Del Bel: The Wavelength Interview

Purveyors of: A cozy feeling on a cold afternoon. Warm and ghostly tunes with bluesy tones.
File Next to: Land of Talk, Eliza Rickman.
Playing next: WL620 @ Polish Combatants’ Hall with Bruce Peninsula and Delta Will.

Good things are always worth waiting for. It’s been a while, but Del Bel is taking their cinematically inspired sounds to the Wavelength stage once again this Friday. This sprawling ensemble is one of our Artist Incubator bands, made up of familiar faces from Born Ruffians, Legato Vipers, L Con and many others. There’s a well-balanced, rich moodiness to Del Bel; eerie and a little dark in a way that cradles you through the afternoon with just the right balance of energy. With their new album set to be released early 2015, Raina Hersh spoke with drummer Adam Hindle to find out what the band’s been up to.

The last time we caught up with you guys was over a year ago. How’s 2014 been for Del Bel, what have you been

Not too much. The band played a Wavelength show in January (I was out of the country), and Lisa has been living in Belfast, Northern Ireland, doing a music program at a university there, so there really hasn’t been much opportunity for us to play together. This is really the first time I’ve played with them since last June when we did the Wavelength tour.

So, this show is a bit of a reunion for you then.

Yeah! It’s gonna be cool. We had a rehearsal a couple nights ago and it was great to see everyone. It didn’t take long to fall back into old habits and the songs came together again really quickly. We’re doing a bunch from the new record that will be coming out early next year. I’m looking forward to it

And you guys recorded some music videos too, right?

Yeah, there are two that are done. The first one, I think, should be premiering in the next few days or so! [He’s right!]

It’s a really cool video. It’s stop motion, sort of looks like the Terry Gillian animations that he used to do for Monty Python’s TV show — cut-outs of old pictures rearranged in different ways. And then the second one is sourced footage from a
bunch of weird and obscure old movies. I’m not sure when it’s coming out, but it’s pretty cool too.

That second one sounds like it reflects your style pretty well! The last time we caught up with you guys you were playing a score for the “Scoring CineCycle” show at the Images Festival.

Well, the band got its start when Tyler Belluz (bassist/composer) got asked to provide a soundtrack for a short film and all the songs on the first Del Bel record started out as just background music for that. Then Lisa was brought in and vocals were added and it became a band. So doing live scores like that is something that fits this band really well.

How do you come at the percussion when playing with Del Bel? It’s a lot more atmospheric compared to some of the
other bands you’ve played with. Do you think your role changes at all?

Oh, definitely. It’s an interesting experience recording with this band, because I came in so early in the process that the only reference I had was single-note guitar tracks that Tyler had recorded as demos. I had carte blanche to just shape what the songs would end up being like; at the same time, because you don’t know what everyone else is going to do, you don’t want to overplay, so it’s an interesting balancing act between wanting to do something that’s cool and interesting and not overplaying. I tend to favour simplicity over fancy drum licks.

How complete are the songs when they’re given to Lisa? Do you collaborate and modify some more after she’s added her lyrics?

Well, Tyler sends her the same demos that he sends us and it’s really more of a mood thing that she goes on and then she writes lyrics. The way this new record was recorded, was: He and I and Mike Brooks, the guitarist, went to a recording studio in Welland, and I just knocked out the drums for all the tracks with the one reference pass [he gave us]. Gradually, more people added their stuff on top and then Lisa came in and finished it off with vocals. It was really interesting because I had so little reference a couple of times that what I did didn’t fit the melody that she had been thinking about, so a couple of the songs’ drum tracks had to be redone. It’s the most collaborative band I’ve worked with just because everybody gets in on the ground floor and is involved in the construction of the songs, rather than someone just bringing in a finished song and telling everyone how it’s gonna go. We get to work together right from the beginning to really shape the sound.

So, what can we expect from the new record?

Dark, moody pieces. It’s an album for a rainy day I guess, lots of cool songs. I’m really proud of it and I’m glad it’s coming out soon because it’s been almost two years since we recorded it. It’s in the same vein as the first record, but that one was done with so many different people in so many different places. This one just has a more cohesive sound.