Modern Rock With a Message (CDNow.com)
Last modified: 01 Jun 1999
Author: J. Warner Soditus
Date: Jun 1999
The British quintet Delirious? formed in 1993 (then under the name Cutting Edge One), performing at monthly youth rallies in Littlehampton on the southern coast of England. In fact, the late-1997 release, Cutting Edge, was comprised of songs that were recorded at these events. 1998 saw U.S. distribution of King of Fools, which was already a year old in England and contained the BBC radio chart-topper "Deeper."
Since its latest effort was recorded about two years after King of Fools, you might expect some growth and change. The title, Mezzamorphis, indicates there is a bit of a leap -- the band now sports a distinct modern-rock element with lyrics that are less directly worship-oriented.
Guitarist Stuart Garrard called from the band's tour bus in England while it was en route to a performance.
CDNOW: Can you explain the meaning behind the title of the album?
Stuart Garrard: The title of the album, Mezzamorphis, is a mixture of words. It's from two cuts on the album. "Metamorphis," which is a play on the word metamorphosis, reflects the theme of the album: change. "The Mezzanine Floor" is about being between floors. It's not the first floor or the ground floor, but it's somewhere in between. In the band, we feel like we're changing all the time, and we're embracing that change. We're not where we're going to end up, but we're further on than where we were last year.
The album seems to show some of that change. It's less of a worship album than the others, but it's worship-influenced. Do you have any concerns about losing part of your audience because of that?
We definitely don't want to lose any of the fans, but as a band we can't stand still. We're the kind of writers where we can't sit down and write toward someone specific. We have to do what's coming out of us. For us, the whole lyrical side hasn't changed that much, although the format is not conducive to congregational singing. They are still songs from the heart. They're very vertical, we're singing to God a lot of the time. Also, we're telling a few more stories now.
Looking at it lyrically, it seemed like a few songs, maybe "I Will Follow" and "Jesus' Blood," are very overt, whereas "Blindfold" and "See the Star" were a little less direct and more metaphorical. Does that come from different people's writing?
I guess it comes from the fact that [singer] Martin [Smith] and I are co-writing now. You've got a couple personalities and different experiences there that join it together.
It's interesting that you point out "Blindfold," because at the end of it, there's that "Glory in the highest" section. We think of that as an overt song. "See the Star" is one that doesn't mention Jesus, but it is obviously about Jesus. The whole thing about "So we run/ Never stop/ Keep my feet on the road" is a call for everyone. I would think that songs like "It's OK" and "Metamorphis" would be ones that the Christian audience might not get straightaway. But when they delve inside, I think they'll see what we're getting at.
With all your work, people have pointed out a noticeable U2 influence. But on this album there is a noticeable club influence, with heavy bass and very complex sounds. Would you agree with that? What other influences do you think make this album different?
When people point out the U2 influence, it is flattering for us. We really like U2, but, like you say, there's a lot of other influences. As individuals, we listen to an awful lot of different stuff. We wanted to technically push it on this album. We got guys like Tedd T. involved who helped to bring a lot of the technology. We also got into the computers ourselves and made up loops and stuff like that.
A lot of it came out in the mixing of the project, when we mixed it with Jack Joseph Puig in Los Angeles. He had a lot of input into making it, like you said, with the bass sounds -- making it nice and deep -- and getting in those clubby sounds.
Have you noticed any major differences between the audiences in the U.S. and those in England?
I think, at first, it was simply the fact that the people in the UK simply knew our songs more. We've actually found it quite similar. Once they get a hold of the songs, the people are really going for it. Our live events are kind of an "all in it together" experience. It's not just a passive audience. We've been really amazed that as people are getting to know the stuff. Everyone's been getting into it and becoming part of the show. In the U.K., the fans feel like they're a part of this journey with us. That's what we want to try to carry on in the States as well.
Several other British bands have commented on how hard it is to get used to some of the U.S. Christian idiosyncrasies and taboos. When you're writing, do you have to consciously think about the American audience as well so that you don't offend them? Or do you still just think about your culture there, and hope it doesn't cause a problem here?
We were only aware of the difference in cultures when we submitted the lyrics to Sparrow. Some people there were worried about a few of the lyrics. We didn't consciously write to offend or not to offend. Whether that will make a difference next time, we'll have to wait and see. We just write lyrics that satisfy our explanation of a situation. So, the answer to your question is no. We didn't write for a certain culture or market. We just wrote what we felt.