Delta Spirit: Virtual Session

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Connecting from Nashville, Delta Spirit join Jade for a virtual session with The Current. (MPR)

Connecting from Nashville, Delta Spirit join Jade for a virtual session where they'll be playing songs from their latest record, What Is There, and talk about staying connected as a band when you're geographically separated.

Interview Transcript

JADE: Hey it's Jade you're joining us for another virtual session with The Current and today we are bringing you some conversation and live music from Delta Spirit. Thank you guys so much for joining us!

MATTHEW VASQUEZ: Hello!

Hello! So the new album from Delta Spirit is called What Is There and it's out right now, we're going to be listening to some live music from them in just a minute. Where are you guys right now?

We are at our buddy Joel's house. One of the gentlemen at our label said we could come over and pod with him for a minute while we knock out some radio stuff with you amazing people. It's kind of a hurricane of insanity over here but it's really fun so we're in Nashville actually and Brandon is living in San Diego, I'm living in Texas. These two [gestures to band] Will and Kelly are living in New York and we just all convened in Nashville [tongue click] at Joel's house. Thanks Joel!

How did you feel about the flight? Are you guys feeling like, flight okay?

Yeah. Flight okay. Flight okay is... I want to make that a t-shirt. Yeah everybody wears masks. The social contract is in tact. We're pleased. We all flew on different airlines and it was fine, y'know, middle seats were open. Those poded in threes sat together and it felt safe. Super clean. Definitely the cleanest airport experience I'll ever have in my life.

Well that's...

I've seen some dirty airports in my life.

[laughs] And we'll talk about them in a minute. But I want to go back because this is the first album in six years and I kind of want you guys to take us into the room the very first day you were all back together and what did it feel like to be back in a studio ready to make some music together?

Well, it was kind of funny because we, trying to figure out which amps worked and we all kind of looked at each other. What song was the first song that we played together? Me neither. Can you guys hear him? Yeah yeah, Kelly's basically saying here, yeah, we can't remember. But I remember laughing. I just remember being like, stumbling through these songs them kind of working. In the way that a band that had never played together. The rust was there but underneath the thing that worked was also still very much there. We spent four or five days together just trying to jam through as many different types of chord progressions and really loose song ideas as possible to kind of start our songwriting for what would become a new record.

Did you do all the songwriting, all the song building together in one room?

No. A lot of things started, a lot of the song building happened in Kelly's studio and kind of make a demo, or I'd make an iPhone demo at the very early stages of our writing I was in a tiny apartment in Oslo, Norway. Go Vikings, right?

Yeah, exactly. Minnesota shout-out.

What's up! There are a lot of Scandinavians out your way. A lot of things got written on Grooveboxes and the iPad GarageBand. Darcy, also big shout out to her drumming ability on the Apple GarageBand.

[drum sting] Heeyyy

Lots of that stuff. And then we would take that and then meet up and break it out and jam through it until it started to sound like a record. Lots of little moments from each session kind of survived along the way which is pretty neat to have the sound of discovery along the record.

So what was- can you remember a moment where you felt like, "Yeah this is it. This is working. This is gonna be a good album"?

Oh yeah. When we were jamming "How Bout It" we finally heard Brandon capturing the drums and just screaming at himself to get the part and then he'd just play this monstrous fill and I'd be like "Ahh, there it is." There's just a couple of those things. Will's guitar solos, once they settled into the track, were those things that just give you the chills and make you dance around your house. This record is definitely the unchained Will McLaren record with the most insane guitar solos of any Delta Spirit record.

Well hopefully we'll get to hear one of those guitar solos. I know people really want to hear some music so I think we should talk a little bit more in a bit but first let's hear a couple of songs from the new album What Is There, this is Delta Spirit with a virtual session on The Current with "It Ain't Easy".

[Music: "It Ain't Easy" by Delta Spirit]

[Music: "Home Again" by Delta Spirit]

That was "Home Again", this is Delta Spirit joining us for The Current's virtual session. I saw you guys post something back in March that said, "It's hard to imagine that just last Wednesday we were playing our first and only show on tour, our first tour back from an almost five-year break," and can you guys talk about that a little bit? I know you're such a huge live band, you love playing your music live - has there been any sort of positive that's come out of the fact that you guys aren't on tour right now?

