Interview: Rick Boardman of Delphic at Roskilde Festival (Part 2)

By on Tuesday, 13th July 2010 at 12:00 pm

In the second half of my Roskilde interview on 2nd of July with Rick Boardman of Delphic, Rick tells me about the difficulty of making ‘Acolyte’ a reality and he divulges some info about highly anticipated Delphic album #2. We also talk about their triumphant turn at Glasto and how inspiring America is to them (a surprise to me), and the secret about an American tour he’s keeping is killing me.

You can read part 1 of the interview here. Many thanks again to Rick for his time and Faye and Martin for helping set this up.

Now as we talked before, ‘Acolyte’ was released in America this past Tuesday (29 June).

And you were just in my country playing a couple shows. So what was that like? What was the reception like over there? Unfortunately, none of the dates were close enough to me so I couldn’t go.
It looks like we’re going back there, but I can’t say too much, because I don’t think it’s been announced. But come October, we will be returning to America, in support of another band that will have heard of, but I’m not allowed to say who. Like a full tour of America, from east to west.

I have a feeling I know who it is. And I’m going to miss it. [frowns]
Who do you reckon you think it is?

Two Door Cinema Club.
No, it’s not Two Door Cinema Club. Although we have played with them before and we do like them.

Yeah, our editor at There Goes the Fear, Phil…
Oh yeah, I remember you guys!

Yeah, we’ve interviewed you guys over email before. Yeah, he saw you guys and Two Door at Southampton Joiners in October, and I guess you guys were on a Kitsune bill?
Yeah yeah.

And I was like nooooooo, I want to go to that! [Rick laughs]

I’ve seen Two Door Cinema Club twice now, supporting Phoenix in Washington DC, and then they didn’t come back for a headlining date so I went up to Philadelphia to see them.

Oh right. So we’re going to Philadelphia, I can tell you that. All I know is that Philadelphia is the first date. I can’t remember the others.

I hope you guys come to DC, because a lot of bands will choose between Philly and DC. But you said October…

Yeah, but they’re not all confirmed. But end of September through the end of October. Quite big for us. Six weeks.

Is it an English band?

Oh no! Then I might not like the headliner if they’re American…
It’s not an American band!

Oh…hmmm…that narrows it down somewhat.

They’re not French, are they? Since you’re with Kitsune?
Nope, not French. [laughs, then nibbles on sandwich] I’ll let you keep guessing.

I’ll have to give this more thought, because really…are they from Europe?
I’m not allowed to say it anyway, so even if you did say it, I couldn’t confirm. [laughs]

When do you think we’ll know?
Um, I think it’s going to be announced pretty soon, I think in the next couple of weeks, but I will get in trouble if I say anything. [laughs]

Ok, I’ll keep an eye on then. But you told me it isn’t Two Door Cinema Club.
No, it’s not Two Door Cinema Club.

Because they’re coming back to my town to play in my favourite venue the day I have to fly out to California for my day job.
Oh god. That’s awful. [frowns] But they’ll be back I’m sure.

[Note: it has now since been revealed that Delphic will be touring in North America this autumn as support for the Temper Trap. They’d never even crossed my mind!]

So is this (Roskilde Festival) the third Scandinavian festival you’ve played this week?
Yeah, we played Peace and Love in Sweden yesterday, and the day before…or was the day before that? Three days ago we were at Hove Festival in Norway. So yeah, the third one.

So how do those compare with the English festivals you’ve played at this year?
Well, if I’m being honest, we played Glastonbury I guess it was 1 week ago…

Which day did you play?
We played Friday and Saturday. Friday at the Dance Tent and Saturday in the John Peel Tent. And you know what? The dance tent was wicked, because we did a real ravey set for it and the vibe was amazing. But John Peel, it was close to 10,000 people. 8,000 to 9,000, big audience for us. It was brilliant. We’re not normally this kind of band, but after the dance tent, we all were like, ‘that was amazing!’ and we all went out and got pretty drunk that night and then immediately regretted it because it (the John Peel Tent) was probably our biggest show (ever). I was like warming up for 3 hours! But it was amazing. The crowd was unbelievable at Glastonbury, really, really good. I don’t really usually like touring that much but America was one of the only…I mean, festivals are quite good fun.

