If there are two words in conjunction that should strike fear into our hearts it should be ‘indie’ and ‘dance’. Often suffixed with their dreaded friend ‘crossover’ the words are spoken by those all out of ideas for album number three or members of guitar bands who discovered pills and New Order and thinking they can do better. Invariably they can’t and even in 2010 more and more groups crop up trying to marry two utterly disparate worlds together. To the casual listener Manchester’s highly tipped trio Delphic could well fall directly into this ill fated category. Lead singer James Cook disagrees however and explains why Indie/Dance bands so often fall short, “I think that the reason bands who try to marry elements of guitar music and dance music together fail is that they don’t come from an electronic background. If you come from an indie side and just plonk a few beats or a synth into a song then you’re just going to be an indie band with that on top.”
Spending their youth listening to the likes of Orbital and The Chemical Brothers (Delphic refused to sign with any label that couldn’t get Tom Rowlands to work with them) gifted the band their dancefloor roots. Working with their musical hero didn’t quite work out though and their debut album ‘Acolyte’ is self produced by the band alongisde techno legend Ewan Pearson. Recorded between Manchester and Berlin Cook uses words such as “euphoric” and “soul” to describe the album as well as saying that there is a streak of “melancholy” running throughout the songs, particularly the lyrics, that juxtaposes the electronic rushes created by his bandmates. When speaking to Cook what is striking about him is the clear determination and ambition which Delphic posses. Before the band had even formed they packed themselves up and went to stay in the Lake District together in a cottage so rural “We were chopping our own wood for the log-fire”. In front of those freshly whittled flames however is where the embryonic stages of Delphic were formed. “We just sat down and talked about music and what we believe in. So we mapped out where we want to go musically, where we want to go lyrically and how we saw ourselves being displayed. We kind of just got into each others heads and what came out of those discussions was that we all wanted the same thing.”
Discussing everything from musical influences to artwork the three of them mapped a path for Delphic that has seen them already achieve much of what they set out to. Being one of the most highly tipped bands in the recent glut of polls and lists Cook is aware that both great success and the metaphorical cow pat of failure could await his band, “It’s terrifying to be honest. All we wanted to do when this started was write songs, at heart we are song writers but we’re an ambitious band. We know that to get where we want to be at the end of the day then we’re going to have to be on TV, play on huge stages and other generally scary things”. Cook agrees that releasing the album in the first few weeks of the year helps diffuse some of the hype surrounding the band. “We’re in a good position to not be writing the record now with all that is being written about us. I don’t want to mention any names but in the last couple of years there’s been a couple of artists who haven’t had an album written or recorded and the pressure from being hyped and the expectations of a great album have got to them. Where we’re lucky is that we finished the record in full last November so we knew from then that we could rest and not worry.”
The next step on from being a new band is to become established and recognisable, something which Delphic have clearly being pondering. “This is one of the scariest things about being in a new band. When does the initial interest dwindle?”. Showing flashes of the clinical but not cynical planning Cook reveals that he doesn’t want the band to rest and is already writing for “Either an EP later in the year or a stand alone single” stating that the most important thing to Delphic is “Remaining creatively active.”
Talk turns to what 2010 holds in store for Delphic and it’s the Summer months that are particularly exciting Cook. “I grew up going to Glastonbury and we didn’t get to play there last year so I really really want to play there this year.”. Aside from festivals, which Cook sees as key to “Establishing yourself as a band rather than just being talked up by the media” Delphic are also keen to embrace their love of dance music further by getting their album remixed by more of their heroes. “Paul Walters did a really minimal version of ‘Counterpoint’ for us and then Riton just did a great remix of ‘Doubt’ for us too.” Cook says he’d “Be lying” if he said he didn’t want a big name like Soulwax or Simian Mobile Disco to work on a Delphic track, “You know you’ve been embraced by the dance world when someone like that wants to work on your music.”
A band indebted to the past but with all eyes locked on the future Delphic are the first breakout stars of 2010. You’d be foolish to bet against them getting all of the acceptance they crave and much more.