I mean this is definitely for so many of us been a year of acceptance and yeah, I mean we all go in waves of that. It would take a pandemic for me to get off the road for a year and I spent a lot of that time hanging out with my son. Pretty much all the time, hanging out with my now five-year-old boy who I missed first steps, first words. Just an incredible amount of intimacy and hugs that I've missed out on through the years. This year I taught him how to swim, we're off training wheels, all sorts of things and it's just such a dream to have that.

So are you finding yourself writing a lot or doing any music or is that completely kind of, besides things like this, sort of off right now?

There's definitely a bit of music getting written in this time and we all have our home studios so there's lots of Dropbox links being sent back and forth. Hopefully working towards a new bit of Delta Spirit music, we'll see! In the meantime it's just, we're all in this together if we had played two shows and the rest of the world was moving on without us I think we'd feel a lot differently, but we're all in the same situation together and just doing our best to be as kind as we can be, right?

Yeah. That's a hard thing but it's what everybody's doing right now. I saw kind of like the big headline for this new album of your guys' has been, "We paused the band to save the friendship." I am curious with the pandemic and you guys all living in different places and you're not on tour right now, how is the friendship? How are you guys keeping those connections going?

We all get on the phone every week, or bi-weekly and we have, you know, pretty funny text chains with gifs and other hilarious things and moments that have happened and it's our little community that's rolled along and its never hindered by our geographic problem in the first place. Before this we were still communicating and talking and joking around with stupid things that we see.

I feel like that's happening more now with some of my friends that I never talked to before. Now we check in with each other a lot more for no reason other than it's just, I don't know, becoming more of a habit to send random gifs and funny things to people? Do you find that's happening more?

Yeah. I think I find that more with my non-musician friends than with my musician friends. I think we are a tribe of folks that kind of pick up where we leave off anyway with other friends that are on tour and things like that. You know what they're kind of - the general gyst from their Instagram or Facebook but nobody's above picking up the phone, having it out, or talking for half an hour. Just catching up with stuff or FaceTime.

That's the life these days. A lot of band I talk to say that when you're in the recording process and when you're writing the album maybe you come in with a certain theme or there's some sort of idea but then afterwards, after you finish the album and you're playing the songs and reflecting on it, the meaning of the album changes for you. Did you have that with this album, and if so, what's been that change?

"I put my hands up!" That kind of thing. Or "What Is There" and that song kind of being about the band and how much I love these guys and the journey that we've been on together and how that's mixed up with expectations of every time you release a record and make that scrapbook to share with the rest of the world. We share it with ourselves and hold on to it and have these memories. "What Is There" is kind of, the song was about just stepping up to the plate and swinging away. How that's going to play out, we never imagined that was gonna be doing all of our radio in one day in Nashville together and having our bass player stuck in Canada. Weird, right?

I think there are so many... becoming a flexible person, I think is something necessary for 2020 and being able to, like you said earlier, accept everything that's happening and just kind of allow for things.

The year of acceptance.

We'll make that into a t-shirt. Is there, when you're writing these songs, do you find that it's hard not to talk about things that are right now? Either quarantine things or pandemic things or does the music need to be meaningful because this is such a intense time of global change and civil rights change?

Yeah absolutely I think the 20-year-old Vasquez would be trying to write about this a lot more and feeling super self important that I was going to be the one to solve this song, like Bill and Ted in white stallions, you know, trying to bring the world together and all that. I think now it's just writing songs for the love of the craft and if they fall in line with those ideas that are in the popular zeitgeist, then cool!

Well I have very much been enjoying this new album so I think we should get one last song off the new album. Again it's called What Is There, this is "The Pressure" - it's live from Delta Spirit on The Current's virtual session.

Thank you!

[Music: "The Pressure" by Delta Spirit]

That was "The Pressure" live from Delta Spirit on The Current's virtual session and again Delta Spirit's new album What Is There, it is out now. Thank you all so much for joining us and bringing us some live music.

[Matthew] Thank you so much for having us!

Thanks to the technical producers Jesse and Derrick and technical director Veronica, and thank you for watching and check back for the next virtual session.

Songs Played

05:58 It Ain't Easy
09:24 Home Again
20:00 The Pressure
Songs 1, 2, and 3 are all from Delta Spirit's 2020 record What Is There, out on New West Records.

Credits

Host: Jade
Producer: Jesse Wiza
Technical Director: Eric Romani

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