Live @ O2 Academy 2 Oxford
January 15, 2010
Questionnaire & Photography: Steve Bateman

“Delphic are one of 2010’s most promising acts and have managed to capture the electro-euphoria zeitgeist perfectly with Acolyte, without compromising their steadfast Manc bolshiness and integrity.” THE FLY

With early singles released through Belgium’s classic electronic label R&S and the French indie label Kitsuné, Delphic’s debut long player, Acolyte, finally hit stores on January 11 on their own Chimeric label through Polydor. Their press release states: “Produced with the Berlin-based techno émigré Ewan Pearson, the album was recorded mostly in Pearson’s Berlin studio, the city’s flourishing techno scene bleeding into the crisp grooves but never to the detriment of the band’s emotive songwriting.” Continuing: “Delphic consistently demonstrate that their ability to write massive songs is equal to their ability to build bangin’ beats. On stage, their glorious hard-wired gene pool of anthemic indie and stadium techno comes into its own, driving along like a perfectly pitched DJ set where other bands pause to sip their riders between songs, Delphic slip in hypnotic driving techno interludes that turn any gigs into a rave. Delphic’s combination of high art aspiration and party spirit is very Manchester, and Delphic are well marinated in the Factory city’s classic collision of ordinary bloke-ness with heightened ideals.”

Tiring of the music they were making in their previous bands, the Manc trio – Richard Boardman (multi-instrumentalist), Matthew Cocksedge (guitar) and James Cook (vocals / bass) – joined forces in 2008 with a simple motto: ‘The guitar is dead, long live the guitar’, as they wanted to “blur the boundaries between indie and electronics until preconceived notions of genre have lost all meaning.” Also eulogized as ‘The sound of the past, the present and the future’ + ‘Electronic music with soul’, the group told Clash: “We quickly moved into a flat together and set about getting to work. When we first started the band, we relocated to a little cottage in the Lake District with no TV or distractions, in order to write and conceptualise what would be our debut album. It was very much our aim to make an album as a whole rather than a collection of songs. We’d been to a few different producers, and to be honest, this time last year we were panicking. We’d written the bulk of the record and attempted to record it. We were confident about doing it ourselves and we tried to do it ourselves, but it didn’t quite work.”

Adding: “We tried to work with Tom Rowland from The Chemical Brothers, who is obviously one of our heroes. What he did was brilliant, but to be honest, it wasn’t right for us. The same with Paul Hartnoll from Orbital. Then we thought ‘Oh God, what will we do?’ We really struggled to finish it, until we were all arguing and almost ready to give up. Then someone from R&S got hold of the stems from one of our early demos and sent them to Ewan Pearson. Then we got this email with the mix attached and listened to it, then breathed a sigh of relief. Ewan had just got it, really understood what we were about. So we packed up and went to Berlin.” Having also appeared on ‘Later... with Jools Holland’ and been shortlisted as one of the 15 music acts for the BBC Sound Of 2010, some noteworthy reviews for Acolyte include music writer Lou Thomas’, who suggested that “it might just be the first great album of 2010.” While The Independent’s Simon Price sung the record’s praises by pronouncing: “It’s on kissing terms with magnificence.”

With regard to the group’s moniker, their friend and touring drummer, Dan Hadley, was the person who christened the trio Delphic, but has never revealed to any of them where the name actually comes from. With James addressing the album and song titles by declaring: “For Acolyte, we have our own meaning; we've adapted it in a way we want. Its meaning as a follower or believer is right, but not in the Christian sense of the word. We just love the sound of certain words, consonants, vowels etc.” And if you could live inside records, then Acolyte would surely be something that was shiny, spacious and salubrious. It’s also an LP which when twinned with Delphic’s arms aloft euphoric live shows, will give people like myself, who were never able to experience the Hacienda and ‘Madchester’ scene firsthand, the chance to feel what music fans must have been feeling during that seminal period. So let the good times roll!

Rapidly turning into an important part of Manchester’s ever-fertile musical community, I wrote to Delphic to see what all the fuss is about…

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

1.As a primarily electronic-based group, what draws you to this type of music and of all your songs to date, is there one that you could pinpoint as the prototype for Delphic’s sound?
“Acolyte, the title track of our album, is the prototype for Delphic's sound because of its blend of light and shade, electronic and organic. I think it's in-keeping with our love for contrast that draws us to electronic music – synthesisers, drum machines and samples can be so wildly different, that the possibilities are endless.”

2.Where does the impetus come from to blend dance, house, techno and trance music, with radio-friendly choruses, pop hooks and memorable melodies?
“We are songwriters and clubbers, the two just happened to find each other at a time in our lives when we were doing a lot of both.”

