By: Amy Aiello
With absolutely no service for nearly two hours, my interview with Deluka almost didn’t happen, thanks to the wonderfully inept technological capabilities of my cell phone carrier (which I will refrain from naming so as not to incur any sort of libelous claims). More than half an hour past our scheduled interview time, this unique, charming, humorous, gracious, and vivacious band kindly met with me.
To them, Lollapalooza “was an amazing sight! I was happy to see 500 people when we started, and then by the time we finished, we couldn’t see where the people stopped; it was like an infinity crowd.” They continued on to say that “it’s very helpful to play something like this. It takes you to a larger audience. We’re still fairly unknown in the US, so we know this is helping us.”
The members of Deluka “have to be quite self-sufficient. Ellie on the road will cut and style all of our hair. It’s so hard in a band to look unified… We’ve always had that philosophy if you want something done you’ve got to do it yourself.” They told me that before getting signed, they wrote and produced their music in Ellie’s bedroom, and did their own graphic design and promotion.
Touring has inspired them to create new music along the way. “We were inspired by the massive landscapes, and we sort of felt like we need to make epic sound scapes. The new album is going to be bigger and bolder and more epic. We’re on a 9-week tour, and we’ve been really itching to get back into the studio to get some new songs out. We’ve already put some of the new songs into the set… we like to air them live to help them develop”
Aside from being inspired from their tour-induced traveling, the band has an affinity for dance and indie music, and have created their unique sound by combining the two.
Hailing from the UK, the band now resides in Brooklyn, NY. Some creature comforts they miss from back home? “Chocolate. Cadbury’s chocolate. Bacon. You guys have more streaky bacon and it’s been cooked to hell. Besides the bacon, we’re quite happy here. Toothpaste; Particular brands that you can’t get here. [Ellie’s] quite picky with [her] teeth. But these are small sacrifices for a bigger picture, which we’re quite happy to do.”
If you missed Deluka at Lollapalooza, have no fear! They loved Chicago, spoke of how nicely they were treated, and said they’ll definitely be back. For any of you who may be out on the West coast this weekend, the band will be playing the Sunset Strip Music Festival in LA.
From Birmingham to Brooklyn
Deluka are an English electronic, indie band, whose sound has been likened to nearly every genre from Punk to Disco, Electro to indie and New Wave to No Wave. Deluka’s fresh new sound is the eclectic evolution of Birmingham’s storied pedigree, a perfect storm of fluid electronic beats and hailing rock riffs, pulsating bass and breathtaking vocals.
Following early praise from UK indie music bible the NME and trendsetting culture mag Dazed and Confused, Deluka inked a deal with Brooklyn indie label VEL Records releasing a 5 song EP in the summer of 2009. Since then “Sleep is Impossible” was tapped for Rockstar Games wildly popular Grand Theft Auto IV, AOL Spinner has launched an exclusive of The Rapture’s Remix of “Cascade”, and 3 songs have landed MTV placements (the hit show The City, and the VMA’s). That along with Clearchannel NEW! feature and 120 stations adding the record at college, has gotten Deluka a quick start to the US market.
For some artists, successes are delivered by silver spoons, but Deluka’s story is one of modest pride and hard determination amidst a melting pot of diversity. It began when Ellie Innocenti, a vocalist and songwriter whose regular performances at Birmingham’s Jug of Ale caught the eye of the electronics expert and producer Kris Kovacs. Together they forged a creative alliance that landed them in Innocenti’s bedroom studio. “It all happened organically, really” explains Innocenti. While testing different mixtures of electronic sounds and percussive lyrics, they created their own unique brand of danceable rock songs. The duo combined forces with musicians Robbie G. (bass) and Stevie Palmer (drums) under the name Deluka, coined after a dysfunctional character from the motion picture Pretty Woman.
Experimentation and practical necessity guided Deluka’s early days. On a tight budget, the group often explored the Midland countryside looking for cheap deals on rather unconventional instruments. “We would troll car boot sales looking for children’s toy keyboards,” says Kovacs, “and we had a very strong set of rules. The keyboard couldn’t be too modern and it couldn’t cost more than four pounds.” From these small gems the group drew their inspiration and tirelessly experimented. Choosing to sample and sequence the instruments they found, to create the backbone of their songs, fleshing out the rest with ‘cheese-wire’ slap backed guitars, driving bass and disco hi-hats. Creating a sound that is retro in its origin, yet forward thinking in its execution. Kovacs would arrange electronic beeps and programmed drums while Innocenti gave the songs melody and structure pulling lyrics taken from thoughts and emotions that she would ‘collect’ in her notebook. . The outcome is buoyant, edgy songs outfitted with memory branding melodies. As Kovacs maintains, “We’re always keeping a pop sensibility about things.”
Once Deluka brought their studio songs to audiences across the Midlands, the live results were striking. Their impeccably produced electronic tracks ignited crowds. Innocenti describes the transition of their music from studio to live performance as a series of contradictions. “We write songs that are constructed in a studio, but then we take it out live and its raw and energetic (it’s kind of punk).”
Deluka released an EP in the summer on 2009 on Brooklyn Indie Label VEL Records, and their first full length studio record is slated for release in early 2010. From studio to the stage – from Birmingham to Brooklyn, 2010 is the year Deluka just may well become your favorite band.