Delta Will Talks Caribou

Purveyors of: Chirpy, well-mannered indie rock that gets slightly weird at times.
File next to: My Morning Jacket, the lighter moments of Deerhunter, the darker moments of the New Pornographers
Playing: #WL15 Night 1, Friday Feb. 13 at Sneaky Dee’s

Toronto’s Delta Will are no strangers to Wavelength fans (or Wavelength websites), but their upcoming #WL15 appearance will put a fresh spin on some old favourites. They are going to bravely tackle the dense sonic landscapes of Polaris-winnin’ shape-shifter Caribou as part of our Classic Wavelength/Toronto Tribute sets. These boys have some balls and we can’t wait to hear how they interpret Mr. Snaith’s music. We caught up with the band’s vocalist Charles Tilden via email to discuss their Caribou-covering game plan, making new noises and when we can expect to hear some fresh originals from the band.

Caribou. When did you first hear their/his music? Were you early to the Caribou party?

I’ve been a Caribou fan for many years. In 2006, I was over at a classmate’s house and he put on The Milk of Human Kindness while we were supposed to be studying for a stats exam, or something really boring like that. I drifted off and spent the whole time just listening to the record. That winter, I saw Caribou at Lee’s Palace and it changed my entire perspective on how a band performance could work. Dan Snaith was playing all sorts of instruments into his looper — flute, guitar, synths, his voice — and then switching over to the drum kit for the loudest parts. That show solidified me as a fan. I’m equally a fan of his earlier stuff as Manitoba, so we’ll be throwing one of those songs into our tribute set too.

Is it daunting covering an artist who is known for being extremely eclectic in terms of instrumentations and sounds? How are you going to approach that?

It’s definitely somewhat daunting considering how much of a soundscape master and sampling guru Snaith is. It’s also been fun figuring out where he gets his samples, and recreating our own versions of them.

Were there any samples that you were able to track down that were surprising in terms of the source material?

Just about every sample unleashed its own little surprise. I was listening to the 1000-song playlist Caribou just released, and it struck me right away when “Huntington Ashram Monastery” by Alice Coltrane came on, that the harp sample for “Hendrix with Ko” was lifted from that song. I won’t say more ‘cause I don’t want to reveal too much about our set. Our strategy has been to make sure all the essential elements of the songs are there, and getting creative with the gaps. I typically avoid bringing a laptop on stage, but it would be impossible to produce all those sounds without one, so I’ll be triggering some sounds using virtual instruments on Logic. We’ve also got Sexy Merlin on-board as a special guest for this show. He’s an incredible drummer and a Caribou fan too, so he’s like our not-so-secret weapon.

Please tell us more about this Sexy Merlin fellow. How does one meet a Sexy Merlin?

Sexy Merlin is also known as Sean Dunal. You might have seen him drum for Moon King or Mausoleum, and he makes his own sexy, weirdo dance music, which is when he goes by Sexy Merlin.

Were there other Canadian artists you were considering covering for the appearance? Or others you’ve covered in the past, or intend to cover in future?

We were debating between doing Caribou or Sandro Perri. Honestly, Sandro’s music just seemed like too many notes and chord changes to learn in time. But both of them are local heroes of mine, and though their music is quite different from each other, they’ve both been inspirational in showing me how diverse and integrative a project’s sound can be. Throwing unlikely influences together is definitely my M.O. for Delta Will.

Swerve: when can we expect to hear some new recordings from the band? Can you give us any hints or previews? Your Facebook page shows you’ve been busy recording for a while.

Yes! We’re eager to finish and put out our debut LP. Looks like we’ll be releasing a first single independently in the spring, and then the full LP likely won’t drop until fall. We’re still looking for a label to release it (hint hint).

Nice! Are you going to be pairing up a string of shows with the new LP? Do you anticipate a broader tour this fall?

We do! We’re planning on touring throughout Canada, and a little in the US too. We’ve only done Eastern Canada so far, so I can’t wait to share our music with all the lovely people in the west.

… and stereotypical final question: what other WL15 artists are you most eager to check out?

I’m especially stoked to see the Acorn, Mozart’s Sister and the other tribute sets on the 13th. I have some love for all of those artists and am especially curious to see how Most People, a two-man show, will deliver BSS songs.

— Interview by Cam Gordon (Completely Ignored)