the Internet, you might be wondering, "How do those Atlanta rascals do it?" You might even be in a band yourself, wondering how to build such a buzz. Wonder no more, hype-challenged hipster. Just follow our handy-dandy guide:

Obliterate all sense of good taste at your live shows. Imitating a Deerhunter concert is easy. All you need are thrift-store garments (put on a dress, guys), substances expelled from a ketchup bottle (smear yourself with fake blood), or objects lying around your practice space (deep-throat that microphone). If you really want to shock and awe, receive fellatio from one of your band mates while onstage, which lead singer Bradford Cox appears to have done at least once.

Have Marfan syndrome. This genetic disorder made Cox tall and strikingly thin. Though it reduces life expectancy, it will have a striking visual effect on your band's photos and cause music critics to say a lot of mean, idiotic things about you they will later have to retract. (Acquiring Marfan syndrome is not easy. Perhaps if your uncle is a genetic engineer and your other uncle has a time machine, something can be worked out.)

Be confusing about your sexuality. Even if, like Cox, your band's first album is called Turn It Up Faggot and the cover features a duplicate image of Black Lips' Cole Alexander with his dong hanging out, pull a Morrissey and claim asexuality.

Put the band on hiatus, for about five seconds. After your band breaks out with a sweet review from Pitchfork and you play the U.K. for the first time, announce on your blog — as Cox did last November — that you're going on hiatus. But still record tons of music in the meantime and begin releasing tracks from your group's new record about six months later.

Leak your music accidentally, and then get really steamed about it. As Cox did in August with works from both Deerhunter and his Atlas Sound side project, you too should upload music into an unlocked account, which your fans can easily access. Once a reader posts a link, get pissy ("I can't understand how you go on living," Cox wrote) and suggest that listeners send you a PayPal donation, but ultimately admit, "Now everyone that reads this thing is going to think I'm a fucking lunatic."

Make really good albums. This is the hardest part, so listen carefully. As Deerhunter did with Cryptograms, make sure your breakout album is filled with dreamy soundscapes and cryptic lyrics — i.e., stoner music (but for people who got good grades in college). Fill your Microcastle-esque follow-up work, however, with clean guitars and poppy melodies, enabling those who wanted to like you before to actually like you now. Sit back and let the buzz wash over you.

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Ben Westhoff
Contact: Ben Westhoff