In an email interview with lead-singer/bassist James Cook, Jessica Wu finds out why their new album took so long, and what local audiences can expect from Delphic's first Taiwan concert.
After the Acolyte tour it took a long time for you to release Collections. Was that due in part to a creative and energy burn-out? How will you avoid the same thing happening again?
We had a tough time at the start of writing Collections because we’d been touring Acolyte for the best part of three years and we found it really difficult to write new songs and achieve the goals we’d set ourselves. We’re making sure now that we never go for so long without writing new material and keeping our fingers crossed that that kind of writers block doesn’t hit us again!
Your latest album Collections is very different from Acolyte. Within the band, were you all onboard with the direction of this album, and how do you approach playing both old tracks and the new ones at gigs?
We are all incredibly proud of this album and have always been on board with the new direction. The album sounds as it does precisely because all of our individual influences are so diverse. We’ve always just wanted to push ourselves and push modern popular music to new places. It’s a fun challenge, and the same could be said for our live gigs. We’ve updated some of the old songs to fit in with the new ones, and equally we’ve written some different arrangements for the new songs to make them fit in to the set. We really enjoy the new set and hope you will too!
After the release of your first album Acolyte, you have often been compared to New Order. You're probably very sick of that, but I am still curious whether you were heavily influenced by the Manchester music scene. Do you have any favourite Manchester musician(s)?
We’ve never been particularly influenced by Manchester, even though we are big fans of many Manchester bands, particularly Take That and The Fall. We take our influences from such a wide palette that whilst we see Manchester as our physical home, our spiritual home is everywhere. Which is nice because it means we are always close to where our heart is.
When coming up with the album design concepts of both Acolyte and Collections, how much involvement did you guys have?
We’ve had a lot of input on both album designs, it’s something we think is really important. The artwork is an integral part of the album as it’s the visual representation of the music. With Collections, we knew we wanted a portrait of the 3 of us which had many different layers and elements making up the bigger picture, just like the music. We looked at a lot of different artists and when we found Vhils we knew we had the right guy. After that, it’s a case of directing the rest of the package to make sure it’s in keeping with the musical concepts present on the record.
An announcement on your blog noted that you'll perform a different form of your latest album Collections in its entirety at Manchester International Festival (MIF) in July. Will this performance be exclusive to MIF or will it be incorporated into future gigs? Can you reveal any further details?
We can’t reveal too much, other than to say it will be a one-off experience incorporating influences from around the world - the songs will never have sounded like this before and never will again.
You mentioned in an old interview that you guys like to dress smart, and on your latest album you’ve gone all out wearing very dashing suits.
We just wanted to step it up for this album. We’ve always liked dressing smart as it represents our philosophy for the band which is that it’s work and we take it seriously and professionally. But we like to have fun as well, which is why I’ve got a polka dot shirt. You’ve got to have a laugh with polka dots every now and then, haven’t you?
The upcoming Asia tour will be your second visit to the region. What lasting impressions do you have from last time? Which city impressed you the most on tour? Where had the craziest fans? What expectations do you have of Taipei?
We’ve had such great times in Asia that we really cannot wait to come back again. The people, the food, the shows were all amazing. We had a great time in Hong Kong - such a crazy city! Also we stayed at the most incredible hotel with a rooftop pool in Singapore, and we’ve had some great times and met some crazy cool fans in Japan, it all means a lot to us. We’re really looking forward to discovering Taipei next. We never go somewhere hoping it’ll be this or that as we find it’s better to keep an open mind, discover it when you’re there and just try to experience everything.
One of my favourite B-sides ever is your track Sanctuary, yet you rarely play it live. Is there any chance you’ll put it on your setlist again?
Well we’re glad you like! I’m not sure we’ll play it on this tour as we have so many new songs we want to show you, but you never know.
You were video blogging quite a lot during the Acolyte tour (personally my favourite is the short film shot in France.) Will you also be video blogging on this tour?
Yes I think we will. So if you see us with a video camera be sure to say hello and pull a funny face!
Delphic play on Monday April 22 at Legacy Taipei, Huashan 1914 Creative Park (華山1914), Center Five Hall (中五館), 1, Bade Rd, Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市八德路一段1號).