Before we start, there is burning question, a giant elephant in the room. Our thoughts revolve around it. Are you ready? Really? Well, okay. We will finally get to know: Does Delta Sleep‘s drummer Blake Mostyn knows his snare is full of carbon dioxide? Gladly, vocalist/guitarist Devin Yucell provided us with a proper answer:
‘Oh yes, he definitely does… But we’re trying to regulate our carbon footprint so we’re slowly transitioning to a more eco-friendly snare sound. Something more like a willow tree or a little cactus maybe.’
Puh, thankfully we got that out of the way. And now, focus! Everything Is Noise is more than stoked to unveil Delta Sleep‘s final Soft Sounds video! For that occasion, we took the opportunity to talk with Devin about their journey, and how they became the fantastic band that they are now.
UK-based alternative/math rock outfit Delta Sleep made their scene fall in love with them with their compelling, yet catchy and accessible sound. While talking about this balance, the band stated:
‘We definitely try to make things playful and colourful where possible. Whether it’s the vocal hooks or whether the song is very technical and complicated structurally, it’s really all about the ‘feel and flow’ for us. If you can groove to it or nod your head to it (whether it’s in 4/4 or 23/8), that is a sign that we’re on the right track. On the other hand, we are also our own worst critics, so we will never be fully finished with a song unless all four of us are satisfied with every little detail. We never settle on something simply because it sounds catchy, it has to have some sort of unique feel or colour that we attach to it.’
Even if you can somehow put a genre tag on the band, Delta Sleep are definitely hard to describe. While they easily tick some boxes of math rock, they also have a certain roughness going on, in addition to layers of Midwest emo and modern indie. Gladly, they weren’t too annoyed by the question of how they would describe their music:
‘This is always a super hard question for us to answer because I feel like all of our songs are quite different. I’m gonna go with – emotionally-charged alternative post-indie pop punk core with a technical edge and a lot of feel…
Actually no, maybe just ‘Alternative Rock.”
But let’s get to the meat – quit the fanboying. We are are here to learn about the band’s current project, Soft Sounds. If you are yet unfamiliar with that: Delta Sleep toured a lot in recent years, and during their travels, they often used the opportunity being in special places to record videos of them playing alternate version of their songs. The environment was not only beautifully shot, but also framed the performances with mesmerizing visuals. Since those video were created over several years, the feeling of experiencing it as some kind of diary is inevitable. Coincidentally, the band had a similar feeling:
‘The whole series and vinyl release is basically an audio-visual diary showcasing some of the amazing places we’ve visited around the world. The vinyl even comes with little postcards for each location, with pictures and stories from the time and place each song was filmed. It felt like a great way to capture and time stamp a lot of crazy experiences we’ve had over the years. We’re mainly doing this series for ourselves so we can have a cool vinyl with lots nice pictures and videos alongside it. If people like it, then that’s a huge bonus, but we would’ve done it either way (lol).’
While the band is no stranger of touring in Europe, two other places turned out to be quite the highlights.
‘I would say Japan stands out the most just because it was a dream for all of us to play out there. It was also the first place we decided to film these Soft Sounds sessions. It is such a magical and interesting place, and so far from any of the cultural norms or references we’re used to in the western world.
The other highlight would have to be the USA. We worked so hard to finally play out there and it really changed everything when we saw how many fans we actually have out there (and they go wild too!). We hear so many horror stories of European bands trying to tour in the US and coming back so defeated and bankrupt, so we’re very proud and grateful that we can tour out there without coming back completely broke or hating each other.’
The spots which were chosen are especially magical. From a rural farm in Otto, Texas; to the crystal blue waters of the Aegean Sea – from a nightly bridge in Tokyo, Japan; to the roofs over Brooklyn, New York. Delta Sleep covered some of the world’s beauty, somewhere between urban romantic and natural vibrance. About the drive behind those ideas, vocalist Devin had the following to say:
‘We initiated all of them, other than the session in Paris which was made by some local friends who reached out to us.
I (Devin) am a filmmaker by trade and so I tend to have lots of ideas for video content for the band. I always loved the vibe of the Take Away sessions by La Blogothèque, which was a huge inspiration for this. They were sometimes so rough and raw, but always very charming and beautiful. I wanted to expand on that idea and make something personal and intimate for Delta Sleep which captured the essence of some of the locations we were traveling to. So after the two first videos we did in Japan, we decided to start filming these little sessions all around the world and turn it into a series.’
Being no stranger to alternate versions of their songs, a good amount of creativity was put into the Soft Sounds renditions of their tunes. On several occasions, songwriter Devin showed that they can be equally impressive with just an acoustic guitar:
Those experiences probably helped the band approaching the project, which they confirmed:
‘Definitely a few of these songs started off as little acoustic bedroom demos. Although some songs were way more heavy practice room compositions. I think that is the challenge that we found exciting for Soft Sounds. To take a song and to re-invent it in a way that it can make sense played with a different expression or with different instrumentation. I think it really brings out the essence and versatility in a song – that even if a studio version can be really heavy or crazy technical – if the song can be stripped down to its bare essence, and still make sense and be enjoyable to listen to, that is a sign that your song is a true ‘song’. Does that even make sense? Haha.’
How to end such a journey? Looking in the future, dreaming, is definitely an appropriate idea. Other places for more Soft Sounds? Of course!
‘We really want to play in South America, especially in Brazil. We were scheduled to play a few shows out there around the time COVID-19 hit. So now we’re just waiting to see how that evolves. But we will make it out there for sure! Fingers crossed for 2021.’
Speaking of which, the current situation naturally had an impact on Delta Sleep as well:
‘This has been a strange and challenging time for everyone. We’ve had a lot of setbacks both personally and as a band. We had about 50 shows booked all around the world that are now in limbo. We managed to reschedule most of them, but have had to basically put 2020 on pause in terms of playing live. We hope that things become a bit clearer soon. Other than that we’ve just been trying to keep our heads up and get on with things. We’ve been writing loads of new material which is sounding great. As bad as this pandemic period is, it has been pretty good for us creatively. Silver linings I guess.‘
A good story should end with a positive note, right? Not necessarily, but this ones does. With no further ado (fairly, we had a lot of that), please enjoy the final video for Soft Sounds, featuring the brand new song “A Casa”.