Stu G Talks About New Album 'World Service' (
Last modified: 08 Dec 2003

Author: Dave Wood
Date: 08 Dec 2003

Having spent most of the past few months in a recording studio near their home town of Littlehampton, England, Delirious? have at last emerged with a brand new album. 'World Service' is their sixth studio album and is released on 15th December (10th February in the USA). spoke to the band's guitarist Stu G about the album.

"I think people will pick up from the album that it's been a year where we've really been reflecting on things" explains Stu. "We've really felt like we've been listening to God and so that was a whole concept [for this album], God talking to us, us talking to him". Explaining how the band came up with the title 'World Service' he continues, "The whole radio, transmission, satellite thing started to come to us. We were in the van one day, chatting about it all and I mentioned something about how BBC World Service transmits around the world and where ever you are you can pick it up. We believe that the songs are good enough to go around the world and maybe it's our service to the world."

So how does it compare to the previous Delirious? albums? "I would describe it as the heart and atmosphere of 'King of Fools' but hopefully with all the years since of learning how to play our instruments. It's a really laid back, honest, stripped bare Delirious? album" he explains.

For fans who have been keeping up to date on the album's progress, it seems like a long time since Delirious? first started making noises about, erm, making new noises. "Martin and I started getting together last November, so about a year ago, pooling our ideas and starting to work on some demos." says Stu. "That was when it all started. I think that we gave ourselves a little bit longer than we had previously because it was going so well and we felt like we were on to something and wanted to explore as much as we could. So we didn't actually get into the studio until about February time." But the band haven't been locked away in the studio for the whole of the year. The popularity of Delirious? around the world means that they combine working on a new album with travelling the world and performing concerts. "We've got commitments to play all over the place, so that kind of interrupts the recording schedule a bit" admits Stu. "You might get 3 weeks in the studio and then go away for a weekend and then come back. So it kind of ends up spreading it out over the year really."

"When we get into the studio we like to try and track everything as near to live as we can. So we all get in there, everything set up, we lay the songs down all together and then everything develops from there. We spent a lot of time on backing vocals and vocal arrangements so that all takes time."

Many people have seen the previous Delirious? albums as falling into very distinct categories. 'Glo' [2000] seemed to be aimed very much at the Christian market, while 'Audio Lessonover?' [2001] was a much more Mainstream friendly album. So where does 'World Service' fit into the grand scheme of things? "When we started writing it, and all through this year, we've not been aware of trying to target any audience other than just hoping to make a good Delirious? album. We're not saying we've got to write a whole album of pop songs or a whole album of worship material. We just wanted to reflect where we were at as a band. We're not so precious about whether people are offended by us being Christians or not. We're just hoping that everyone likes the songs."

The previous Delirious? album 'Audio Lessonover?' was not received as well as the band might have hoped. Some fans disliked the more mainstream style of the songs, a fact that Stu readily acknowledges: "This is an important album for us because not everyone liked Audio Lessonover and a lot of people just really liked the older stuff. So we've always known it's an important album at this time for us. Hopefully we've made an album that Delirious? fans will really love and that those who didn't really like Audio Lessonover will still be impressed by the music and love the heart of the songs." But he says they tried not to feel under pressure by the criticism 'Audio Lessonover' received. "We tried to just have the pressure of ourselves, to make a good album, and to reflect our relationship with God and explore areas of our faith that have been challenged. I guess there was a pressure but we tried not to let it influence our writing."

'World Service' sees the band once again getting involved in producing the album. With 'Audio Lessonover?' they relied solely on an outside producer, but this time they have co-produced the album, working closely with producer Julian Kindred as Stu explains. "The idea was that we were going to co-produce the last album, but things didn't quite work out like that. This time we returned more to the way we worked on albums like 'Mezzamorphis' and 'King of Fools' where we'd be in there with all our ideas but there'd be someone who was bottom lining it all. Julian Kindred was the bottom line for us on this one and did a fantastic job. He's a great engineer so sonically we knew we were going to get a great album and it was all going to sound really good. He spent a lot of time on us as individuals when we were recording our parts. I know for Stew, Jon and me in particular we spent a lot of time and effort because his ideas were really solid."

It's been a difficult year for Delirious? The band were deeply affected by the death of bass player Jon's uncle, also named John, who was a senior member of their church. Several of the songs on the album see the band drawing from that experience. "That was very much in our minds when we were writing those songs. 'Mountains High' came directly as a result of that" says Stu, and the lyrics that Martin wrote clearly show how the band were feeling at the time: "Sorrow came to visit us today/Was the longest day, was the loneliest day.../This mountain's high, too high for us". Another track on the album took on added poignancy after John's death. "Every Little Thing was being written before that, but when that event happened, with the family left behind, it changed the way that song went" Stu explains.

