Living Life Out Loud (Christian Musician)
Last modified: 01 Sep 2000
Source: Christian Musician
Author: Bruce Adolph
Date: Sep 2000
When you're talking to a band's manager, you learn to take whatever they tell you with a little grain of salt. Rightfully they should be excited about the band they work with. You wouldn't want a manager who couldn't really care less about your career moves, right? So a few months ago when I talked with Tony Patato (Delirious' manager) about the upcoming release from the fab-five from South Hampton, England, I tried not to be completely swayed by the eloquent way in which he joyfully described the new album. His enthusiasm was indeed infectious. I've also learned that discretion can protect me, and that as much as I wanted to believe every word he was saying, I needed to take into account that at that time I hadn't heard one bit of it.
Tony told me that the new project, Glo, was stripped down and aimed vertically at God like Cutting Edge, but that it had the strong hooks in it like King of Fools and the stylistic artistry of Mezzamorphis. He said that it would be a record that all of the different Delirious fans could access. Well, I've had an advance copy of the CD for a few weeks now, and I have to say that somewhere in jolly ol' England there's one band manager who spoke very accurately about his band's latest project.
Glo is a multidimensional recording that will draw the listeners smack into the band's zeal for worshipping God. Delirious could've taken the easy road and put out an obligatory "modern worship" album. They could've slopped together a quick "back-to-our-roots" project that would've taken care of those fans whining for a return to their earlier writings.
But instead, the band has risen to the occasion and again forged ahead into new territory. There is so much going on lately in the modern worship movement and it is quite refreshing to see the forerunners of the movement not only step into the foray again, but also raise the bar of excellence while delivering truly inspiring music. From the lyrics to the spontaneously recorded high-worship moments to their dedication to finding the right sonic tones and the attention to detail in production, this album is pure and unabridged Delirious. Before I start sounding too much like Tony Patato, I'll let the guys in the band speak for themselves.
CM: Walk us through the transition from the early days to the new album, to where you're at today.
Martin: We're really pleased with how things have developed from the early days. We've evolved from being a church worship team through giving ourselves a band name, to crafting how we are in public a bit more. Making an album like King of Fools, then making an album like Mezzamorphis seemed to confuse people as to what we were and what we were doing. But I believe we needed to make that album, and we're still really proud of it, because it was crafted well and sounded good. And now all that experience has been poured into Glo. I think when people hear the record they'll hear it in terms of songcraft, in the playing, the whole mix feels bigger to me. The journey's been good so far. We're really pleased with the songs on the new record. There's a lot of emotion in it. We specifically sat in the studio together and cut a lot of the basic tracks live. A lot of what you hear is actually from the floor. Then we added a lot of stuff to make it a bit more presentable. We also did a lot of free-form playing, a lot of jamming and worshipping. There are a lot of sections on there which we've called "Glo in the Dark," where we just started playing. We're very pleased how it turned out.
CM: Tell us about the production of this album.
Stu G.: It's really important to us to reach a certain standard on whatever type of album we make. It's important that we have the right people around us involved in it. We used Ted T. [Tjornhom] from Nashville to coproduce it with us. The engineer was Charles Zwicky from Minneapolis. Together they really helped us create the soundscape for the record. Because of Charles we were able to lay stuff live as Martin was saying. That's the first time we've had an engineer of that level to work with. It was really releasing and freeing for us.
CM: At times on the record there are walls of sound. How will you meet the challenges of doing that live?
Stu G.: From a personal standpoint, I think we're going to need to spend some money [laughter].
CM: What do you need to buy?
Stu G.: One of the things that Charles brought to the sessions were these pedals by a guy called Zachary Vex-they're Z-Vex pedals. Charles actually worked with him on designing one. They're basically a range of fuzz and overdrive pedals, but they've got really interesting concepts to them. One of them is called a Fuzz Probe, and it's got a copper plate on it that works a little bit like theramin. So it's this enormous fuzz, but it's got a cue point that moves depending on how close you are to the copper plate. It's almost like a wah, but with this crazy sound. That's some of the hugeness of the guitar sounds.
CM: Do you need any guitars?
Stu G.: We always need guitars, like we need keyboards and drums and basses.
CM: How are you going to handle the vocals?
Martin: I think we're going to get Jon and Stu in there... [laughter]
CM: It's also got a huge drum sound.
