Living Room Interview (Living Room CD)
Last modified: 01 Nov 2007
Source: Living Room CD
Date: Nov 2007
This interview appeared on the free 'Living Room CD' given to fans who attended the exclusive Delirious? concert at The Embassy in London on 20th November 2007.
Stew Smith: We're in the studio at the minute, the five of us, and, uh, we're putting together this little interview for the Embassy gig on the 20th, so we hope you've had a great time there, and we just wanna ask ourselves a few questions, which feels a little unusual, but, kicking off, we're obviously in the studio, making the new album, so I'm going to direct the first question to Martin: tell us a little bit about the new album.
Martin Smith: And who are you, though?
SS: Oh, I'm Stew Smith. [MS laughs] Who are you?
MS: Erm, my name's Martin Smith, and I'm used to holding the microphone, but these strange intimate settings, sitting in the Living Room, are always a little bit more nervy, but what a night! Amazing; thank you for coming. It's been a real experience for us to play in a little venue again; as I said in some of the blogs in the past two weeks, we were [playing to] twenty thousand people in the Coca-Cola Dome in Jo'burg, so this is different for us, but fantastic; we've loved it, and great to kick off some new tracks from the record Kingdom of Comfort. [pause] Was I supposed to carry on there? [laughs]
SS: You can, if you've got anything more to say!
MS: Stu, Stu G, so, tell us about the new record, and the title, and all that stuff; how was it inspired?
Stu G: Yeah, well, "Kingdom of Comfort" is the title track, and really that song has kind of been inspired by the last couple of years of us travelling round the world, you know, and playing in some places where we've seen extreme poverty situations as well, and just really asking ourselves the questions: what does that mean to us? What's our response to that kind of stuff? And we've really been inspired by a guy called Rob Bell, who talked about King Solomon and how he kind of built up this amazing kingdom, but actually he forgot to tell the story of where they'd come from, and in the end, you know, the question is, what are we building: a kingdom of comfort, or the Kingdom of Heaven? So that's kind of where it comes from. Really, the album has a lot of that kind of theme on it: some tough questions, some kicking music, and we're really proud of it, and really hope that you've enjoyed what you've heard tonight and what you're going to hear in the future!
SS: Jon, can I ask you a question?
Jon Thatcher: Yes, please!
SS: New website, OK? You've spent the last year or so getting it up to date; can you just tell us a little bit about that and try and include something about doing some of the download stuff and reactions to that?
JT: Yep. So, this is Jon, the bassist; you've obviously made your way into the Living Room; otherwise, you wouldn't be here, so welcome! We're glad you're here; wouldn't be the same without you. The website needed a redesign, so that is where we're at, and the added feature is the Living Room, which is where all this community stuff is happening; we've got big plans to develop that and to change the world! It's definitely a work in progress, and this is where we're going to be releasing exclusive downloads. So keep an eye on this, with the album being released, and we're just glad you're here, and it's great to be with you!
[sound of knocking]
MS: It's been pretty amazing, though, hasn't it? Getting on...
SG: Sorry about the knocking...
MS: Sorry; it's the builder! We're having our loft boarded over today, and so... but there's a long story; he wouldn't go in there and touch the insulation, because it brought him out in a rash...
SS: Poor boy.
SG: Well, I'll tell you what: working brought me out in a rash! That's why I joined the band...
SS: You haven't had a rash for years!
SG: No! [laughs]
SS: Tim, do you want to answer us a little question?
Tim Jupp: Just a little one.
SS: We're halfway through the Omnisonic Tour; have you got any plans, have we got any plans? Tell the people plans for a UK/Europe Kingdom of Comfort tour next year sometime; are there any thoughts?
TJ: Yes, well, I think next year's going to be another...
SS: Who are you?
TJ: Your brother-in-law. [laughs] Next year's going to be a very full, packed year: a lot of countries, a lot of places, and I think one of the reasons we're really excited about next year is because we're going to be playing so many of these new songs everywhere we go! But I think one of the highlights we really look forward to is that later on, next year, in '08, in the UK, we're going to get out and do a full, rocking UK tour where we can really get all these songs out and people come and hear them. You know, some for the first time, probably, still. So that's going be really exciting.