Stu goes on to describe how other factors also influenced some of the songs. "I've felt like I've had a real grace encounter with God. So songs like 'Grace Like A River' and 'Majesty' came directly out of that. The backing vocals were a response from me listening to the Red Hot Chill Peppers. I like the 'By The Way' album and they have lots of ooh's and aah's on there so we went a little bit down that road". But it's not just Stu and Martin who do all the song writing. "Jon's a great writer actually" confirms Stu, "we haven't really exploited that to his full potential yet. But he was involved on a couple of things. 'Free' was one that he had a real big part in. We're looking forward to seeing what he comes up with in the future."

Choosing his favourite song on the album is not easy for Stu. "For me there's not a weak song on there, I love them all. Probably my favourite is 'Feel It Comin On'. That song came when I started playing the riff in the studio and we kind of wrote it in the studio. I like 'Inside Outside', that's one of my favourites, and I think 'Grace Like A River' and 'Majesty' are special songs to me." Another track, titled 'God In Heaven' has a heavier feel than the band have produced before, but Stu says it's not necessarily a new direction for the band. "I think it's just us enjoying the music really. I was listening to quite a few bands, such as Interpol, and that was a big influence on my guitar sounds. In the middle of 'God In Heaven' Martin does that whole rock and roll vocals and that's great to hear him do that. He's got such a great voice and to hear him rock out like that was fantastic."

In the last six years Delirious? have had various attempts at breaking into the mainstream music, by releasing singles and having a string of Top 20 chart hits. But so far with 'World Service', the band have restricted their singles to MP3 downloads instead of chart singles. Does this mean they've given up on the mainstream? "No not at all" says Stu. "Over the last year or so we've been picking up the rumbles of us putting out old stuff, like the DVD and the compilation stuff we've done. So coming into this album we wanted to make sure we had 12 great new songs for everyone. Rather than releasing a single and make everyone buy it, we thought why don't we make it available on download and everyone can download it to their hearts content. It felt like we were giving something away to everyone who was interested and saying thank you for being patient. The other side is that releasing singles into the mainstream is phenomenally expensive and to be brutally honest with you it's been quite a hard year for us financially. So we didn't feel like that was the wisest thing for us to do at this moment in time unless that door opens and we're very open to that happening." So are they ruling out future singles? "We're definitely not ruling them out at all. We would still love to do that" he explains enthusiastically.

When it came to releasing their previous album 'Audio Lessonover?' in America, several track changes were made and the album was repackaged as 'Touch'. But this time, Stu says, the album will remain intact when it's released in the USA. "We were actually working on a global release and the only place that hasn't worked out is America. But it's only a couple of months this time. It should all be the same album, same track order and everything." The US release of 'Touch' also saw Delirious? opening an American branch of their home grown record company, Furious? Records. But with the recent worldwide decline in CD sales resulting in a difficult time for the music industry, Furious? USA struggled. "Not everything has gone our way this year" admits Stu, as he explains that Furious? USA has been forced to shut. "It didn't work very well for us, basically. It cost us loads and loads of money. We started it at a time when it wasn't a good time to start a label with where the music market was. So that's one of the lessons that we've learnt. If we'd had this album out last year when Touch was released maybe it would have all been different" he reflects, "It's something that we've just got to get on with really and say well, we can't do everything ourselves."

So without the benefit of their own record label in the States, Delirious? have turned to EMI owned Sparrow Records, who originally signed the band back in 1998 and released their early albums. "Luckily enough Sparrow absolutely love this new album" says Stu, "and we're really grateful to have a second chance with them. Sparrow and EMI release the album into the general market record stores. In Canada EMI are very interested in taking it to mainstream, the album, and probably singles as well. Also we're in talks with BMG in Germany for mainstream releases."

In addition to their new album, Delirious? have also spent some time recording a cover of a U2 song for a forthcoming compilation album in America. Stu describes how they got involved in the project: "The A&R guy that we used to work with at Sparrow was involved in putting together a U2 tribute album for EMI and asked us if we'd like to contribute a track, to which we said yes. We chose 'Pride', and we're pleased with the version and they all love it." The album, titled 'In The Name Of Love: Artists United For Africa' is due for release in January 2004 and proceeds will go to help fight the AIDS crisis in Africa.

Delirious? have been making regular visits to North America recently, as Stu explains. "We're booked in with an organisation called 'Acquire The Fire' so we've fitted in a lot of dates. Because of our families, we're all married, all got kids, we can't go out there and do it all in three months and then come back and spend a month in Europe. So we have to spread it out. It looks like we're there all the time, but actually if you consolidated all the dates you could do it in a tour that a normal band would do it in." But they're not forgetting about their fans back home in the UK. "We are aware of the UK, so in the next year we've got a few one-off dates coming up, like in January at Liverpool Cathedral. Then we're going to do a small tour in January, at the smaller venues. Then we're going to be at some of the events and festivals over the summer. Then we're building up to do a full on tour in October."

'World Service' is released worldwide on 15th December 2003, and in the USA on 10th February 2004.

Interview by Dave Wood.

Related Pages:
Albums: World Service