But I get bored very, very easily, so I want to be writing new stuff all the time. And we do it on the road, but I crave to be back in the studio. All the time, every day. It gets me down a bit. Yeah, it’s exciting to visit all these places but just like anything else, it becomes monotonous because it’s the same thing. It’s the same set, the same band, in a different country. Yeah, wow, I’m in Denmark, but this backstage area doesn’t look that different from where I was in Sweden or wherever, blah blah blah. What I really want to be doing is challenging myself with new songs every day, which I can’t always do. So that gets me down. But America…America was different, because of the huge heritage of bands it’s got, it’s just giving us this immense drive to go and do well over there. You know, to go and do something in America, and we’re desperate to go back there. It’s a really inspiring place, we were wandering around New York, like the Velvet Underground…

Where did you play in New York? Bowery Ballroom? Or Mercury Lounge?(two of the smaller but famous venues in New York City)
Oh god, I don’t remember the venue. You’ll have to check on the internet.

I’m thinking either Bowery Ballroom or Mercury Lounge. (Turns out they played Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn)Was it your own headlining gig?

Kind of like a record release party, even though the album came out 2 weeks later?
It was kinda…it wasn’t a record release party, but it was to coincide with the album being released. So it was New York, San Francisco – we did Popscene there, I can’t remember the venue but the night was Popscene…a really good one…

And then Los Angeles?
And then yeah, LA. Again, I can’t remember the name of the venue, I’m not very perceptive when it comes to things like this. The night was amazing. The reception was brilliant! LA was a bloody weird place. New York was really inspiring…

Every English band I’ve talked to has said the same thing about LA! California is like a separate country, because the vibe is completely different.
It’s very, very different. It’s a very fascinating place to visit. I couldn’t…I mean, I dunno, we didn’t see that much of it, you know, we were staying on the Sunset Strip. And we kind of wandered up into the Hills and stuff and we saw the more commercial side of LA, rather than the kind I dunno, it’s all about finding your little neighbourhoods, innit? And finding your little niches within that, and we didn’t find because we were tourists, you know. We didn’t see out maybe the side of LA that we would have liked but it’s not somewhere I’d want to live. But New York, everyone says this: you go to New York and everyone falls in love with it. I don’t think I’ve met anyone who’s been to New York and not fallen in love with it immediately. Just that everyone does. We did. We went there and listening to Talking Heads, Velvet Underground, wandering around, thinking, fucking hell, we need to move here, we need to write the second album out here! [laughs] Awesome, awesome place.

So yeah, is that in the game plan for the next 5, 10 years for Delphic, move out to New York?
Hope so. [nibbles on a sandwich] Manchester will always be our home. But we get bored dead easily. We like the idea of just moving around, getting inspired by different things. We’ve made a lot of headway with the second album…we’ve written a lot of stuff.

Oh yeah?
Yeah, it’s very embryonic, we’re trying to take a different approach. For the first record, we wrote ten songs, we knew we wanted a ten-track album. We wrote ten songs. We wrote songs to be a particular order. We wrote ‘Clarion Call’ to be number one (the first track), there was no way there was going to be another number one. That was number one. This one, to mix things up, when we were writing the first album, we said when we write the second album, we pretty much have to break up the band, forget how to write songs and build it up and start from scratch again. So we have a completely different approach. And to be honest, we’ve been through so much emotionally on this record between the three of us, all this moving out and falling out and everything that we have pretty much mentally broken up the band and completely reassessed the way we write songs, which is a good thing because it means we’ll approach it in a different way.

And for this one, we’ve got a name for it, but we can’t say that yet…we’ve got like…it’s a lot more songs. Instead of writing 10 songs for 10 songs, we want to write 50 songs and narrow it down, we’re taking a different approach, and we want to be a lot more experimental in the studio. And we want to leave…I dunno, I’ve been reading a lot about Bowie’s Berlin (album trilogy – ‘Low’, ‘Heroes’, and ‘Lodger’) era, and how a lot of the (Brian) Eno stuff was left up to chance. A lot of that kind of stuff I think…not all as much as that, as Eno provided lyrics and melodies on the spot on something that might end up being an instrumental 5 minutes before the vocals are recorded, not to quite that extent. But in a way we want to leave things up to chance in the studio and stuff. And we’re writing a lot of songs, so we don’t quite how things will turn out, but it’s very liberating and exciting.

