Friday, May 11, 2012

Bonus Q&A with Delta Spirit

Here is more from my interview with bassist Jonathan Jameson of Delta Spirit... 

Q: The band did a short tour with My Morning Jacket in 2011. How did that go?
Great. Some of them have been friends of ours for a long time. They’re the nicest people in the world and such a good rock band that really knows how to capture an audience. That’s something we aspire to do. It’s really cool to play with and hang out with a band you really respect.  

Q: Matt has said your fans tend to listen to the albums all the way through instead of cherry picking individual tracks. Do you think they’re a more devoted lot than bands?
It’s different. The way a band builds their audience has a lot to do with it. Not that there’s one right or wrong way. We’ve never been opposed to radio play or anything like that or trying to do things in a subversive, indier-than-thou way. Just the way it ended up working out for us is that in the early days we just toured like crazy. We got on awesome tours like Cold War Kids, The Shins and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. We made fans that way. They started coming to our shows and buying the albums straight from us. When you don’t have the instant radio success, it’s a bummer because it takes longer to build things. At the same time, the fan base we’ve built has been really dedicated. People come back for their eighth time and bring groups of friends. You can’t really ask for more than that.

Q: Did you use all modern technology this time?
On the first album, we did it ourselves and brought a ProTools rig up to a cabin. We’ve never been super old school about anything. At the same time, we’re very serious about how we come off as a live band and are always trying to figure out how to capture that energy. I think that’s one thing people have always been wishing they got from the first two albums. I feel like we did something different on this album...I feel like chasing a live sounding record never comes across to the fans as what it is actually sounds like to see us live. This time around, we were of the perspective of ‘let’s make something that represents the song the way we want it to come across.’ Hopefully, that’s something people can connect to. Not that it’s something completely different live, but we looked at it as a studio album where we loved all these songs. There were songs we put together in a real live setting because we knew they would come across live. I’m sure next time we’ll do it different. It’s a process we’re still figuring out.

Q: Were any songs more difficult to record than others?
We spent a lot of time on drums, [especially] the ones where Kelly and Brandon played together. Kelly is the multi-instrumentalist of the band. Brandon is very straightforward. He’s like a metronome and is an amazing rock drummer. Kelly is very poly-rhythmic and in the pocket and has a completely different perspective on drums which together comes out sounding really different. Sometimes they don’t always see eye to eye with how the drums work. Either “Time Bomb” or “Into the Darkness.” Getting two different drummers to be on the same page [takes awhile].

Q: Touching on a little history: which of you were born and raised in the San Diego area?
Will, Brandon and I were. Matt and Kelly are from Orange County. Matt and Brandon met in San Diego. I’m sure you know the story about them meeting downtown by the railroad tracks. I met Matt a different way. We were all in different bands. They all started falling apart. Brandon and I called Matt up.

Q: What places did you tend to see live music?
As a kid, I would go to the Che Café. It was one of the few all ages venues in San Diego that would have cool bands. Epicenter, Soma, The Scene. Once we started the band, we started playing places like Silverlake Lounge and Spaceland in LA. There are a lot of good venues in San Diego. When I was a kid, all the bands I wanted to see were at the Casbah. 

Q: This summer, the band plays Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and open for Dave Matthews Band. Which do you anticipate most?
We’ve only played Bonnaroo once before, so I’m really excited to go back. The last time, we got stuck in Dallas and missed our original set time. They got on a plane, except for me. Our manager said we were playing after the headliner. I had to scramble all over the airport to try and find a flight. Got into Knoxville, drove straight there. They loaded me into a van, took me up onstage, I used somebody else’s bass because our equipment was in Nashville. We played at midnight to a packed tent. That was an amazing experience. I’m ready to do it again with a little more preparation this time.

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