3.On a similar note, of all the beats, effects, loops, samples, textures etc. in your songs, which have been the most rewarding to create?

“We think the synth line at the end of Acolyte is rather special.”

4.As we’ve just reached the end of The ‘00s, who do you think have been some of the best artists and bands to emerge in the last 10 years + what would you pick as some of your albums and songs of the Decade?

Radiohead – Kid A
The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come For Free
Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak
Björk – Unison
Amy Winehouse – Love Is A Losing Game
OutKast – Hey Ya!
“All of the above – some who have emerged in the last 10 years, some who have been around a little longer – are people who we feel this Decade has belonged to.”

5.Last year, I watched the fascinating ‘South Bank Show’ on Elbow and wondered if there’s a group who you also think could ‘Do an Elbow’ – as in a band who have been going for a while, with a strong back catalogue and deserve to be huge?

“I suppose someone like Animal Collective deserve to be on the up and in people’s consciousness. They've got quite a challenging back catalogue that small niches will know about, but it's only on Merriweather Post Pavilion that they have really honed their very individual sound.”

6.With three members, you’ve joined the long lineage of rock ‘n’ roll trios – but who do you consider to be among some of the great three-piece groups of all-time?
“It’s difficult to answer this without going into the annals of cheesy rock music, but the musicianship of The Jimi Hendrix Experience and the song-craft / punk attitude of The Police, surely have nothing on the Jonas Brothers.”

7.Earlier this month, The Royal Mail launched a set of ten 1st class stamps that celebrate classic British album covers. But what are some of the iconic British album covers that you would have chosen?

“I’m really glad that Led Zeppelin IV and Power, Corruption & Lies are in there – two classic covers. But it’s also nice that Screamadelica has been recognised. Surely if we're talking iconic album covers though, a better choice would have been Low by Bowie. Some other albums we'd like to see in there, would be maybe The Stone Roses’ debut, Pulp’s Different Class and Leftfield’s Leftism.”

8.Do you hope that Delphic will be seen as a group with a rich musical / visual tapestry – and can you tell us more about the photographs taken for the sleeve of your debut album?

“In time, we'd love to achieve this kind of recognition. Live, we hope to be seen as an entire show rather than a band with lights – and on recording, we hope that people are as drawn to the artwork as we were. The main photograph for the album sleeve, involved trampolines, expensive suits, liquid within a liquid, an undoubtedly expensive computer program and a very clever Scandinavian duo. It was inspired by a beautiful, silhouetted picture of Björk that we have on our wall.”

9.Are lyrics important to you?
“Can a song really be a song without a lyric? Probably. But will that song then connect with people in the same way that a song with lyrics might? Probably not. Lyrics are more important to us every day, they can ask all of the questions and answer all of the answers.”

10.A lot of Delphic tracks have great intros, which really pull the listener in and also add to the overall atmosphere / sound of Acolyte. But from the music that you love, do you have any favourite song intros?
“One intro that really sticks with me, is the start of Fools Gold by The Stone Roses. Those metallic clangs are always a familiar signifier for the song that is to follow.”

11.As a group who allow your songs to be remixed, if you could handpick any artist or band to remix one of your tracks, who would it be and would you like to return the favour?

“The Chemical Brothers… and yes, we would like to return the favour.”

12.How is your current tour treating you and is there anything that you always carry with you on the road?
“I always carry a classical guitar and a laptop. However, green tea is soon to be added to that ‘must always carry’ list.”

13.What does it mean to you to play your songs live and as a dance-based band, of your favourite artists, if you had to pick the ultimate ‘Up For It’ song and the ultimate ‘Chill Out’ song, what would they be?
“Playing live is great because we mix our whole set together, which means we can cut out the nonsense chatter and banter. The ultimate ‘Up For It’ song would be Push Upstairs by Underworld, and the ultimate ‘Chill Out’ song will be Melt by Leftfield.”

14.What are your biggest hopes for Delphic long-term?

“To look back in 20 years time at a body of work which works as pieces of a collection – artistically and musically – rather than a disparate jumble of albums.”

15.Lastly, chips or cream buns?
Icing on the bun?
(if yes)
Cherry on the cream bun?
(if yes)
Glacé cherry?
(if yes)
Double cream?“If all the above are yes, we choose chips!”

A very special thanks to Delphic and to Jenn @ Chuff Media, for all of their time and help.

“Just tell me nothing’s wrong, nothing’s wrong
Nothing’s wrong today”

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?