Good Deal Band

Good Deal band talks new EP and upcoming performances

By Campbell Wood

Good Deal is an indie folk rock band based in Raleigh, NC. Their first EP, “Probably Not” was released this past January. 

CAMPBELL: Hello, hello. How's it going? How are you?

CLIFF: I'm good. I'm doing well. This is Cliff here.

CAMPBELL: Beautiful, welcome to WXJM! We're so excited to have you here on the show.

CLIFF: Thanks. Good to be talking to you guys.

CAMPBELL: Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Good Deal from Raleigh, North Carolina!

CLIFF: I'm Cliff, I'm based in Raleigh, so is our band Good Deal. I grew up in North Carolina, about 30 minutes down the road in Smithfield, and so did one of my other bandmates. The two other guys that we play with, I met them in Raleigh through some mutual friends in the local music scene around here. We've been playing together and for people out in public for almost a year now. We started coming up with songs... I want to say it was the beginning of 2022 or so. This is kind of like my songwriting efforts, primarily. The other guys in the band are gracious enough to spend their time working through those song ideas with me and flushing out their parts and whatnot. But yeah, we're kind of an indie, rock, folk, and country-influenced band. Have just been having a great time so far, since we started playing shows together.

CAMPBELL: That's cool. It's good to hear that you are the front-runner of the band. That's so cool that you get to flush out your songwriting abilities into this. That's awesome.

CLIFF: Yeah, it's definitely been a learning experience for me. I previously played in a different band around Raleigh as a lead guitarist, so I really had no songwriting experience before that. I wasn't even really interested in writing songs until the past few years. So this has kind of been my taking a stab at that. Now, it's been really fun to explore that.

CAMPBELL: Was there something that made you want to start writing? What was your motive or drive?

CLIFF: It came pretty organically. I grew up playing music, I was in middle school band and high school marching band. I played trumpet for years. I've always been involved in music, but I've never really thought of it as like a creative outlet. That's what made the connection, it would be kind of nice to use that tool that I already have, to express and figure out what I want to say and to communicate with others through that. That came around lately. I was coming up with guitar riffs and stuff on my own. After my last project kind of went separate ways and the people moved out of town, I realized that I would like to play out in public for people again, but I didn't really want to be an instrumental band. So I guess I better start coming up with some words. 

CAMPBELL: Were there any artists that you pulled influence from? What themes do you pull from other artists?

CLIFF: I think one of those influences that comes up often in discussions with the other guys in the band is Pinegrove, they're based out in New Jersey. Definitely the front-runner in terms of influences. I've learned a lot in terms of what I like about just music, like indie music and rock, from them. I really enjoyed listening to them over the past several years. Beyond that, my personal tastes and music have kind of evolved. Earlier in high school, I started listening to a lot of radio and all the stuff that came with that, like mainstream country, R&B, and rock. Then as I got a little bit older, I started to dive deeper into more indie bands and kind of smaller scale projects. I just got really interested in what those kinds of projects had to say and what they sounded like. Pinegrove was one of the later ones. Between some of the other members of the group, there are some Peach Pit influences, some Ty Segall influences. All four of us have different tastes, and I think we try to use those different tastes to connect to each other. I'd say kind of those three, and then maybe some more emo stuff here and there as well. 

CAMPBELL: It sounds like you've been around with different music genres! That's really cool to hear. I've never heard anyone, at least s band that I've interviewed saying they enjoy mainstream country music. That's a first.

CLIFF: I don't know if that's like a little bit of guilt associated with it. Like, it turned into a guilty pleasure. But you know, I grew up in a small town, a lot of people were listening to it around me. My interest in it faded a little bit, but then I started to look into the roots of it, like older country. What made that stuff good. It's been kind of interesting to see new indie projects that kind of pull from older country artists that have never been there before. Trying to blend country with newer genres, like shoegaze and other indie rock. That's been kind of interesting for me lately. 

CAMPBELL: Your latest EP, Probably Not, came out this January. I want to hear you talk a little bit about the songs that are on it. What themes do you explore in songs like “Worth a Try” and others that we haven't played? What inspired those songs, what are they about? 

CLIFF: Thanks for mentioning it! Yeah, the EP came out in January, we're all super excited about it. It’s our first attempt at recording the music we've been working on, so we're very happy to share it with the world. Some overarching themes for the songs, I'd have to say are like relationships with yourself and relationships with others. I think “Worth a Try” leans on that idea of the relationship with yourself and that internal dialogue and self-doubt and stuff like that. “Two Birds” I would say is more about the relationships with others. It's sort of directly inspired from a scenario that came to mind as being about one of my buddies. Just kind of sitting on the back porch speculating about places we would want to go, things we want to do. Not really having any intention of following through with most of those things. They're kind of just pipe dreams for the most part. I think the song is about doing that, having buddies and dreaming those dreams, and being okay with them staying as dreams. You know, that's okay. Like, you don't have to do everything. There's kind of the bell, finding comfort in being able to have those ideas and share them with somebody.

CAMPBELL: That sounds so nice, I have a front porch back at my house that has to be my favorite place to hang. I did want to ask you a little bit about the album cover of “Probably Not.” What inspired it? Is it a reference to anything? What was the background for it?

