With their ambient, shoegaze-y sound and an androgynous lead singer who has taken to performing in sundresses, it’s no wonder the live performances of Atlanta quartet Deerhunter have been generating buzz. In January, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Karen O was quoted in the NME, calling Deerhunter’s live show “a religious experience,” and in July, the band took the stage in Chicago at the sold-out Pitchfork Music Festival. But, according to drummer Moses Archuleta, playing at the indie juncture isn’t necessarily comparable to the intimacy of Champaign.
“We’re excited to play Champaign,” he said. “I like playing smaller cities sometimes better than bigger cities. The people seem to be more enthusiastic. I guess they take shows for granted less because not like, a million come through [those cities].”
The group’s unorthodox sound has brought them attention of late, but Archuleta insists Deerhunter never set out to reinvent the wheel.
“We were looking to do something different after we had cut the first record, and it just kind of came about naturally,” he said. “None of it was really strongly predetermined. It just kind of happened in practices and stuff.”
The band has earned a reputation for defying traditional genre distinctions, blending an experimental musicality with more traditional pop influences like David Bowie.
“We don’t actually know what’s going to happen until we actually get together and start working on it,” Archuleta said, adding, “We just thought the two [styles] could coexist nicely and blend together, and that’s what works for us and hopefully other people.”
In August, the band was forced to deal with the departure of guitarist Colin Mee. Though he remains friends with the other members of Deerhunter, Archuleta admits that Mee’s absence has affected live performances.
“The show might be a little more static than it used to be, just because there’s only four of us now and everyone’s having to play a lot more,” he said.
While the band must scramble to fill the void left by Mee, Archuleta insists there are no hard feelings.
“Ultimately, what brought it to a breaking point – and I understand it completely – was that he was exhausted, and he basically decided it wasn’t worth it for him anymore, which I understand,” he said. “I mean, we’re all pretty exhausted right now.”
It may be tiring and difficult at times, but for Archuleta, it’s worth it.
“Being in a band is a pretty complicated relationship,” he added. “It’s very familial, as it entails the pluses and minuses of a family.”
Check out Deerhunter at the Canopy Club on Monday, Oct. 1. at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30, tickets for the show are available in advance for $10.