n listening to THE FUNK, THE SOUL & THE HOLY GROOVE, the third album from the New Orleans-based band DELTAPHONIC, I would start off by stating that the third time's the charm but seeing as how the album is due to be released on April 10 when the coronavirus pandemic is set to get worse, one would think that the timing couldn't be worse. In an email interview with DELTAPHONIC's founder ANDREW T. WEEKES, the frontman acknowledges the hardship but has found support among the music community in New Orleans and their role as musicians in this crisis. "We're all working musicians so it’s difficult financially, but we have a strong community that supports us," said WEEKES. "We'll be alright thanks to them. Sometimes it's hard to feel good about promoting our own music when we’re constantly being reminded that a lot of people's lives are in crisis. Hopefully our music helps people get through these hard times."
Enough with the troubles of the world! The latest offering from DELTAPHONIC boasts a wide range of music that stirs up rock, blues, gospel and funk into a rather potent and spicy mixture and WEEKES - as a songwriter - has some stories to tell in this jumpin' collection of songs. The general public and fan have already had a taste of the goods with the release of the premiere of the stomping single LIARS and its music video. The following interview with ANDREW T. WEEKES of DELTAPHONICS was conducted by email.
Your album THE FUNK, THE SOUL & THE HOLY GROOVE will be seeing the light of day on April 10, 2020. Now that the release day is within reach who do you feel about the finished product that you are going to be releasing?
We’re really excited about it. We’ve made all our albums with a specific goal in mind. Our first record helped establish DELTAPHONIC as an original band on the New Orleans scene. Our second album captured the duo sound we were focused on at the time. We wanted THE FUNK, THE SOUL & THE HOLY GROOVE to be undeniable, something we could put on and enjoy decades from now. We made sure the performances, songwriting, and production were the best they could be. If something wasn’t good enough when we were recording, we did it again, or we did it differently until everybody was happy.
CHECK OUT THE MUSiC ViDEO FOR LiARS!!!
Congratulations on the video that you guys released for the song LIARS. Why was that song specifically earmarked as a single and who did you guys work with in putting the music video together?
Thanks! We wanted to highlight a different side of our sound. DELTAPHONIC draws on an eclectic variety of music, but we are a rock n’ roll band, and our shows are usually wild and loud and guitar heavy. Lately we’ve been gravitating towards more of a crossover sound that has a funk/r&b backbone with blues/rock n' roll frills kind of in the same vein as TAJ MAHAL's mix of smooth and raw on his early albums. LIARS epitomizes that. The lyrics are ridiculous, and it does a good job representing the band’s personality. We made the video with JEFF JANI, who plays drums with the band sometimes. We filmed it in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Tijuana, Mexico.
In listening to what I've heard it sounds like a lot of love and care went into the creation of this album. How long did you guys work on it and who helped you guys out behind the recording console.
We really gave it all we could. I wrote most of the songs between 2017 and 2019. I spent weeks on some of them tweaking little things. We started recording in late 2018 at ARTISOUND STUDIOS in New Orleans, and we finished in late spring 2019. I guess you could say I was the executive producer of the record. I had a vision for what each song should be, and I was there for every session. Our good friend JOE CEPONIS, who we worked with on all our previous albums, engineered and helped produce the sessions, particularly the vocals. PAUL PROVOSTY, the lead guitarist, mixed the album and brought it to the next level. DAN MILLICE mastered it in NYC. Mastering is such a wonderful touch when you’ve been working on mixes for a long time. It’s that little bit of magic that brings it to the next level. We actually sat on the first mix and master for six months and then decided to redo it. It was the right decision.
Bring me back to the beginning of DELTAPHONIC. How did the band get started?
We played a gig at THE SHED in Ocean Springs, Mississippi sometime in the spring of 2014 under a previous band name. CIARAN and his girlfriend drove separately so they could have a mini vacation. They left after the gig, and BEN (the original bassist) and I got torn up with these casino workers at this late night spot in Biloxi til way past dawn. Then we drove into the woods and passed out on private property in sleeping bags for a couple hours before we had to drive back to New Orleans for another gig. We were talking about band names in the car when DELTAPHONIC popped out. I knew it was the one.
What was your music experience before the formation of DELTAPHONIC?
I started playing guitar when I was twelve and started writing songs as soon as I could play chords. I’ve always been focussed on writing stuff. Nothing feels better than writing something that makes everyone feel something, especially fellow musicians and artists who understand what’s going on. I played lots of bar gigs with other people in my early twenties. I also had a brief period where I played with CHIEF SMILEY RICKS. These days DELTAPHONIC takes up most of my time. There's so much to do.
Talk about the other members of the band. Tell me who they are and what it is that you think each of them brings to the table that makes this thing work.
CIARAN BRENNAN, TRENTON O'NEAL, and PAUL PROVOSTY are the core members of the band besides myself. PAUL is a world class guitarist. He used to play with the jam/funk band EARPHUNK. They were getting some serious traction before it fell apart. He’s a lot more educated than I am, and brings interesting ideas to the table. I can bounce an idea off him, he’ll run with it, and we’ll instantly have improved whatever we’re working on. TRENTON also grew up in New Orleans. He came up playing drums in church, so there’s a lot of church in his intuition, but he can play anything. He has his own sound and his groove is beastly. CIARAN is the original drummer for DELTAPHONIC. He has an unparalleled, frenetic style that can give a song that would otherwise be very basic, a recognizable personality. The new album features five songs with both drummers. There are a lot of other musicians who perform with the band as well including LOGAN SELLERS, JOSH KAGLER, ANDRIU YANOVKSI, and ELMO PRICE to name a few.
Describe the songwriting process within this band. How do you guys go about it?
I write most of the songs. I think in the future we might start collaborating more, specifically on the music. I spend a lot of time writing alone. Sometimes a song comes like a lightning bolt of inspiration, but usually I take as much time as it takes to get it right. Could be a day, could be months. I just know when it's ready. Words are equally as important in DELTAPHONIC songs. I'm always trying to blend grooves with lyrical ideas that don’t make sense until they’re paired just right. We'll often do little adjustments to a song’s arrangement once it’s in the rotation. I like to revitalize songs periodically. That's what we did with See Red on this album, we slowed it down and made it groove harder.
What songs off of the album have you the most excited to get people to hear and why?
We're excited about all of them. GHOSTS and IF IT DON'T BLEED are two of the most interesting in my book. They have powerful, split personalities that somehow make sense. They both start on the chorus and take the listener on a journey with strange arrangements and breaks. That's DELTAPHONIC.
What is the big idea behind your new album. What do you want people to come away with after they hear it?
We want it to move people and make them feel good. We want people who didn't even know they enjoyed this kind of music or vibe to get intrigued and be taken somewhere that opens new doors. We also want this album to be our calling card as we ramp up what we’re doing. We’re just getting started.
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