Challenger Deep is a four-piece instrumental rock band from Atlanta, Georgia USA. The name refers to the deepest known point in the earth’s oceans. Born of a passion for music and a light-hearted camaraderie, they continue to push their creative limits to create music that is both technically interesting and fun to listen to.

How would you describe your music?

We make instrumental hard rock for people that can appreciate some good technical music and also just want to dance.

Tell us about how the history of the project?

I spent a lot of time playing guitar in my room by myself from maybe 2012-2015, and had a few song ideas I’d been kicking around that I wanted to flesh out a little more. A few of my friends would jam with me here and there, but it didn’t really seem like anyone else had a schedule that would let them commit to being in a band playing shows even semi-regularly. I was out with a friend one day and met Jordan, our other guitarist, and we hit it off and eventually started jamming together to see if we couldn’t flesh out some of the ideas I had more.

For about a year we tried in vain to find a bassist and drummer willing and capable, but eventually we met with our now-drummer Grant at a Plini show. I’d known Grant for years, but he had been busy with his other band Baby Baby. He said he had some time to see what we were about though, presumably having been inspired by that night’s bill full of incredible instrumental music (NIck Johnston, David Maxim Micic, and Plini all back to back), and he then introduced us to Jason, our bassist. We eventually met up, tried a few songs out, and we all seemed to click pretty well. We’ve been together for just over a year and a half now, played a lot of really fun shows, and put out an album of some music that we’re really proud of at the end of February.

What are your influences/ musical heroes?

Of all the bands and artists I listen to and love, I think my biggest sources for inspiration come from three bands the most. Protest the Hero, the Fall of Troy, and Periphery. Learning about Periphery’s history and how Misha Mansoor did so much creative groundwork before starting the band. Watching and listening to a lot of his material really convinced me that I could get started on my own, at least with demoing my own material with a bedroom set up which was also really helpful with streamlining the writing process.

The Fall of Troy and Protest have made some music that has changed the way I look at the world, whether it be through dense lyricisms or technically amazing and melodic musical passages. Thomas Erak’s (of TFoT) right hand picking patterns have really inspired the way I approach the rhythmic side of guitar.

What inspires you?

Lots of things. A beautiful sunrise, the smell of flowers on the wind, good poetry, various novels and movies. Anything that triggers an emotional response in me during my experience of it, good or bad. Obviously music that I love is a huge factor to my musical inspiration, but I think when you try to set a mood or paint a picture with your music, it’s easy to draw on a lot more mediums for motivation.

Do you write on the road? Or do you prefer to write in the studio?

I prefer to write in my room, which I guess you could very loosely label a studio haha. I tend to be very meticulous about the way songs come together and the way they hit the ear which is hard to actualise if you’re on a time crunch in the studio or if you only have a little time backstage or in the van on the road. I do appreciate some of the magic that can happen during those time crunches though. Sometimes something beautiful can emerge from the desperate need to finish a part.

What is your favourite song to perform live?

I love our song “Imagiro.” It’s got a lot of energy to it, and since it’s our last song in the set usually, it’s a nice powerful way to say thank you and goodbye to a crowd. It’s also not quite as technically difficult to play, so I can get into the experience a little more and have some fun.

What would be your dream tour to be a part of?

I think it would be a blast to do a tour with some other instrumental bands that are pretty well in line with what we do. A tour with Intervals, Plini, Strawberry Girls, Chon, or Polyphia I think would be an incredible and unforgettable experience. Also if we could play some dates with Protest the Hero I think I could die happy.

What are you current thoughts on the music industry?

The landscape is changing. It’s an exciting time to be alive. Plenty of bands out there are pushing themselves and making a way successfully by taking the DIY route. We’re seeing more and more success stories with bands and acts that don’t have major label support. Digital distribution and streaming services have also helped people get their music out there more easily. The downside to that is that record sales don’t seem to be even a fraction of what they used to be, but artists have to evolve with the times like everyone else and pave a new way. I personally have little experience with the industry as something I’m actually a part of, so it’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for it.

What is the funniest/weirdest experience you have had on tour?

This wasn’t on tour per se, but one day I was getting ready to leave my house for a show in Midtown Atlanta. The sky was pretty dark, and the forecast called for rain. I hadn’t seen any yet, so my roommate said he was going to work before it started. About ten seconds after he walked out the door, I hear what sounds like an explosion and the power in my house goes out. Lightning had struck either the house itself or the tree in the front yard which is too close for comfort anyway. On the way to the venue, the streets were flooded because it had finally started raining in torrential fashion. Traffic was backed up for miles. And come to find out, our drummer’s house got flooded, and Jordan and Grant were trying to sort that out before they could come load in. Fun day for everyone. 

What are your future plans?

Push our latest self-titled release, play as many shows as we can, and keep writing! We’ve got some new songs in the works already, and some fun shows lined up. Catch us at the Masquerade in Atlanta on July 16th where we’re opening for Light the Torch and Moon Tooth.

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