MS: And it's fair to say that the new songs are sounding great live, aren't they? And we're really pleased; we've been working hard this year on them.
TJ: You're blowing your own trumpet there?
MS: Absolutely! But it's a great feeling to be able to do them, and highlights so far are "Kingdom of Comfort", "My Soul Sings", "God is Smiling", working title "Illuminate" (that could change), so it's a good time to be in the band!
SS: Stu, I've got a question that I was asked this week in an interview. It was a question from this guy that he felt would never go away: "Will Delirious? ever release mainstream singles again?"
SG: Right. I think, who knows, really? I think that for us, what it's about is not about being rock stars; it's not about having massive hits; but it is about environment, and it is about connecting with people, meeting people where they're at, breaking people's hearts with music: that's a really important thing for us. And so we love doing what we do within the church world, but we're at a time when we want to make music for everyone, not just for people in churches, so I think: watch this space! We may release singles again, but it's more important that the music gets out there somehow. And the Living Room is part of that; this gig that you've been a part of tonight is part of that; and for us, it's like a reconnection. We've got vision for the future for TV and for radio, and stuff like that. Who knows what it's going to look like? It's really about the music getting out there and fulfilling our calling and vision.
SS: How difficult is it to be influenced by other artists, but to write music that sounds different from them?
SG: That's a great question. You know, music is so inspiring, isn't it? There's so many great artists out there; we're listening to loads of stuff at the minute. I think you try not to sound like other people, but you can't deny your influences, either, and so they get mixed up inside and come out a certain way, don't they?
MS: I think that when we [pause, laughs] when we first talked about how this new record was going to sound, we were having discussions on what we were going to do and how we were going to cut it, and everything... and Stu G said, "At the end of the day, we can do what we can do, but at the end of the day, Martin's got to sing on it!" [laughter all around] I don't know whether I took that as a compliment or not! So I think I know where he's coming from.
JT: Better than me singing on it.
SG: No, I disagree.
MS: Yeah, but you have been singing on this record. Well, you've been in the booth, anyway.
JT: I've been in the booth; this first step!
MS: It's been great, and there's a photo to prove that!
SS: Do you remember that time when I was doing backing vocals, and we had one of our favourite sound guys, Paul Burton... so there I was, playing drums, kind of knew what I was doing, and just concentrating really hard on playing and singing... I asked Paul at the end of the gig, "how did it sound?" And he said he didn't know, because he hadn't even plugged it in. [pause, laughter all around] And he picked up the other end of the mike lead that was sticking out the back of the board; it was never even plugged in! And I've refused to sing backing vocals ever since. Tim, you're Mr Businessman; what do you think of what Radiohead have done with their single and letting people pay whatever they want for it?
TJ: I think if you're a fan, you probably love it; if you run a record company, you probably hate it. I think it's a brilliant thing; it's very challenging, isn't it? Exciting. So maybe we should just give all our music away for free in future.
MS: Well, the interesting thing about that...
SS: I heard a cheer out there!
[laughter all around]
MS: ...is that they've changed the rules in terms of the hard copy, haven't they? Charging 40 quid, whereas we've all been wondering, "well, how can you even charge 10 quid for an album?" But all of a sudden, they've changed the rules. So I don't know, none of us know where it's going, but I guess we've got to keep making great music. Aren't we amazing? Anything else?
SS: Is that really Huey from the Fun Lovin Criminals there tonight?
SG: Yeah, he's still going, actually! He hasn't stopped...
MS: So I've got a question for Tim, then. We had this crazy summer, where we took all our wives and sixteen kids to Asia, which was mad, looking back, but it was amazing. And we started in India; we then went to Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia... I mean, how did that trip leave you as a family when you came home?
TJ: It's been amazing; funnily enough, actually, just yesterday, my wife, Becca, was in school, doing an assembly, talking about it all, and it's so really fresh in our memories; now, it's still impacting us. And it's amazing how for the children, it's impacted them, and I just think [phone rings] what an amazing thing, and I think we're just still trying to take on the responsibility of how we respond to it, really, in the best way we can, because I think you can't do things like that [phone stops ringing] and not let it affect you, and feel that something for you, and maybe you can make things for other people different because of it. It was a great privilege to do that.