How long did it take from the beginning of thinking about and writing the songs for ‘Acolyte’ to when it was released?
Well, I don’t know really…18 months maybe? Quite a long time. I think we pretty much wrote the album in about 8 months to a year. The first 3 months we were just talking about things and writing but not getting anywhere. And then we hit like a peak of writing and all the stuff we’d done in this cottage, we want back to it, and we were just in the zone. I think we’d just discovered Orbital or something, I dunno. And we this absolute creative peak where we got loads of stuff done. And then we got a bit confused and went off on a tangent and started writing loads of shit stuff, and got confused on what we wanted to be again, and wasted a couple months. And then came back, wrote ‘Counterpoint’, finished a lot of stuff, and then that was done.

And then we spent about 6 months, almost a year trying to record it, and that was really difficult. That was what nearly broke up our band, you know. We had such a set idea – this is why we don’t want to do this – a set idea of how we wanted the songs to sound, and we didn’t like the idea of letting anyone else outside the group in terms of producing, because we’re such control freaks. We knew how we wanted it to sound, and we kept experimenting with people, and trying to do it ourselves, and we couldn’t quite get it done. Then we went through these different producers – Tom Rowlands (Chemical Brothers), the Orbital guys helped out, Steve Dub who does the Chemical Brothers, and finally Ewan Pearson got it. But yeah, it was a really difficult process, because we had such a set idea and we couldn’t get it out. It was really touch and go on whether we were going to finish it at all, and luckily we did, and we’re very happy with it.

So when do you think we can get album #2?
Depends, because we’re leaving some of it up to chance. There’s a chance it might be done next year, there’s a chance it will be finished the year after. I mean, we’re making…what’s in our heads is unbelievably exciting. Like I can’t tell you how much. It just shits all over the first record. Yeah, it’s so exciting for us, like really exciting. It’s a different direction slightly. It will still sound like Delphic I think, but I think it’ll shock some people. A lot of people really. There’s a lot more focus on the songs themselves. Slightly more minimal, but in a much more epic way. I dunno, it’s hard to describe, but yeah, we’re really, really excited about it, we just want to get stuck into it, you know. Yeah, but I wouldn’t like to say when it’s done, we’d love to get it out next year, but it depends…
Yeah, that requires you to be in one place, without having to tour…so are you booked through September for festivals? You don’t have a UK tour this summer, do you?
No no, festivals end for us in August. September we’ve got off, October it looks like we’ll be in America. November and December we’ve got off but we’ll probably fit in a UK, you know, victory lap tour so to speak. We’ve done such good work in the UK, we’d kind of like round it off with some kind of shows at the end of the year, so we’ll probably do that. [turns slightly] Oh, there’s James there (coming off the bus). [nibbles more of his sandwich] Yeah, but we’ve got some time, and next year we’re going to try not to book any gigs because we want to be in the studio. We want to be in the studio by January.

For the rest of this year, besides getting in there and getting stuff written and recording, what is the one thing you really want to do?
One thing I want to do this year?

Beyond the recording stuff.
To be honest, we’ve been so lucky, we’ve been everywhere. In the past year, I’ve seen places I’ve never even dreamt of…we’re going to Hong Kong with Two Door Cinema Club (in August) actually. One of the places I really want to go actually, there were some gigs penciled in but they were cancelled and now there’s talk of setting up again, Russia. Which I think would be this unbelievably inspiring place. Such a vast, vast country. And yeah, we’d love to go there.

That’s totally doable, lots of bands go there.
We were putting these gigs together, and I was really worried we would end up doing some party at Putin’s house or something, or someone’s mansion and end up playing there. But yeah, no. I would really, really love to see Russia.

Okay, so I think that’s all the questions I have. Thank you so much Rick.
Thank you very much.

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3 Responses

[…] been transcribed as a two-part interview that you can read on TGTF; part 1 is here, and part 2 is here.)At Roskilde 2010, there were 5 main stages, and oddly (in my mind) Delphic was scheduled to play […]

[…] Rick Boardman (pictured in the header pic), which goes very well (read part 1 and part 2 of the interview posted last week). So well that Rick and lead singer / bassist and birthday boy […]

[…] in Denmark 2 years ago that this version of Delphic would be short-lived and of their new material, “it’ll shock some people”. Upon hearing ‘Good Life’, I couldn’t make out all the lyrics, but no matter. It […]

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