Stewart: The sounds you hear are mostly coming from the floor, there are different snares on each track. It's the first time we've had an engineer that's really pushed us, especially on the drums. He's just brilliant. I've got a few kits, and we looked everything over. I ended up using this old Slingerland kit from 1942. We used it on Mezzamorphis. It's twenty-four [inches] by sixteen [inches], which is really shallow but quite big, and it has quite a flappy sound. So on songs like "Love Falls Down" it was quite a flappy sound. We sort of managed to build this tunnel around it, and it ended up that it's the only kick sound we use on the whole record on the end, and it was huge. So in songs like "My Glorious" you can really hear the kick.
CM: How will you do that live?
Stewart: I don't think we're going to get too precious about recreating it exactly. I'd really like to get some V drums, because of their portability and playability. I'd like to add a couple of those for some of the loop things that we play. I've also got the Flats kit that Phil reviewed [in the July/August 2000 issue of CM]. I used those in the studio to play loops, and then we sampled those in. I'd like to try to recreate some of those sounds as well. But it was a great experience from my perspective drum-wise. To just sit down and get such great things, it was really inspiring to play.
CM: How about the bass sounds?
Jon: On the album I used a '76 Rick 2001 which has been sitting in the studio, and had never really found its place. Charles was really into it, so we put some flat round strings on it and gave it this tone that was really nice and warm, but a little bit quirky. I also used a pedal called a Woolly Mammoth quite a bit. Charles designed it for Z-Vex. It gave this big fat wall of sound, with a kind of bass tone that I was really into. The other thing we did quite a bit was overdubbing some bass keyboards on a synth. That was quite an interesting time. There was quite a learning curve; I had the letters written on the keys, the great ace keyboard player that I am. So that was a bit of a running joke. It was great to experiment a little bit out of the box. It was very refreshing.
CM: Tell us about the keyboard that you used on the album.
Tim: With the keyboard these days, most of it really gets put in the computer. We were running Logichordia alongside the Vadar, because it's just so much stuff with all those plugins, that it's become like a guitar player having all his pedals. I don't really know what actually goes in, because what comes out is so different.
CM: Stu G. and Martin seemed to split up the writing chores on this album.
Martin: We started the writing process in about January. We only really had a couple of songs, and I remember having a discussion with everybody saying, "We've only got two or three songs here. Is this record going to happen?" And then all of a sudden, we took a day and went away to do something. We gave ourselves two weeks to try to get our heads into the record, and all of these songs started coming. It was one of the most incredible writing times. We were demoing them ourselves to try to make sure they were working. And then of course we all got together and fleshed them out, and I think at that point we realized this was going to be a great record. When we got into the studio, it just went far out. So what started early on as a B record for us very quickly became an A+. It was amazing what happened. God was really in it. It was a big surprise for all of us, to be honest.
CM: Where did you draw your inspiration for writing?
Martin: It's always a lot of places, isn't it? Stu, do you want to answer this?
Stu G.: For me this time a lot of the inspiration came from songs, actually. Definitely lyrically. A really big song on the album is called "Investigate," and there's an interesting story about that. Martin had been in London at a guitar shop and seen a dobro that he said was amazing, and he wanted me to check it out. So I went to see it-it's a 1937 single-resonate-and took it down and started playing the riff to "Investigate." You know how that is, sometimes things just come out. I left the shop with the guitar and the idea for the song, which just went from there. I'd been mulling over the fact that you can't get away from God, even if you want to. If you go to the ends of the earth, He'll be there. That's an awesome comfort. The song developed from there.
CM: Do you think the American audience is dialed in to what you are doing?
Martin: When we come to America we're aware that they haven't had the material as long. In England it's been around for eight years. Here we're trying to give a bit more of everything, whereas in England we focus on the newer stuff. The crowds have been great over here.
CM: How do you feel about the state of the worship movement right now?
Martin: We're hoping that what's happening right now is not just the next big trend. And hopefully kids won't relate worship to a style or a band. I'm hoping that this is going to go deeper with the kids. We're talking about something that's been happening for generations and generations: people worshipping God. Let's not forget the bigger plot. This is not about a silly little band traveling around, but this is about the Creator. I think that we'll be praying and talking about it a lot. We want to produce good fruit, not just good records.