Several things crossed my mind when I first heard the gently manipulated vocals, pin-drop pings and synth-swathes of Deptford Goth’s “Real Love Fantasy”: Yes! Does he love Mariah Carey? (Note the nod to Mariah's "Fantasy" as "Real Love Fantasy comes to an end.) Why can’t I find a picture of his face? Why can I only see the back of his neck? Maybe that’s his best feature. Maybe I’ll never meet him. Maybe his face will remain unseen until he moves his eerie, R&B bedroom-pop compositions out of his Peckham flat and onto the stage.
But in fact, it was pretty easy to lure the Suffolk-born, 27-year-old out for a coffee. I can report that his name is Daniel Woolhouse, he's very personable, he has lovely blue eyes and he was wearing a woolly hat. After a year of juggling music-making and turning out two killer remixes (for Purity Ring and Blood Diamonds), Woolhouse recently quit his job as a teacher’s assistant (age groups 5-6) to focus on his debut album, out on Merok early next year. Check out the new Woolhouse-directed video for "Youth II," the title track of his debut EP, above.
So you left Suffolk to study Fine Art at Wimbledon School of Art— It’s a great place to meet people you’re more likely to get on with and share ideas. I graduated and then realized, along with all my peers, that there weren’t any art jobs. It’s like, What should we do now?
Great! Get into music, that's an industry rolling in money! I had a job in a café for a couple of years, made art and didn’t really make much music, but then I realized that making music was actually cheaper because I didn’t have to buy art materials. It just comes out of your head and as long as you have a computer you can do it.
How long have you been Deptford Goth? I put up “Real Love Fantasy” on MySpace a year ago and I had this Deptford Goth character hanging around so I thought I’d use that. Might be regretting it now! It’s just one of those decisions. I put it up so I could link it to some friends and then this whole blog world, which I was completely unaware of, unraveled itself in front of me. Someone messaged me on MySpace to say they’d seen my song on Altered Zones and then it cropped up a few other places. And now I’ve discovered this network of bloggers…
Who are obsessed with who you are, what you look like and whether you’re really a goth? I should’ve chosen something cooler! I had this idea for a story, but it’s not like Ziggy Stardust, it’s not a concept.
Did you know that when Mariah Carey gave birth to her twins, Nick Canon was there cueing up the live version of her song “Fantasy” so that when their kids popped out (via C-section) they’d be welcomed into the world with ecstatic applause? Nice. It was for the childrens' benefit?! If she’s playing it to them then, she’s probably just going to hammer them with her hits their whole life!
Are you a big fan of pop music? Yeah of course. I wouldn’t say I love everything, but there’s cool stuff going on at the moment. Not sugary pop, not the really cheap, get-it-out-the-door pop, but there’s a nice area where you can crossover. Like Rihanna and Beyonce. I only recently got into The-Dream and the production on his stuff is a really interesting take on R&B. There’s a rawness to it and an overwhelming paranoia in his songs. Even if he’s saying one thing there’s a lot of self doubt in there. I like this idea of bravado, but then maybe he’s just really scared.
You remixed Purity Ring's “Ungirthed” and then Blood Diamonds' "Grins." Are you Transparent Records in-house remixer? No! It just so happens that they put out really cool stuff and Jack at Transparent got in touch. I think Purity Ring is pretty cool so I was flattered to be asked. I definitely did it with a bit of naïveté. And because it’s just a bouncy, throbbing pop mass I thought, I’ll slow it down, I’ll take out everything good that’s in it and see what’s left!
What do you think of the James Blake comparisons and people lumping you under the post-dubstep banner? I find it interesting but I don’t really know what it means. Post-dubstep is like everything that’s being made right now? Or at least that’s what it gets called. James Blake’s album is pretty minimal, there’s a lot of space in there. I’m kind of cramming stuff in. I don’t really get that comparison other than maybe the southeast London link and that we’re both making half electronic, half live music.
Why are there no pictures of your face? I just really don’t like having my photo taken and I think it was probably because I was asked for a head shot so I was like, here’s my head.
Of course this does make people more interested, like, What are you hiding? Yeah. The words “shadowy” and “enigmatic” keep popping up. But no, it’s just because I put a song on the internet and didn’t think, Oh well I’ll put loads of information down! Why would you do that?
Deptford Goth’s debut EP “Youth II” is out now on Merok Records