Delgados - Interview: spoke to Emma

26 September 2002

Delgados - Interview: spoke to Emma

Contact music spoke to Emma the lead vocalist & guitarist from The Delgados.

Are you having a good day?

Well this is my first interview for the day and I have basically just been traveling for about 5 hours, I almost missed my flight so I had to make a run for it!

How did the Delgados start?

Well it was around 1995, the other 3 guys in the band Stuart, Alun & Paul were all in another band and to cut a long story short they all got booted out and the were all retched so they decided to form another band together and they then asked me to join, Paul knew me from university and we were going out with one and other at that time. So we just got a band together, it started out as a very casual affair, you know 2 or 3 practices and then see what happens! I suppose we were really borne out of revenge but now I think they are pleased with the way things have gone, revenge can be the reason that you work that little bit harder. All's well that ends well!

Delgados @
Delgados @
Delgados @

For people who haven't heard of the Delgados how would you best describe the bands sound?

That is always a tricky question, I think essentially our music is based around good songs in the first place, we are kind of like I suppose a traditional band but augmented very much by additional instrumentation, String and keyboard, the whole orchestration of the songs that we have done recently shows a lot more emotion, the songs that we write are very much from a moving point of view, the whole point of them is that they should have some effect on you when you are listening to them, I don't think that they are ever plain and I don't think our stuff ever gets into one sounds and sticks to the sound, generally there is always a point of crescendo, a point where you get the idea there has been a build up. I find it very hard to describe I just know we are very melodic because of the way we write, we tend to write songs first and then all the instrumentation later rather than wanting to use certain instruments and then working out a song, it's always been based on the song first. so we still make a very melodic sound but we like to use a very expansive sound a lot of different textures we write very traditional. We are influenced by a lot of timeless music, I don't think we really adhere to any current style, I certainly think there is a certain naivety about it sometimes.

What is your favorite song on the album?

It's always hard trying to work out what is going to be a good single from an album, you have to try and look at what is popular at the moment and exactly what you are trying to achieve with the particular track. It isn't necessarily going to be your favorite track that turns out to be the best single, my favorite single is probably "the drowning years" or "fall from dreaming" because those two songs for me carry so much in each of them, there is a lot of movement a lot of dynamic and different types of arrangements which especially with "fall from dreaming" we had never really got involved with that type of thing before.

Why did you choose Coming out from the Cold as your first single?

Coming out from the cold was the most obvious choice for a single because it's a fairly straight forward pop song that we are all really proud of at the end of the day, it's a great song even though it is a pretty straight forward "pop" song it still has a melancholy edge to it and when you listen to it on the radio it's still sounds a lot more innocent in some respects than the stuff that surrounds it, a lot of contemporary music seems to have an awful amount of attitude about it which I don't believe we possess.

How do you go about your song writing process? Do you all get together?

Well no, to start with it is generally Alun, who is the other singer and guitarist, we write as individuals we don't tend to get together because that would just be terrible, we would end up in fights! Alun and I enjoy writing on our own because for me writing is something I can't really force it is a very personal thing. I feel you only come out with a good song if you have the ability to work through your own individual idea. I think all I can really say about it is I pick up a guitar and start messing about with chords and melodies and I won't necessarily come out with anything because it is easy enough to come out with a few chords and sing a melody beside it but it probably won't be any good. It's a much more difficult thing to come up with something that has a hook and it sounds memorable and you don't know why you like it but it does something to you. Its all to do with instinct & personal taste and they are the only things you can go by when writing a song. It always staggers me how you can usually tell a band or a song writer by an individual song and I don't just mean recognizing their voice I mean the music, the chords and rhythms they choose because I think every individual song writer does tend to go for the same kind of things in much of the same way as someone's taste, yeah their taste will change over their life by a certain extent but their taste will be their taste and their isn't an awful lot they can do to change that. All I think Alun and I do is come up with chord progressions and melodies that seem to have a hook about them; that make them worth while then we will take them into the studio and then the four of us get our hands on them all together, Stuart & Paul tend to have more of an arrangement idea and which types of instruments would sound good.

When people come to see you play live what can they expect?

In the same way that we did with our last album we are going to try and do our best to represent the album as well as we can, we will be bringing along some strings maybe a couple of keyboard players but really for us there is no point producing an album like "Hate" and not tying to get across the same kind of intensity in our performance, so I think people should expect a really memorable experience of every song and the emotions that are brought across in the songs. Live there always tends to be a lot more of a raw edge the guitars come through more and sound a little edgier with more aggression about it, things always tend to speed up when you play them live and it sounds like there is a new urgency about them. When bands go on tour with a new album and they play for the first few times they find that they would be in a better position recording it after some gigs because you find you are forced to really tighten up the way you play, and because of the audience you really want to get into the whole mood of the thing. Songs just tend to evolve more, no one goes out thinking they are gonna change the songs, but it just happens and turns out all for the better.

Contact music has an area dedicated to unsigned artists, what advice would you give them?

One of the most important things is to have an awful lot of dedication and conviction and self belief, almost arrogance is a good thing as well as to be honest, because you need to believe completely in what you are doing because when people come up with things that are original it's usually in the face of adversity and against a time of music when everyone else is doing something totally different but if you have that natural tendency towards what you really like keep on with it but if it happens to be different to everything else that is going it doesn't matter, you should just keep on doing the thing you believe in, that is the best thing to do style- wise do it with conviction! don't bend to anybodies recommendations of 'they are doing really well so go and do something similar' you will only be criticized for it and won't feel any self satisfaction. Keep doing what you belief in as long as you love it.

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