CLIFF: It was kind of inspired by “Worth a Try” and some of the lyrics from that. There's an animated version of the album cover, which is what we use to take the steel frame shot on the actual album cover. It was kind of based on lyrics like, “what are they running from?” On the animated album cover, the car door is open and there's stuff below it. It's supposed to convey to the lyric because, where everyone's gone? The car door just sitting in front of the house? It was one of our buddies from Raleigh that drew that for us. We're super appreciative of him helping us out with that.

CAMPBELL: When you're writing music and the lyrics, how do you put all the parts together and stuff? What is the creative process that goes through your mind? What are the steps that you take to write a song and actually start to put it into practice?

CLIFF: To be honest, I'm kind of still figuring that out in a way. I feel like that process has looked a little bit differently for each of the songs that I've put on that EP. To highlight some of those different processes that I used, sometimes it looks like me just waking up in the morning on a plan-free Saturday. I just sit down with a guitar and play on. Sometimes I just freestyle it with the lyrics. Maybe one phrase comes out into the open, and if it resonates with me, I elaborate on that and start to paint a picture. If I can come up with a setting, a time or place that I can associate with that idea or phrase, I’ll expand upon that. That's how it happened for probably a majority of the songs. One of the songs on the EP, “Dirty Plates,” that one was the first song we wrote in collaboration with each other. Our lead guitarist had a guitar idea he wanted to do something with, and I was like alright I'll try to do something with that lyrically. I was kind of lost at first, and that just picked out a memory. I just started writing about that, and we did each part hand in hand in that way. Like I said, it's kind of different each time for me, and I'm still exploring what process works. What process yields the best song? That’s TBD.

CAMPBELL: Tell me a little bit about your other bandmates. What sticks out about them? Why these guys that you choose to make music with? What makes you guys Good Deal?

CLIFF: I think it's all of our willingness to hear what I have to say, really willingness from all of us to hear what each other has to say. It’s what makes it so special for us. I feel like once we get together and have a song idea or have something to say, we'll be always listening and have respect for what we're saying. Honest enough to give good positive criticism. As always, as many good ideas as there are, there's always like ten other bad ideas. That's an important part of the process. That’s the big element for us, is just being willing to try stuff out musically. We keep it pretty light and fun when we're practicing together and playing music. It’s a really good experience for all of us.

CAMPBELL: I saw you guys been doing a little tour around the East Coast, lots of shows in North Carolina. How has that been? Back to back shows playing with the guys, talk about that experience.

CLIFF: That’s right, we just played Static Age Records in downtown Asheville. The mini-touring or the weekend touring has been really, really good for us. This isn't a full-time thing for us, so we're kind of squeezing the shows in and out of town where we can. We've personally enjoyed every minute of it. It's been great to go to some towns that I've visited in the past, but also some new ones. It has been great to meet some new people in this town. I feel like when we started playing, I had no basis or benchmark for how active we would be. We've been able to play a bunch of shows in the past year. Around North Carolina, and we've been to Columbia, South Carolina, and Charleston, South Carolina. We're looking forward to coming up to Virginia pretty soon. Actually, last time I'll mention high school band, I did a competition here when they hosted marching competitions at JMU. The only time I've been up to Harrisonburg, was for a marching competition. I really liked going up there when I went to that competition. I'm looking forward to getting back there.

CAMPBELL: Well, it's been a couple of years but, welcome back! We're glad to have you guys. What is your personal favorite thing about performing for an audience, or just performing in general?

CLIFF: The energy in the room is definitely noticeable when it's there. It's also noticeable when it's not, I love playing whether it's for five people or 500 People. Each experience is special in itself, and I enjoy both scenarios. When you can tell that the room is paying attention and are listening to what you have to say, and when you see a head bob here and there, you know people are getting into it. That's a really special thing to share that moment with complete strangers. That's the kind of thing for me that I enjoy the most about performing live.

CAMPBELL: Are there any plans of recording anytime soon? Any new music? I know you just released this EP, but is there anything that's in contention that you could possibly talk about?

CLIFF: No concrete plans yet, but we are definitely having conversations about recording newer songs. Those will probably be released as singles. Nothing album-wise to talk about right now. We are definitely very excited to share some of the newer songs that we've been working on with everyone. The groundwork is being laid so it'll probably be a little bit of time, but definitely on the horizon for sure. 

CAMPBELL: Outside of music, do you have any other creative passions? Or any other passions you're involved in that are not related to music?

CLIFF: I'm actually in the middle of a career change. I went to college and got a business degree, but I'm actually in the process of doing software development as a new job, which is definitely totally unrelated to music. So yeah, I'm kind of working on that right now. Although it's not musical at all, there's a lot of parallels that I noticed when learning to write code with writing songs. There’s a creative aspect that both of those things share, which I thought was pretty interesting. Besides code, I'm also pretty active. I like to go on runs and ride bikes and stuff.

CAMPBELL: That's awesome. Well, I appreciate you coming on the show!

CLIFF: Appreciate your time as well. Thanks for having me on and talking with us about the band and the EP.

You can catch Good Deal performing in Harrisonburg this Saturday, DM their instagram for more information! @gooddeal_band

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