Get To Know – Deerful

We Say…


Deerful is the solo-electronic project of indiepop academic, Emma Winston. Armed with an array of miniature synthesisers, Deerful’s sound is a combination of soaring choral vocals, and twitching processed beats. Debut album, Peach, came out last Summer on WIAIWYA, an album about affirming the ordinary and vital; it was a reminder that whatever was going on in the world, there are still tiny shared moments that make life still well worth celebrating.

Deerful plays our upcoming alldayer alongside the likes of Sweet Baboo, Marine, Adwaith and many more, you can get all the information about the show HERE.

They Say…

FTR: For those who don’t know who is Deerful?

I’m a singer-songwriter, and I write about feelings on tiny synthesisers.

FTR: What can you remember about your first show?

It was at Servant Jazz Quarters in Dalston for the Gare Du Nord showcase in December 2015. It was a ten-artist lineup or something and I only had two songs ready, ‘City Bells’ and ‘Moon Maps’, so I played those two. I remember it going completely perfectly but there might be some rose-coloured glasses going on there.

FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?

Music is an incredibly central part of my life. It’s like medicine. It plays a huge huge role in my mood and my environment and how I think and feel and function day to day. It’s just so important to me and being able to make it myself too is the coolest thing in the world.

I am not a music buff in the conventional sense, mainly because when I fall in love with a song I will listen to that song to the exclusion of all others, hundreds of times, until my brain is completely saturated by it instead of going and finding other music like it. But I can tell you the exact timestamp where a song I love lights up in a particularly wonderful way, I know every lyric and harmony inside out. The internal time and space of a song feels like home to me, in a way that I’ve never experienced with any other art form.

FTR:What can people expect from the Deerful live show?

Several little synthesisers (maybe a sampler, now, too, if I ever learn how to play the thing reliably). A Game Boy. Beeps and boops. Me monologuing endlessly about whatever rubbish comes into my head in between songs and being completely unable to retain any sort of mystique.

FTR: What’s next for Deerful?

Gig-wise: I’m playing Are You Listening? festival in Reading on the 28th of April, then the Scared To Dance alldayer in Dalston on May 5th with Sweet Baboo, Marine, Adwaith, Young Romance, Deerful and Red Red Eyes, which will be my first London show in ages and I’m thrilled about it!

Recording-wise: Album 2. I haven’t started it yet. I have been working on music this year but it’s almost all been instrumental music for media production libraries. That’s done amazing things for my listening and production and mixing skills, and I can’t wait to see how that translates into Deerful tracks. I want to make music that’s bigger and brighter and poppier than anything I’ve ever done before and I’m finally starting to acquire the skills to be able to start doing that, which is really exciting. I do have a couple of tracks coming out on various charity compilations (honestly, if you want a new track from me at short notice, I’m a sucker for a good charity compilation) and a possible project in the works with two very talented pals, which is currently under wraps.

So it’s sort of a transitional period for Deerful, which I’m not really used to – I tend to be just creating creating creating all the time, followed by crashing. But balance gives you time to think and grow, and I’m trying to make more space for that, not just in music but in everything.

They Listen To…


Photo by Pam Berry

Daphne and Celeste – BB

I don’t think I really ‘got’ Daphne and Celeste the first time round but the revival album is my favourite record of the year so far, and there was a part of me that was really hoping it would blow up and get massive and I’d be able to dissect it with a million other people, but that hasn’t happened yet so I’m just unilaterally evangelising about it to anyone who will listen.

It’s fantastically odd and eclectic and maximalist but also absolutely pure pop at its core. I picked this track because it has a) chiptune bits; b) the line ‘sonic simplicity is considerably overrepresented’ in the outro which is a life motto if ever there was one.

Baths – No Eyes

I fell completely in love with Baths when his album Romaplasm came out in December and then all over again when I saw him live in London in March. It was the most intense inspiring live show I’ve ever seen purely because of his energy onstage – laser-like focus and somehow at the same time completely chaotic and emotional. This song captures a tiny fraction of that intensity I think. Also, those massive snare drums! I could very easily have done this list as just five Baths tracks but I don’t think FTR would have been too happy about that.

Final Fantasy – He Poos Clouds

Owen Pallett is probably my favourite musician alive and this was the first song I heard by him – his 2014 album In Conflict has probably been one of my biggest influences stylistically (not that you can tell) but this song has my heart. It’s got strings, it’s got gay videogame characters, it’s got (I think?) a 7/8 time signature, it’s got screaming. You may have been made for love, but I’m just made!

Kero Kero Bonito – Forever Summer Holiday

In my opinion nobody does sheer unbridled danceable joy better than Kero Kero Bonito. It’s like they wrote a list of all the things that hit the dopamine receptors in my personal brain and then started a music project ticking all of them off at once. Their most recent release is an EP which is kind of more grungy post-C86 guitar indie than their usual super-saturated pop, and it’s great, but it doesn’t have Fairlight orchestra hit sound effects in, does it, and that’s why I’m still stuck on Forever Summer Holiday.

SOPHIE – It’s Okay To Cry

I am completely fascinated by SOPHIE. I think she’s probably one of the most innovative producers alive, for starters; her sound design across her whole catalogue is bonkers, much of it is almost nightmarishly hard and intense and lurid, and it feels to me like she’s driven by what interests her sonically and what she wants to experiment with, rather than fitting anywhere in terms of genre. She was presented as this mysterious faceless voiceless emotionless figure for her first few years in the spotlight. I always had her in my head as the kind of polar opposite of me.

And then she brought out It’s Okay To Cry and it’s the purest sweetest thing, and she’s front and centre sonically for the first time – but still there’s this burst of sharp hypercolour sonic euphoria towards the end. I’m convinced that she means every word of it. As a die-hard exponent of sincerity, it’s made me love everything else she’s made more, too.

Peach is out now via WIAIWYA. Click HERE for more information on Deerful. 

Deerful plays our all-dayer May 5th Click for more info

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