In September 2010, Finland’s Delay Trees reveled in the release of their self-titled debut LP. The expansive dream pop record packed melodies, harmonies, and ethereality - a melancholy album of fear, doubt, and anxiety imbued hopes of landing beyond Europe into the band, only to be shut out by senseless bureaucracy. The same government who supports their musicians in the studio, denied Delay Trees the funding to cross countries, continents, and the ocean.
In October 2012, the Helsinki/Hämeenlinna quartet released their second LP, Doze - an album of transition - in a search of an identity. In spite of its patchwork frame, Doze was one of the most meritorious work of that year to go unnoticed by majority of the world. Those who did know of its modest existence, showered Delay Trees with positive reviews. The four lads are now in the process of recording their third full-length. Frontman, Rami Vierula claims,“ The next album feels like the best we've done so far”. Let’s hope they’ll finally see their dreams of America become a reality.
Last October when I visited Finland, had the pleasure of spending time with Delay Trees in Tampere on the night of their show. We killed some time experimenting - spontaneously suggesting to do an interview in the sauna (not in operation that evening), adjacent to the green room (!). Unfortunately, my main audio system was malfunctioning so had to rely on the DSLR camera audio. Maybe there was some spirit in that room that caused so much audio mishaps (or that’s my way of justifying)... I salvaged what I could. To supplement the faulty video interview, I recently emailed Vierula few questions.
You guys just played at by:Larm in Oslo. How was it and how is it different from other festivals?
By:Larm was really great. Everything was perfectly organized, and we got to play in a gorgeous church. They even had a Roland Jazz Chorus on stage for me even though I only slightly hinted that I liked the amp.
The major difference is that it's a showcase festival so there's loads of biz people hanging around and they're not always the most enthusiastic audience...
Did you get to catch some acts you wanted to see?
Actually we didn't really watch a lot of the shows that carefully. Probably Taken by Trees was the only one I actually stopped and listened to. They were pretty good.
Were there any surprises?
Tusmørke was quite a surprise. Imagine Gandalf the Grey singing about "the elements" over a funky slap-bassy track. Very Spinal Tap-esque but kinda good.
Do you have any other scheduled (or hopeful) festival appearances this year?
No we don't have any scheduled festival appearances coming. I guess selling us to the festivals ain't that easy with an album as slow as Doze. I'm really hoping we could at least play Flow and Kuudes Aisti festivals here in Helsinki.
There’s an obvious evolution from your first album to the second. You guys are in the studio for the third record now, which I suspect will have moved on from the last. What factors contribute to the development?
I don't think we're into the idea of making the same albums all over again. We like to try new styles, sounds and moods with every new recording. I guess in the end they still sound like Delay Trees so we're not that afraid to experiment.
The album we're currently making is highly influenced by IRS-era REM and minimalism, or minimalist production in the vain of Spoon. The songs are basic pop songs covered in gloomy ambience. Kinda different for us, more straightforward than Doze at least.
Do you pay much attention to the media, in regards to yur material as well as others, and the music industry in general? And what kind of impact (if at all) have on you guys?
I used to check out a lot of music blogs and sites and find some cool bands, but I'm too bored with the Internet at the moment to be bothered with it. I still love reading interviews and watching live videos on YouTube. I also try to read every issue of Wire. The same goes with our own attitude towards muci media in general... In the beginning we were really excited if anyone noticed us, and we really did send a lot of songs via email. Nowdays, we're a bit more skeptical towards the media and aren't that focused on what the media say about us. We just try to believe in ourselves and "do our thing". Sounds lane but it's actually spot on where we are now.
If you ever feel like you’re stuck, what do you do?
You mean a writer's block? I guess before Doze, we were having a kind of identity crisis as a band. We jammed a lot and tried different approaches to songwriting. I'm sure you can sense that vibe on the album. Now we're more focused and feel more comfortable of who we are as a band.
If you could collaborate or play with anyone, who would that be?
Definitely David Bowie! But since it's never gonna happen, I think I would love to collaborate with Bradford Cox, I'm a huge fan of his music.
Do you have any goals for this year?
We're hoping we could get this 3rd album out before 2014.
Was there any time where you thought you had to give up music and had to resort to an "ordinary" life?
Actually none of us in Delay Trees are making a living by just making music. It's basically impossible to make it just as an indie-musician, especially in Finland, where we have a very marginal indie music industry. However, I don't think any of us could live without being some way involved with music and for me as a songwriter it's a huge part of who I am and how I perceive the world.