A Conversation with Delirious (CDNow.com)
Last modified: 01 Oct 1999
Author: Bruce A. Brown
Date: Oct 1999
Few new artists in the past several years have created as much buzz and excitement as the British band Delirious. Initially known as the Cutting Edge Band, the group was formed as a response to the worship needs of its community in Littlehampton, England. The band's fusion of pop song structure and biblically-based lyrics helped spark a revolutionary approach to corporate worship in the U.K. and inspired Delirious to compose songs which would soon reach an audience beyond the church. Lead vocalist/songwriter Martin Smith and guitarist/songwriter Stuart Garrard recently spoke with musicforce.com's Bruce A. Brown about a bunch of stuff, including the band's new album, Mezzamorphis, and their upcoming U.S. tour...
BAB: From the time you changed from the Cutting Edge Band to Delirious, you felt that it was important to get your music into the mainstream shops. Why?
Stu: We felt that since we were encouraging people to have an effect on their culture, it would be hypocritical for us not to do the same. We think our reason for being is not just to make music for Christians but for everyone, and not everyone buys records from Christian bookstores.
BAB: King of Fools was a substantial change musically, in that there were more pop-based song structures and a few more musical chances taken. How different is Mezzamorphis?
Stu: Mezzamorphis reflects a band that is two years on from King of Fools. Our songwriting and playing has developed and hopefully improved. In other words we think it's more "grown up."
BAB: How have you maintained community ties as you've been drawn away from home?
Stu: By not being away too long. We are all active members of our church, and we have kids that go to local schools. We are very much part of local life here in Littlehampton.
BAB: Do you feel you've raised expectations that unsaved kids have of Christian music, as well as what Christian kids think of Christian music?
Stu: All we are trying to do is make the best music we can. Hopefully God puts His mark of approval on what we do. Some non-Christian people definitely like what we do on a musical level, which is fantastic. If we can bridge a gap between the church and the rest of the world, then great.
Martin: I think Mezzamorphis is an album that can probably carry the band a bit further into having a platform to play in environments where the church is not normally welcome. In that sense we're playing a small part in invading the culture and changing people's perceptions of who God is and maybe shedding a bit of hope in people's lives.
BAB: You've already toured the U.K., playing many of the songs from the new album. Have people's perceptions of the band changed? Do they expect you to look or act like a "pop" band?
Stu: Some folks wish we were still doing Cutting Edge, and some wholeheartedly love what we're doing now. I think the majority of people expect a show and that's the business we're in, so we work hard at putting on an entertaining evening. If I were paying ten pounds for a ticket to a concert, I would expect the band to act like a "pop" band on stage.
BAB: Martin, how do you go about writing songs? Do you come in with lyrics fully written and suggest melodies, or do you all build songs from the ground up?
Martin: Normally I'm buzzing all year on things, and trying to watch people, read things, read the newspapers to get inspiration and listen to people's conversations. I keep a little book full of lyrics, and draw from them as the year goes on. It's only when we actually prepare for an album that Stu and I will sit down on our own and really flesh the ideas out. At the moment what happens is that Stu and I will get an arrangement, finish the song, demo it and then as a band we will then thrash that out in a recording situation.
BAB: Tell me about the recording of Mezzamorphis; where it took place, etc.
Martin: The recording of Mezzamorphis started in a derelict old school, in Ford, in West Sussex. We turned a classroom into a control room, and there were some wooden rooms where students used to dine, in which we set up a drum kit with different mike positions. We did the bulk of it there for the first six months in between touring. In the end, we went to a smaller studio in Ford just to finish it off.
BAB: There are two songs on the Sparrow Records version not on the Virgin Records version. Why did you choose to include those particular songs?
Martin: Those songs are called "Jesus' Blood" and "Kiss Your Feet" which are on the Sparrow version but not on the Virgin version. Virgin felt that the album as a whole was so powerful as it was that they didn't need any more songs. Virgin wanted to include "Deeper 99," which was a remake of "Deeper," because that may possibly be the second single in the US.
BAB: What's the story behind the song "It's OK"?
Martin: "It's OK" was triggered by meeting someone in a restaurant in Texas, a girl who had just tried to take her life. She had just come out of the hospital and we were talking with her. She looked so forlorn, so empty like the hope had been sucked out of her. Yet pretty too. I'd already written the song, but this confirmed to me what the whole lyrics were about, and it's a song of healing really to the brokenhearted.
BAB: You're finally putting together a major tour in the U.S. When does that start and who will be going out with you?
Martin: We start in September and at the moment we've formally invited a band called Switchfoot who toured with us in England. We really like the guys and what they stand for. We're gonna try and do three trips in the autumn to try and crack most of the country.