Interview with Martin and Tim (BC Christian News)
Last modified: 08 Apr 2001
Source: BC Christian News
Author: Meg Johnstone
Date: 08 Apr 2001
BRITISH BAND Delirious is stopping in Edmonton, Kelowna and Vancouver as they tour North America to promote their new album, Glo, April 6 - 8. BC Christian News contacted lead vocalist Martin Smith and keyboardist Tim Jupp in England to talk about Glo and the band's vision for their music.
Meg Johnstone: Glo has been pitched as a return to your Cutting Edge roots lyrically. The album has a sense of homecoming, of feeling God's pleasure in who you are as a band, that you're doing what you're made for. Is this accurate -- is it a return to something?
Martin Smith: No, I think it's a natural progression of taking all that we've learned across the years in terms of production and how to communicate in our songs into producing a record. We wanted to make a record for the church again specifically so that people could sing songs just to keep encouraging them, because that's a lot of what we do. I guess the record after that could be completely different.
BCCN: What happened in New Zealand with 'History Maker'? Was that a pivotal moment for the band?
MS: We were playing at the Parachute Festival in New Zealand in a big, wide open field, I think there was about 25,000 kids there. As we were singing 'History Maker' it dropped down and everyone was singing, "Holy is the Lord." It was a very powerful moment and we just wandered offstage without finishing the song. We definitely heard God saying, "Never stop writing songs that these kids can sing." So that's why we made Glo. Of course the world is a bigger place than that, and there are kids out there that don't want to sing those sorts of songs, and so we'd like to make music for that scene too. We're kind of doing both things really.
BCCN: Is it difficult to do both?
MS: No, it's good, it's two different ways to communicate, but to us it feels like the same groove that we're in, because we just want to praise God in everything that we do, and lift the church but also reach out.
BCCN: After that experience, you'd had several tracks you were working on, but you left those and moved on to Glo. Was there a change of direction at that time?
MS: We did actually start recording an album, and we kind of shelved it because we just felt strongly that we should be making more of a praise and worship record. We've just recently pulled all those songs out again, and we've almost about finished another record now, which is coming out next year. We're just writing loads of different stuff at the moment.
BCCN: Does it have a title yet?
MS: No, it doesn't actually, but we've got a single coming out in June called 'Waiting for the Summer'.
BCCN: It's the first time we've heard Martin Smith, the father, on a CD. In the song 'Hang onto You' I can hear almost a change in your voice, it sounds like you're singing to a child. Has parenthood changed your music at all?
MS: My eldest daughter's four now, so we've obviously made a few records before that. Yeah, I think just having children changes your whole life in general, and of course that spills into your music. That's a good question, I think it enriches everything and makes you look at the world slightly differently. I think it's a great thing.
BCCN: The whole album is a little more experimental instrumentally -- you've got the monks, you've got the pipes, you've got the string quartet -- but something very special happened at the end of 'Jesus' Blood' and the track after that. Are you guys going to continue in this more instrumental direction?
MS: Funny enough, the new record we've made is completely much more of a pop record, really. So you just never know with us, do you? You know, one minute we're on to one thing, and the next minute we change it. But I think it always comes out live, that spontaneous thing. There's always a moment every night where we'll go off somewhere where we don't know where we're going. That is an element to what we do, but I think it was special for that record and you can't try and reproduce things that are special.
BCCN: Glo is quite a bit different from Mezzamorphis. What was the band trying to do with Mezzamorphis?
Tim Jupp: For us that was kind of the next step on the journey at the time. You probably know that we've got a real heart for taking the music outside of the church scene. Back here in the UK we've really been trying to push through there, and been putting singles out, a few top 20's -- Mezzamorphis was the next record on that journey. I think we sort of took a bit of a left turn, as it were, and brought the latest record out, Glo, which is album a little bit like some of the older records But at the moment we're actually working on another very sort of mainstream type record.
BCCN: Tell me a bit more about that -- is it going to be like Mezzamorphis in some way?
TJ: Yeah, it's almost a bit smaller sounding. I think it just sounds a bit more like us guys sitting in a room playing together, a little bit more similar maybe to some of the albums that have come out recently from England as some of the British guitar bands. Like Coldplate, Manic Street Preachers and Radiohead, which we love.
BCCN: [Guitarist] Stuart Garrard has said that making King of Fools and then Mezzamorphis seemed to confuse people as to who you are and what you're doing as a band. So can you clear up the confusion -- where are you guys going?
TJ: Our vision really definitely is, without wanting to pigeonhole ourselves, to get the music outside of the church. I think what sometimes is confusing for people on your side of the pond is that it's been a very quick journey, our records have come out very quickly, whereas back home in the UK here it's been a longer journey. There's been more of progression and natural development that people have seen; sometimes it's a bit easier for them to understand how we're moving from one record to the next. So sometimes from your side it's like, "Are they a worship band, are they trying to be a rock band, what are they trying to be?"
BCCN: Do you think there's a more fundamental problem here in North America that we have this strong divide between secular and sacred, that maybe doesn't exist in the UK?
TJ: Yeah, definitely in North America there's a much stronger sort of Christian subculture where you can actually be successful and even make your living within that scene, whereas back over here in the UK we don't have that at all, it's such a small Christian music scene. That's really good for us in some ways, because if we want to make it successful as a band there's a great challenge then to make great music which has to stand up in our mainstream arena. We can't just go round in England playing in churches and do that for a living. We have to move out of that. That's a great challenge for us because we enjoy trying to be as good as the rest of them, really. In England, if you say you play Christian music, you'll find people are very cynical towards that, because typically, the history of that over here is either they're just trying to use that as a platform to preach from, or making second-rate music, you know.
BCCN: Is there a special ability people in the UK have to lead the Christian music scene into new ground because you're almost forced to?
TJ: Yeah, it feels like that sometimes, and we enjoy that. We don't have Christian radio, Christian TV, and for us that feels like a great thing. "Isn't it great we don't have that thing here, if we're going to make it we'll have to make it in the real world." For us as Christians, we would feel, "Where would Jesus be, who are the people he would be mixing with?" If he was playing guitar I'm sure he'd be down at the pubs and clubs singing his tunes and telling his stories.
BCCN: Then the difference in your albums is not so much a matter of trying to keep the audience guessing as it is trying to walk that line?
TJ: I think so. For us we never thought about it so much, the records being so different. I think for us each record comes out of the same place in a sense. I think for us it's all those things all the time. It's all coming out of the heart of worship and wanting to be people who laid our lives down for God. But it just happens that sometimes they're songs you can sing in church and sometimes they're not.
BCCN: Is Delirious bigger in Canada than it is in the US?
TJ: Yeah, actually. I think the Canadians understand us English maybe more than the Americans do. I shouldn't fuel the competition between the Americans and the Canadians, should I? I'll get in trouble. (laughs) I think there definitely is a cultural thing, and I think even in terms of what has been happening in the church in the UK, and how a lot of our songs have reflected that. I think that probably relates and translates a bit more into the church scene in Canada than perhaps it has done into the American church. Maybe that's why a lot of people have caught hold of the vision and the songs a little bit more enthusiastically in Canada.