The Deer singer Grace Rowland calls “Swoon,” from the Austin, Texas quintet’s upcoming fourth album Do No Harm, “a conversation between peacemakers from all directions, from all sides.”
“I think everybody is trying to find their balance,” Rowland tells Billboard of the song, premiering exclusively on Billboard today (Oct. 22). “I don’t think you can use the general, giant platform of social media to be the barometer in this situation; It’s always the loudest people who are heard the most and always the most radical ideas and inflammatory statements that get the most reaction. But I think in peoples’ own personal, quiet worlds there’s a lot of healing happening, and a lot of discussions and hearing that wasn’t there before we became so divided.
“Everyone is getting tired of the rhetoric, tired of the division. There are people working for peace everywhere around us who aren’t screaming about it, just doing their work.”
Rowland and her bandmates count themselves among that corps of “peacemakers,” supporting organizational initiatives such as the Other Ones Foundation, which is combating homelessness in Austin. “Those kinds of things are coming more into the public light,” Rowland notes. “They’re quiet, but effective.”
The Deer made Do No Harm, due out Nov. 1 and its first for the Keeled Scales label, with an $18,000 grant from Austin’s Black Fret patrons’ organization. They recorded the 10-song set in a variety of locations, at home in Austin and during tour stops in California (in an Airbnb) and Colorado, at the home of friends in Elephant Revival, whose Bonnie Paine and Charlie Rose make guest appearances. The grant, according to Rowland, allowed The Deer to tweak Do No Harm to its collective satisfaction.
“It’s been kind of drawn out over the past year and a half or two years,” Rowland says. “We recorded demos that are almost complete and then re-recorded everything. We got a really mature sound out of ourselves and tweaked a lot of tiny little details from the demos, changed some lyrics, moved some stuff to our liking. I think we got it really good. We really got to pay attention to the details — that’s what makes it shine.”
The Deer begin a short tour on Oct. 29 in Ashland, Ore., with dates in Washington, Utah and Colorado before wrapping up Nov. 14 in Burnet, Texas. Early 2020 will bring a run through the Pacific Northwest and April dates in California.
“We’re going where we have a pretty large fan base that we keep returning to a few times a year,” Rowland says. “We’re just kind of spreading it out as long as we can and getting the album out to our favorite places, and then we’ll see where else we want to take it.”
Listen to “Swoon” below.