You’ve probably been hearing a lot about a wacky noise-rock band called Deerhunter. With a critically-feted album, Microcastle, a national tour, and attention from every corner of the Internet, you might be wondering “How do those Atlanta rascals do it?” Your own band may even be attempting to determine how to build such a buzz. Wonder no more, hype-challenged hipster, just follow our handy-dandy guide.
Obliterate all sense of good taste at your live shows. Imitating a Deerhunter concert is easy. All you need are thrift-store garments (put on a dress, guys), substances expelled from a ketchup bottle (smear yourself with fake blood), or objects lying around your practice space (deep-throat that microphone). If you really want to shock and awe, receive fellatio from one of your own bandmates onstage, which lead singer Bradford Cox appears to have done at least once.
Have Marfan syndrome. This genetic disorder, from which Cox suffers, makes him tall and impossibly thin. Though it reduces life expectancy, it will have a striking visual effect on your band’s photos, and cause haters to say a lot of mean, idiotic things about you they will later have to retract. (Acquiring Marfan syndrome is not easy, though perhaps if your uncle is a genetic engineer and your other uncle has a time machine, something can be worked out.)
Be super-confusing about your sexuality. Even if, like Cox, your band’s first album is known as Turn It Up, Faggot, and the cover features a duplicate image of the Black Lips’ Cole Alexander with his dong hanging out, pull a Morrissey and claim asexuality. While you’re at it, blog about your sexual fantasies (coupled with pictures of young boys), your history of sexual abuse, and your turds. Or don’t. Either way is cool.
Put the band on hiatus, for about five seconds. After your band breaks out with a sweet review from Pitchfork and you play the UK for the first time, announce on your blog—as Cox did last November—that you’re going on hiatus. But still record tons of music in the meantime and release your group’s new record soon afterward.
Open for Nine Inch Nails and Smashing Pumpkins. This will get you some good exposure with the kids. But lest anyone think you’ve gone soft/corporate, make sure after your first night with the latter group to have a confrontation with frontman Billy Corgan, ensuring he will ask you not to play a second night.
Leak your music accidentally, and then get really steamed about it. As Cox did in August with work by both Deerhunter and his Atlas Sound side project, you too should upload music into an unlocked account that your fans can easily access. Once a reader posts a link, get pissy (“I can’t understand how you go on living,” Cox wrote), suggest listeners send you a PayPal donation, but ultimately admit, “Now everyone that reads this thing is going to think I’m a fucking lunatic.” Fix the problem by releasing some of the material as a bonus disc, as Deerhunter did by bundling Weird Era Cont. with Microcastle.
Make really good albums. This is the hardest part, so listen carefully. As was the case with Cryptograms, make sure your breakout album is filled with dreamy soundscapes and cryptic lyrics—i.e., “stoner music,” but for people who got good grades in college. Fill your Microcastle-esque follow-up work, however, with cleaner guitars, piano interludes, and a poppier disposition. Have the album’s tightly-coiled title track lurk quietly for a solid two and a half minutes before the drums kick in and turn it into an anthemic banger featuring slightly distorted vocals. Throw in songs like “Nothing Ever Happened”—six minutes of driving fuzz pop—and “Never Stops,” which masks its dark message (“my escape/would never come”) with a quick, hummable, Yo La Tengo–influenced melody. Sure, you can give your ersatz Microcastle a few moments of downbeat ambience, but for the most part make the songs focused, accessible, and full of hooks. All of this will enable those who wanted to like you before to actually like you now. Sit back and let the buzz wash over you.