Monday, February 1, 2010

Gazing into The Delta Mirror

(Photo by Katy Pritchet)

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the frontman from an up and coming band residing right here in Los Angeles, The Delta Mirror. Craig Gordon, David Bolt, and Karrie K., known as The Delta Mirror, will be playing at The Echo later this month, on February 24th, along with Jesus Makes The Shotgun Sound, Oliver Future, and Queen Kwong. More information about their show can be found at The Echo website. Their album, "Machines That Listen", will be released on March 19th, via Lefse Records.

EENC Blog: Following new bands progress and rise, has always been one of my favorite things about music. Knowing you guys toured rigorously, and seeing the process your record went through, of how you initially self-released “Machines That Listen”, and now have a label to put it out, plus word of an impending tour this year, can you talk about how the Lefse signing came about?

CG: Well I wouldn't say that we really self released anything. We printed some unmastered copies so we could eat on the road, but the difference between that and what goes into actually releasing a record is huge. So if you're thinking about downloading our record illegally just know that it's a bunch of unmastered mp3's that someone uploaded. Lefse has been amazing. Ryan Kofman manages a great band called voicesvoices and apparently he hipped Matt Halverson to us. It was really casual. We talked on the phone a lot about music, had a few beers together and that was that.

EENC: Listening to the record, I picture the musical components as a metaphor to someone standing in Tokyo or Times Square, with the bustle of life moving around them chaotically (which represents the music and instrumentation), while the storyteller, or vocalist is subdued and calm throughout this chaos. Much like old 4AD Records stuff such as This Mortal Coil, or even how M83 produces such an ethereal sound amidst such a layered atmosphere. Can you talk about your influences as an artist, and the creation of “Machines That Listen”?

CG: A lot of Sigur Ros and Radiohead. I think our inspirations fight each other sometimes. Dave and I both grew up listening to mostly hip hop. We still do, but one of the things we never strayed from was Anticon Records. We have a lot of respect for those guys. Another big inspiration comes from our summer jobs actually. We both teach at The Collective Sound music camp. The staff there is made up of the some of the best bands I've ever seen. I think Dave would agree that if it weren't for that camp and a band that works there called The Shimmies we would be at some bar talking about how we used to rap and DJ. I really like this record, but I feel like we were still figuring out what we sound like. We're half done with the next one and I think we figured it out.

Knowing you for a few years now, you’re one of the few people that really appreciated and has a love for independent and underground hip hop, can you elaborate on how and if these styles and attitudes have in a round about way, affected your outlook and approach to The Delta Mirror?

CG: I think the biggest leg up that world has given us is the freedom from a traditional band format. We were always just making music in our living room. Eventually it progressed to a place where we wanted to play it live, but we were able to skip the "lets start a band" part. We had been a band for years, we just didn't know it until...well until we did.

EENC: In joining Lefse, you are now labelmates with Tape Deck Mountain and Neon Indian. It seems Lefse is pretty street smart with their roster and signings…with street smart in mind, who would win in a Puerto Rican style knife fight, with items made and constructed from everyday objects found in an alleyway? The Delta Mirror or Tape Deck Mountain?

CG: A Grave with No Name would come and shank us all. They're British. It would be like a Guy Ritchie film.

EENC: You guys recently garnered an “8” score from the notoriously tough Pitchfork for your track “He Was Worse Than The Needle He Gave You”, and you’ve also been featured in such great music blogs that have been around for a while now, like My Old Kentucky Blog. A few of the bios you have out there, outdated as they may be, state you as a two piece. Just for clarification, you guys are in fact a band of three, featuring my old roommate Karrie K., on bass. Can you talk about what she adds to the band? Other than Scottish genetic craziness, and someone who finishes all of your food and alcoholic drinks when you’re not looking, much like a boxcar hobo?

CG: Ask anyone who saw us when we were a two piece and they'll tell you we needed Karrie. I had written some bass parts and was switching between guitar and bass on stage. After our first practice with her we felt like a better band. She's way into 60's psych stuff which I think lends itself to our sound nicely. If you ever find yourself grooving at one of our shows it's because of her.

EENC: The Delta Mirror is slated to go back on the road again this year. Is there an official date and who will be joining you?

CG: We'll be hitting the Neon Reverb Festival on March 13th and then touring our way to SXSW and back. Hopefully The Shimmies will be coming with us. Then this summer we'll be doing a full US tour and there's been some talk about Europe.

EENC: You guys are also touring the old DIY way, which reminds me of the era of the late 90’s, when bands I idolized and admired would actually sleep on your living room floor, and drink all your beer in the middle of the night, given the chance. Describe the perfect truck stop/convenience store combo meal is, for the Delta Mirror on the road? One ‘entrĂ©e’, one ‘side’, and beverage of choice.

CG: Dave would get Nachos, Mambas and a Vitamin water. Karrie would get trail mix and one of those pickles in a bag. She wouldn't need a drink because she would just drink the pickle juice. I wouldn't get anything because I gambled all my money away in Vegas the night before.

EENC: Let’s talk remixes. Artists like Four Tet and Boom Bip have added an additional dimension to such great music out there, with a simple remix. It’s rumored that a remixed edition of “Machines Will Listen” will be released later this year. Can you divulge any of the talent involved in putting their spin on The Delta Mirror?

CG: The Alias remix is up on Stereogum already and it's got some of the most impressive drums I've ever heard. It's funny that you should mention Boom Bip because he's on the list along with Bomarr Monk, Odd Nosdam, Phaseone, City Light, Thriftcar, and Healamonster & Tarsier. We're talking with some others that I can't name yet, but we're really excited about it. We're also going to offer a collection of covers we've done as free downloads. I believe the first one to go up will be Blind by TV on the Radio.

EENC: I just want to say that I can’t think of a more deserving group of kids to receive as much praise and attention as you guys, and I really look forward to what 2010 has in store for The Delta Mirror. Any parting words or thoughts for your new, growing audience?

CG: See you around the galaxy...

Check out the masterful and majestic "A Song About The End" below. Big thanks to Craig and The Delta Mirror for the chance to grab him for an interview.

"A Song About The End" by The Delta Mirror

Download via YSI or zShare

You may also read more praise The Delta Mirror is receiving at the links below.
Delta Mirror receives an '8' rating at Pitchfork!
Delta Mirror featured on My Old Kentucky Blog!
Delta Mirror featured as 'A Band To Watch' on Stereogum
The Delta Mirror page at Lefse Records

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