Junk Culture


Charles Brownstein caught up With Deepak Mantena aka ‘Junk Culture’, talked about his new album  and touched on a few personal subjects as well. ‘Wild Quiet’ is out now on IIIegal Art.

CB: The songs on “Wild Quiet” are a bit more structured then the ones on previous records. Do you feel you’re moving in a new direction?

DM: Sure. I’m always moving in new directions with my music. I’d be pretty bored if I wasn’t. One of my goals with this record was to feel out what it’d be like to simplify my songwriting. But the arrangements on some of the newer stuff I’m working on now are already more intricate.

CB: It seems you might be more eager to use more instruments in the future, there are some pretty big guitar and drum sounds not made by machines on the record.

DM: Yeah, but I’m not an analog or digital or plugin purist or anything. I’ll use whatever. And actually, every record I’ve put out has had non-machine made guitars and samples and live drums on them, I guess I just hid or twisted them better.

CB: The album is full of some pretty personal moments as well, the song “Ceremony” is quite a touching one. Can you talk about that track a little?

DM: That track is about a relative passing away. I was watching the whole thing unfold in a more direct way than I’ve experienced with anyone else I’ve known, so on a daily basis I was figuring out how to process and deal with everything.

CB: Your only Twenty-six years old, you talk about getting old in songs and interviews, are you nervous about aging? 

DM: It’s not that I’m nervous about it, it’s just a topic that I can write about endlessly. No matter who or what you are, it’s something we all share. We’re all getting older and we’re all gonna die. It’s a subject we can all write about forever and we’ll never completely cover it. I don’t mean for that to sound morbid or like a bummer or anything. I actually think it’s really special. On my worst days it’s something I forget or ignore but on my best days it’s crystal clear and inspires me and gives meaning to my actions.

CB:Not to dwell on the negative, but I read that you wont go to live shows any more. How come?

DM: I definitely still go and see shows, but just not as regularly as I used to. The whole thing for me is, when I go to a show or a movie or see a play, I really want to experience it in a raw, visceral kind of way. I want it to be exciting and unexpected and true in some way. And I want to leave having a spectrum of emotions about it to reflect on. But too often I’ll go and see a band that makes it so evident that they are just going through the motions that the same boring feeling gets projected on to the audience and the experience just ends being really dull and numb.

CB: What kind of live show can we expect on your latest tour?

DM: You will not be numb.

CB: What’s the music scene like in Oxford, Miss these days?

DM: The night life is filled with blues cover bands which is understandable because that’s such a part of the south. But there are a lot of cool younger people trying out unexpected stuff.

CB: What five records should be part of everyone’s collection?


Actress “Splazsh”

Fennesz “Endless Summer”

Ghostface Killah “The Pretty Toney Album”

MF Doom “Mm… Food?”

My Bloody Valentine “Loveless”