Drenched in psychedelic pop and blissful melodies, Delta Mainline’s debut offering Oh! Enlightened is excellent to say the least. The Edinburgh seven-piece now plan to release their second album through their own Rehab Sound Recordings label in late 2014. In a recent interview, A Music Blog, Yea? asked the band some questions and they replied with some awesome answers. Dig in as we spoke about being banned from hotels, their forthcoming album, and the story behind their name.
AMBY: Hey Delta Mainline, cheers for speaking with us. What’s the band been up to lately?
Delta Mainline: No problem, thanks for having us. A lot: this year’s been our busiest and most positive to date by a long, long way. We released our debut album back in May, toured the UK and are sounding as good as we ever have done. We’ve all worked hard and it’s been worth it. We’ve been under the radar in the last few weeks arranging the songs for the second album, due next year. We’ve also got a little something lined up in time for Christmas… All will be revealed soon.
AMBY: How would you classify your sound to all of your listeners?
Delta Mainline: This is always a tricky one! I just tell people to listen to us and decide for themselves. There are seven people in the band and we all like different music, all of which inevitably creeps into our overall sound. We’ve been labelled as a ‘psych’ band in the past, and there are definitely elements of that, but we’re not a psych band. The new material is much more country-tinged, with a fair bit of rock & roll, shoegaze, surf and other things thrown in for good measure. Hmmm. Let’s go for a juke joint band from outer space.
AMBY: There are seven members in the band. What’s the songwriting process like with such a large group?
Delta Mainline: David (the band’s frontman) writes the lyrics and the bones of the songs at home on his acoustic guitar before bringing them to our practice space where we develop them together. Sometimes this can take five minutes and it’s almost as if we all already know what to play, other times it can take weeks and we’re ready to kill each other by the end. Bruce, who plays brass on our recordings and at select gigs, summed up the process perfectly a couple of years ago: David brings us sketches and we colour them in together. There are no egos: everyone has an input.
AMBY: If you had to describe the band in one word, what would that word be?
Delta Mainline: Loud.
AMBY: Your second album is planned for release in late 2014. Is there a working title yet?
Delta Mainline: Not as yet. The title of our debut ‘Oh! Enlightened’ was decided once the record was already recorded and mixed. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same happens again this time. We’re certainly not going to sit down and brainstorm a name; it’ll come naturally when it’s ready to. Lots of people interpret certain lyrics of ours as being religious – to the extent that we’ve been mistaken for a religious band – so the name ‘Oh! Enlightened’ was a tongue-in-cheek swipe at that.
AMBY: When creating the album, what is your ultimate goal?
Delta Mainline: We want it to sound like seven people playing together in a room. Due to time and money constraints, we weren’t able to do this as much with the first album – lots of which was pieced together at the mixing desk across months and months. Neil Young’s approach to recording is going to be a definite influence here: we just want to take a single snapshot in time, imperfections and all. We can sound huge live, so the goal is to capture that as faithfully and effectively as possible. Tracking it all live is the best approach. A lot of the new material is quite sparse and delicate though, so expect quite a dynamic sounding record.
AMBY: Where did the name Delta Mainline come from, and what other names had you considered for the band?
Delta Mainline: There are a few reasons. Most of the band grew up in Musselburgh (a small town to the East of Edinburgh) where there are a lot of street names containing ‘Delta”, such as Delta Drive, Delta View and Delta Road. This must have been stuck in the band’s subconscious. ‘Delta’ is also a reference to the Delta blues, where all of our influences can be traced back to. The ‘Mainline’ part of the name is a nod to the Velvet Underground and Neil Young, and I guess possibly playing on the idea of taking a mainline journey back to the Delta blues. Or something along those lines anyway.
AMBY: If you could hang out with any three of your influences for a day, who would you choose?
Delta Mainline: Johnny Cash, Captain Beefheart and Gram Parsons. You just don’t get characters like those any more.
AMBY: What’s the best release of the year?
Delta Mainline: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away. Great band.
AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about Delta Mainline that nobody knows yet?
Delta Mainline: We all got temporarily banned from a chain of UK hotels called the Premier Inn. Apparently trying sneak a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Lenny Henry (a comedian who stars in their adverts) into our tour van was unacceptable behaviour and worthy of a ban.
Thank you Delta Mainline, for giving us your answers!
Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout