After the collapse of his once, regionally successful folk’n’roll band, Tabernacles, Sean Deniston found himself longing for something different. With his guitar in hand and some new material, he transitioned to a new project, under his own name.
In May 2017, Deniston booked a session at June Audio. Run by producer Scott Wiley (The Lower Lights), the Provo based recording studio has somewhat of a sanctuary for artists like The Moth and the Flame, Fictionist, Neon Trees, The National Parks, and other local heavyweights.
Now, nearly two years later, we’re finally seeing those songs come forward. His self-titled debut EP is scheduled for release at the end of January. The record will feature three songs — “Younger,” “Great Salt Lake,” and “Jack of all Trades.” We caught up with the artist and asked him a few questions about the release of the EP. He told us about his goals as a musician and what he hopes this new chapter holds for his music. We’re excited to share what he had to say.
Deniston — Q&A
Q: Sean, it’s been just over a year since you released your first single, “Younger.” What has the response to that song been like since releasing it?
A: Crazy that it’s been a year! Where did the time go? Anyways, “Younger” was received very well! It’s the first stand-alone single I’ve released as a musician so I was obviously nervous to release it, but I’m happy with every aspect of it, including the production, the artwork, and the response from our fan base. I felt it was a perfect song to release to kick off the project and sets the tone for what future releases will be.
From the beginning, my music has always been influenced by a folk/rock, Americana sound, though the newer material I have dives deeper into the indie and pop genres. I felt “Younger” was a perfect combination of all of these genres.
Q: “Younger” seems to be a ballad for youth and independence. What did you intend to write that song about? And what do you want people to hear when they listen to it?
A: “Younger” was written upon reflecting on those experiences and golden moments of the past that really shape you into who you are and influence your outlook on life.
For a while during the song-writing process, I felt that maybe those specific moments were behind me and likely not to be experienced again, which is why the verses are a reflection on the past. However, as often happens, my mentality shifted and I realized that I was foolish in that thinking. I realized I had no reason to lose the same optimism and joy I had when I was younger, and that there are still so many great experiences yet to be had, or “songs to be sung.”
That’s why the chorus shifts to address the present, and has the lyrics it does.
Deniston Live at The Tabernacle
Q: We know you’ve got an EP in the works. When will you be releasing it? (What will it be called? How many songs? What can we expect to hear on it?)
A: I do! The EP will be self-titled and will be released at the end of January. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it displays all ends of the musical spectrum for what we’re currently doing. I’m thrilled to finally share it with everyone.
Q: You’ve recently started playing some local shows, one of which was opening up for The National Parks. How’d you land that gig and what was it like playing with them?
A: The National Parks are great and always bring an incredible crowd and show, so it’s always a privilege to open for them. I’ve known them from past projects and previous shows, and on occasion talk with Brady about our individual projects. Can’t really recall the details of what happened, but through one of those conversations, I was invited to play that gig. Those guys are probably the most successful band in our region at the moment and are a big inspiration, so as I said before, it’s always a privilege to share a stage with them.
Q: Who were your band members from that performance? How did you connect with them?
A: I’ve networked and connected with many talented musicians here in the area, but for that specific gig, I played with my good friends Rhett Harris and Kate Diamond. Rhett is a very talented guitarist and is also a gear wizard — he works here in [Rexburg] at Mike’s Music — and Kate plays the violin beautifully and has played with me in the past. When I was asked to play a more relaxed set, I knew they would be the ones to share the stage with me.
Q: You’ve previously been a part of some popular acts in the region (fronting Tabernacles and drumming for Lucky Mint). What did you learn from those project and how do you plan to do things differently with Deniston?
A: This is a loaded question! I’ve had countless experiences in both bands that shaped my outlook on music and how I believe the most effective way to do things are. I won’t go into too much detail, but ultimately there are a few things that I think are crucial if you want to enjoy your music making process and have success with it.
- Have a positive culture within your band. It’s important that all of your bandmates are friends and buy into what is being done by the group. When everyone loves making art and believes in the music being created, great things happen.
- Release quality music. Regardless of the genre, you need to constantly work at what you’re doing and put out the best music you can. Some may disagree, but for me personally, well-executed promotion and quality recordings are part of this.
- Master your live performance. It’s a big disappointment when you go see a band you love and they don’t meet your expectations live. You have to sounds great live.
- Don’t be cocky. I’m a big advocate of unity within music scenes and supporting each other. I have no reason to tear someone else down for doing what they love, even if I’m not personally a fan of their music. Especially in small music scenes like the one in Rexburg, there’s no room to do anything but support.
Q: What do you ultimately hope to achieve with Deniston? Where do you want to be as a band a year from now?
A: I can’t really speak for the long-term. But right now the plan is to release the music we have recorded. We’ll gig shows and make sure to bring our best performance. Then quickly get into the studio and get more tunes out. There’s more in the details, but I haven’t felt this excited about music in a long time. I am very optimistic and excited about the future.
Deniston’s self-titled EP is scheduled to release at the end of January. It will be available for streaming and purchase on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music and more. Catch the band at their next show, Dec 8 at The Basement