Blurring the lines (Christian Herald)
Last modified: 23 Aug 2001
Source: Christian Herald
Author: Peter Dilley
Date: 23 Aug 2001
If you can't beat the system, find the best way of working around it - that's been the Delirious? approach since the days when they were selling budget-priced cassettes as the Cutting Edge Band.
As they've grown in popularity, their frequent frustration at the lack of mainstream media coverage has been widely reported, but bassist Jon Thatcher explains how recently they've been finding new ways of getting their music out to fans:
"We've got the new album coming out, and released two singles from that - Waiting For The Summer went to number 26, we had a lot of great TV play, but radio didn't pick up on it. Radio coverage is an integral part in the life of a single - if they jump onto it, everyone's singing it and it gets to a much wider audience. If they don't pick it up, then our dedicated fans go and buy it, put it in the charts, and the next week it drops out.
"When it came to Take Me Away we plugged it in the normal places, but TV didn't pick up on it because they wanted more radio play, and radio weren't picking up on it either. We knew what would happen - we'd release it, our fans would buy it, it would go into the Top 30 and fall out again. We thought 'That's great, but what's that saying? All we're doing is taking money out of our fans' pockets'. So how could we be creative about still impacting culture, getting the product to people that want it?
"The MP3 route (free downloads from the Internet) was an unknown, we didn't know what response we'd get, but the more we investigated it the more credible it seemed. With 12,000 downloads we reached number 3 in the MP3 rock charts, 7 in the MP3 rock/pop charts, 14 overall. In those charts are Madonna, Puff Daddy, Jennifer Lopez, but it's still quite underground. It's what we've always wanted to do though - go against the grain, give the singles away."
New challenges of a different kind had come as they recorded Audio Lessonover:
"We were working with Charles Zwicky, who's produced stuff for Madonna and Prince, and he pushed us and pulled us. To be honest, it was quite a hard session in the studio, he wasn't too kind with us in some areas, quite ruthless, but you'll hear good results from that.
"Part of the retro sound is the keyboards - we walked into the studio and Tim (Jupp) started to set up, and Charles said (rather less politely) 'Put them away, I'm not having that rubbish in my studio.' Instead, he got Tim to play analogue synths and Fender Rhodes through guitar pedals, and rather than relying on MIDI to do everything Tim was twisting knobs and creating audio canvasses that were absolutely incredible.
"Another way he pushed us was recording most things 'live' in the studio, so it's got that rawness - definitely a texture we liked. Looking back, Mezzamorphis might have been overproduced, a little bit self-indulgent, so we were trying to swing the balance back the other way."
Glo (their last album) seemed to mark Delirious?' return to the worship domain, but like Mezzamorphis, Audio Lessonover is pitched at the mainstream market:
"We're trying to confuse as many people as possible, " Jon jokes. "It's a tension that we feel as much as anyone else. There are definitely two sides to Delirious?, which we try to blur as much as possible. We write songs that people all around the world are singing in churches, and that's absolutely blown us away, but the other side is that we're trying to break down the walls around the Church - 'Open up the doors and let the music play' (Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble?). People aren't coming to church, so we're coming to them, speaking in a less religious language within a shell of music.
"We take what we do very seriously, but try not to take ourselves too seriously. We're just trying to do the best we can with what we've got, to represent God and Jesus in a way that we'll be proud of when we stand before him."