MS: And how, Stu, how do you think it's affected the record, our experience?
SG: Well, certainly from a lyrical point of view. We came back off that trip; we had a lot of music already made. But really a lot of those things we saw and a lot of the things we felt, a lot of the smells and things we tasted, they've invaded the record, and they've invaded the writing of the songs - sitting in your room here and just bantering around lyrics and just really out of conversation: how does this make us feel; what do we remember about that? What do we think about our culture and how much we've got, and how right is it that some people have to live on a rubbish dump in Cambodia? All that kind of stuff is in there, and I think we're wrestling with it, and I don't think we've got many answers, but I think that's all required of us, and so on a lot of these songs, we're putting the challenge out there for us as much as anyone else.
MS: I know for myself that I've never been so emotional singing them, lines like "I thought I believed, but I just turned away from these souls living in this hell today". They're different lyrics from singing "now is the time for us to shine"; you know, it's a different emotion, a different headspace, and I think that there's definitely been some tears shed over this record, and I hope that when people listen to it, you can hear that in there. Yeah, great, well, that's going to be out on April 1st, isn't it, Tim?
TJ: It's going to be out in April; maybe the first, yeah.
MS: Great, yeah. Can't wait for you to get it!
SS: So we've had "God is Smiling" available for download for a week, and I think we've got some fairly accurate figures; I think we've had nearly 5,000 downloads in a week, which is amazing, isn't it? Because that's people that signed in in the Living Room, they've taken their seat, put their feet up, poured their cup of tea, and listened to some new music, which is fantastic, but that obviously means that those 5,000 people who have got that track are obviously sending that around the Internet as we speak kind of thing, so we're really pleased about that. It's a great song, and we're playing it live at the minute as well, and it's good, and I think that a lot of that stuff we've seen over the last year, India, Cambodia, Indonesia, all that stuff comes out in your playing, doesn't it, when there's definitely that tension of feeling like I've been a Christian for twenty-odd years and thinking you've pretty much got most things nailed, and then all of a sudden, you see some of that extreme poverty, and you're kind of asking the questions, where does God exist in this world? kind of thing, and what am I doing to help? Am I totally ignorant? Am I in my own little bubble in my little village in the south coast of England? All those kind of tensions I think we've kind of captured on the record: lyrically, musically, when we went in and played as well, there's that tension that comes out, so it's definitely an interesting time for us.
SG: It is, it is. I think even with the title of the song, and the title of the album, "Kingdom of Comfort", there are many levels on that, and personally, I don't want to be comfortable anymore. It's like being comfortable with my faith; I want to ask deep questions: what's required of me and the environments that I put myself in. I just want to keep asking the questions and being uncomfortable and unsafe and dangerous. And, you know, we need each other for that, and we need relationships, we need to get out there and just be what we're talking about rather than talking about it.
SS: I was working with Mark the designer yesterday on getting stuff together for photoshoot yesterday and trying to capture this whole thing of the tension of almost living in this easy, consumer-driven society where everything's instant, and so we're trying to capture that visually on the cover. I ended up yesterday dragging a beaten-up shopping trolley out of a ditch [MS: Brilliant!], up to my ankles in mud with Mark, and so we're going to spend today and Monday spraying it up. We had permission, by the way, because I went to so many supermarkets, saying "have you got any old shopping trolleys that you don't want?" "Oh, you can't have any of them; they're rented..." Even my friends down at our local supermarket didn't have any. But I went to one superstore, and they said, "Oh, no, we haven't got any, but if you go across the road and into the ditch, there's one of ours over there that you can have if you get it out", so we got permission. But the cover's going to be interesting; we're shooting that next week as well, and you'll obviously have to wait until April to see that, but I think it's going to be an amazing cover. We've also got some fantastic chairs and stuff we got from the local car boot sale at 7 yesterday morning in the cold, so it's going to be exciting.
MS: Brilliant. Well, hey, thanks for coming tonight again to the show, everyone. Thanks for listening to us; the future's bright, and I guess it's time to say good-bye!
VARIOUS: Adios! Cheerio! Bye! See you in the Living Room!
With thanks to Oscar [mathemezzamorphis] who transcribed the interview.