One of Canada’s most respected writers and promoters, Richard Flohil, intrigued her one day, talking about an up-and-coming young singer/songwriter named Deeps. “You can’t help but like this guy. He probably smokes too much. Likes a drink or two. Super attractive to young women, definitely. But much more importantly, he’s a tough and gritty singer with a voice that cuts through the clutter with songs that say something, mean something, and stick to the inside of your gut. Deeps? Yeah, the name fits the artist. Y’oughta check him out.”
Every room in his Hamilton, Ontario house contained some reference to music. Not all that unusual for a muso really. More unusual is that a muso owned a house at all. She watched as Deeps (aka Steve Vincent De Piante) organized his month: gigs, lawn work, production set-up at The Cotton Factory’s Mule Spinner recording studio/live event venue, more gigs, production manager for the legendary Boris Brott and his philharmonic orchestra, gigging, songwriting, gigging, drywall taping, more songwriting, and an occasional meal, beer chaser, thrown in just to keep him going.
This is one hard-working dude, she thought.
“So what was happening the first time you opened your mouth and that powerhouse voice of yours came out, Deeps?” she asked as he gestured to her to rescue a guitar pick from the floor.
“I know … it’s a roar, isn’t it. Someone asked me last night if I’d broken many windows with it yet. No windows, just hearts,” replied Deeps. “And of course to break up the occasional conversation in the room. I like to jar the crowd in one way or another.”
“Must have at least threatened a few windows around the family homestead,” she said. “Which reminds me … relationships. They’re very important to you. Was it your family that drove that into your alt-country soul?’
“Check with my mother” he said, busily updating his calendar.
So off she went for a phone and some privacy.
Lorraine (Mama Deeps) picked up the phone at her office and surprisingly, didn’t hang up on her, .”When Deeps was small, around two or three years old, and couldn’t sleep, it was because there was ‘ too much music in my head’. Not stories, just lots of music. We called it the doo-wahs. He grew up a storyteller/poet .. emotional, huggy, and caring. There were a lot of causes he took on, the homeless, the United Way, wildlife. It’s not at all surprising that an empath like Deeps chose music to release his feelings about the people and places he knows.”
Back at Deeps’ place, he cooked her a meal. Besides playing guitar, and chef, Deeps plays keyboards, harmonica, bass, and accordion. And writes all his original music by himself, usually on his secluded porch while looking at the orange undertones of this steel town sky.
“With that urge to write and sing, and mastering so many instruments, you must have some interesting back stories,” she said as Deeps grabbed a guitar.
“On bass, I spent my time playing in my dad’s band as a teenager from age 15 to 19, gigging all over Ontario. When my dad started writing his own material, he made an album that was one of the first to be converted to a new format (MP3s). The craze that was this new medium led us to have the most downloads on AMP3.com and earned us a spot on the emerging artist stage at Woodstock ’99.
“I then (still on bass) led my own band after university called What The Thunder Said. We were a progressive jam band of sorts and released three records and toured Canada.
“When that band split I realized the problem inherent in playing a rhythm section instrument when your band breaks up,” he said with a grin. “You can’t simply go out and play solo shows to keep yourself in the game.So in my 20s I started writing on guitar and keyboards. This had me eventually leading a band called The Ragged Bankers, a nod to my dismay at being a 9 to 5 cubical dweller. Strangely, I was also taken on as a side man in a couple of reggae bands (Hamilton’s Baudelaires and Riddim Riders). I eventually realized I had to take the helm. I needed to find a world for my own music, and that is where we are now.”
“But what drives your writing today?”
“Trying to figure out what the fuck happened, what the fuck is happening and how I can avoid the tough times from ever happening the fuck again …. my writing is essentially my diary sometimes. Love, loss, lust and the untangling therein. Song writing is a vulnerable way to do this, I realize, and despite best intentions, can make heartache linger. I have had people tell me they can relate though so I guess in a way my bleeding on some nights is their transfusion”
She sipped the coffee he made. “I’ve been talking to a few people in the biz about you, like Flohil, as well as Amy King who produced you over at Grant Avenue Studio here in the Hammer. Amy was particularly insightful. She said, to quote her, “Strong, even with just a guitar and vocal, Deeps’ writing gives me shivers as my mind journeys into places in my heart that oftentimes writers are afraid to shine a light on. Full of darkness, yet also full of hope, these songs need to be heard.”
“So with these accolades and your own back story, how exactly did you find your- self on this porch?” she asked, sipping the coffee he made.
“One university degree in computer programming; one marriage, now amicably dissolved; and one loooong commute between here and Toronto, working in towers like everybody else. One day, I brought it all to a grinding halt. And I was free to do what I really wanted to do … which is this,” He flourished the guitar like he’d just won some kind of prize. And, maybe, for this musician, he has.
“Deeps has found his own voice nestled somewhere betwixt Gram Parsons, Van Morrison, and John Mellencamp on a collection of songs that exude heart and soul as well as style … it’s that romantic lifestyle that is documented in Deeps’ long-awaited debut full length album, In The Aftermath Of Last Night.”
— Ric Taylor - View Magazine
“Deeps’ crafted songwriting encompasses everything from artistic stories, lyrical substance, well-executed melodies and arrangements, and most importantly, his delivery is pure tangible passion. Strong even with just a guitar and vocal, Deeps’ writing give me shivers as my mind journeys into those places in my heart that often times writers are afraid to shine light on. Full of darkness, yet in contrast, full of hope, these songs need to be heard.”
— Amy King, Grant Avenue Studio
“Songs about rusting in Steeltown, rock n’ rolling to pay the bills and small city romance, delivered with attitude-filled vocals, and punctuated by southern gospel guitar, versatile bass, searing organ and upbeat drums.”
— Alysha Main, Ridin’ High Records