There’s a warning in the name of Miami’s heaviest band, Deaf Poets. Guard your eardrums! These guys play fucking loud.
Catching Deaf Poets live, you might find it hard to believe that only two people are onstage making that much noise. You might find yourself searching for a third band member, a rock 'n' roll Wizard of Oz whose trickery conjures up all that ruckus.
But, no, it will really be just Sean Wouters, slaying his guitar and vocals, and Nico Espinosa, beating rage and fury into his drum kit, playing Gramps next week.
Other bands have gone the two-piece route, most famously the feuding White Stripes and Black Keys. But while the Stripes’ music tended to focus on Ramones-style quickness and the Keys expand to a traditional lineup when translating their songs to the stage, Deaf Poets mostly stay a two-piece band onstage, and they get heavy — Zeppelin heavy.
“I really love playing heavy rock 'n' roll,” Wouters says. “I love it when my guitar is feedbacking. I love it when people tell me: ‘Dude, you guys played fucking loud and crazy.’ We just really want to keep it heavy as possible.”
That's a challenge not only because they're a two-piece. It's also difficult to make a commitment to heavy rock in an era and city that tend to favor beat machines over drum-kit beating. “Playing rock 'n' roll in a scene that's majority electronic, what it ends up doing is it makes you really distinguish yourself in terms of what you really, really love,” Wouter says.
Reflecting on his own passion for music, Wouters says part of what he enjoys is watching his bandmate onstage. They both grew with an affinity for this sort of sound. “I really love giving him the opportunity where he can play very heavy and concentrate on more complicated parts,” he says of Espinosa.
After recording for about a year and a half, Deaf Poets have returned with their first full-length album since 2014’s 4150.
Lost in the Magic City was partially recorded at Atlanta's Living Room Recording, but for the most part the project was made in South Florida. Deaf Poets recorded at Bull Productions Recording Studio in North Miami and Cutting Cane studios in Davie before taking a DIY approach for the remaining half of the album.
“We wanted to work with all these incredible guys and get the experience, pay for the time, and then be able to, with the experience we learned, eventually start recording ourselves, which is what ended up happening,” Wouters explains.
Deaf Poets released a video for Lost in the Magic City’s “Celestine” earlier this month. It follows a girl with a bow and arrow who exacts revenge on Wouters and Espinosa.
The band had planned to shoot the Dogs of Passion-directed “Celestine” in two days, but the process took an arduous four days from sunrise to sunset to complete. “I slept nine hours in four days,” Wouters says.
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The crazy schedule might be a preview of what's in store for Deaf Poets during a busy 2017 in support of the new album. The duo will play two quick gigs in Florida before embarking on a 22-date cross-country tour where they'll play bars, live venues, and house shows before wrapping up in California.
Wednesday, March 15, Deaf Poets will perform at Gramps. Joining the band on the lineup will be Wastelands and the Latin Grammy-winning Venezuelan band Viniloversus, which will play in support of its recently released video for the song “Disintegrate Me.”
Go rock out on a Wednesday night, but you've been warned: Don't stand next to the speakers.
Deaf Poets, With Wastelands and Viniloversus
10 p.m. Wednesday, March 15, at Gramps, 176 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-699-2669; gramps.com. Admission costs $5 at the door.