The Southampton quartet is content to find its own voice
Delays: Part Two
[Part 2 of 2]
Here is the second part of the interview with Delays ...
Prefix Magazine: You've often been compared to the Hollies, one of the biggest British Invasion bands that struggled with maintaining some artistic integrity. Is it possible to balance commercial and artistic success?
Delays: Part Two: GG: We never really sat down and talked about record sales. We want to be successful so we can make music, but at the end of the day we're really just trying to excite ourselves or give ourselves a buzz. But I think it's perfectly possible. It's like what I said earlier; Nirvana should always be held up as an example for bands because they were just utterly themselves. There was very little compromise in what they did.
PM: Have you ever had to compromise your artistic sensibility for something more commercially successful?
Delays: Part Two: AG: Only once. PM: What was it?
Delays: Part Two: AG: "Hey Girl" wouldn't have been our choice for a single. I mean, it's our song, so it's not a big deal, but we wanted "Wanderlust." CF: That wasn't a case of being forced into it -- it was always there. It was just a case of choosing which song, and so it wasn't like that was our only pop song or anything like that. GG: I think Geoff Travis and everyone at Rough Trade want to have as much input from the band as possible, with every aspect of what we do. Because that way, again, it's about uniqueness and stretching it and pulling it in ways that just take it away from the mainstream. PM: The Darkness and Franz Ferdinand have been the two most recent bands to have success in the U.K. and the U.S., and it seems like you could follow. How would you connect yourself to them or explain how three incredibly different bands could potentially attain the same level of success in a short time period?
Delays: Part Two: GG: It's a really, really good time for British bands right now. It seems like things go in trends, with U.S. bands going to the U.K., U.K. bands to the U.S. I think people kick harder when there's a big influence of American bands or anyone outside of Britain. British bands seem to kick harder because of that. Have you been to England? PM: For about six hours on a layover.
Delays: Part Two: GG: The garage-rock influence is so encompassing that it's hard to get away from. I think with bands like Franz Ferdinand and the Darkness, they're kicking pretty hard against what's happening. It's not because they don't like it, but you just want your own thing. AG: But there are parallels. There are things about all three bands that have a precedent in America. For example, the Darkness is a big rock band with American music roots. For us it's with our harmonies. PM: Are there any other bands, particularly ones that you've toured with, that you've connected with or have really enjoyed your time on the road with?
Delays: Part Two: GG: Clearlake. They're such a great band. I love them. We played with the Shins the other night at the Oxygen Festival in Ireland, and I'm just such a fan of their record. PM: Are they big over in the U.K.?
Delays: Part Two: AG: No, they've got a little cult following, but ... GG: But they had to use my guitar, because theirs broke. I'm not a total fan, but I was really excited. The Veils were a good band, but they split up. CF: The Veils were a great band. AG: It's really weird because we're friends with other bands now. Like Snow Patrol -- I just love them. They're the best. We haven't done a tour with them, but that'd be cool. PM: How is it going from playing at Glastonbury to playing at Mercury Lounge, which holds 250 people?
Delays: Part Two: AG: Really cool. It's intimate. PM: Do you miss having intimate shows?
Delays: Part Two: AG: We do some secret gigs at some really small clubs. We played a gig in Hamburg where the Beatles played, and that was really cool. I enjoyed the energy of that sort of thing. The whole Beatles in Hamburg thing, you know? PM: Is this your first time in the U.S.?
Delays: Part Two: CF: Yeah. PM: And how many shows have you played?
Delays: Part Two: GG: Last night was our first show. PM: How'd that go?
Delays: Part Two: CF: Good, I think. AG: In the middle someone shouted out, "You rock!" So we think that's a good sign. PM: Is that the same type of thing you'd get back at home?
Delays: Part Two: GG: There's a difference in Scotland. AG: Scotland is really great. They're mad. PM: It's totally different here. You'll probably see tonight that the people in the audience will just stand around with their arms crossed.
Delays: Part Two: AG: I hate that! GG: What's the point? That's ridiculous! You have to lose yourself, you know what I mean? PM: Do you think that it's difficult for musicians to achieve success between the different continents?
Delays: Part Two: GG: Yeah, you can tell by looking at the number of bands that haven't been able to crossover and the number that have but have since disappeared. AG: We've thought about cracking America, so to speak. We've done our record in England, and its done well in England, and now we're here. But we've got no plan. If it happens, it happens. GG: The only plan is that our next record is going to be a lot better than the last one. That's always going to be the plan. We're never going to be satisfied, ever. AG: I don't care what band it is, why can't they realize when their new stuff is shit? It's so obvious when a band has written something great and then their next single or song sucks. They must know. I hate that. PM: If that ever happens, are you just going to throw in the towel?
Delays: Part Two: GG: Yes, we've always said that. You view a band through how they finish. The Beatles, or bands like that, they split up, and now that's how you view their whole careers. PM: How's your new stuff coming along? Have you written all of the songs for the next album or is it slowly being written?
Delays: Part Two: AG: It's getting there. We just need to finish it up some time. But we've been on the road for the last year and a half, so it's a bit tricky to get down to writing. PM: What are your short-term goals, your-long term goals and your end goal?
Delays: Part Two: AG: My short term goal is to eat [Laughs], because I haven't. Another goal is to sleep, because I haven't today. GG: My short-term goal is to stop worrying about the future, and my long-term goal is that the record will be a success. My short-term goal is to just live in the now. PM: To finish things off, I want to ask you a question in reference to something Greg said --
Delays: Part Two: GG: Oh no ... PM: --which is, "No band's ever been perfect, so no band has ever achieved what we want to achieve. We want to be the perfect pop band." I just want to ask you, what makes a perfect pop band? What are the characteristics that would create the ultimate pop band?
Delays: Part Two: GG: There are a number of things. First, you can draw (the band members) as cartoons and know who it was. Second, you don't need to be told what band it is; you just know immediately that it's them. You have to make millions and millions of records in a really intense period of time and then split up at the right time. Remember, I don't want to become one of those bands that's together for thousands of years.