Saturday, 29 January 2011

Sat 29th Jan: Profile Weekender - DELS

Last week I wrote my first feature about Dels focusing on his latest video and track "Trumpalump" via the makeup artist who worked on the shoot - Poppy France. This experimental Hip Hop act is as equally inventive with his visuals as his tunes and lyrics. Here is the fantastic first video "Shapeshift" directed by Us who are close friends and collaborators of Dels since they met at art school. I have tracked down Dels to find out more about the track depicting him shapeshifting into a myriad of surreal fascinations including action figures, dogs, rain ........ and even gobstoppers - of which the imminent debut album shares a title "GOB".

FB: Your recent 2 videos are exceptionally executed and I read that you “write a song with video in mind”. How do you choose / find the right team to work with and how you go about writing the treatment – ie. How involved are you?

DELS: I'm heavily involved. I work closely with Us Design Studio who are two designers that I studied with for three years during my
Graphic Design degree at Kingston University. They have seen me grow as an artist and designer, so the collaboration was a natural decision. I usually sit down with Luke and Christopher (Us Design Studio) and listen to the song a few times, break down what
I am trying to say, then start brainstorming visual ideas. We are always sending ideas to each other via email/text/iChat.
'Trumplaump' is the second music video that we have done together and there is plan to do more. The rest of the team usually consists of close friends that we worked with during our time at University. It's a lot of fun.

FB: The video for Trumpalump is from the lyric about dreaming in colour or black and white. Has the final film captured how you dreamt it would look………..have you actually had a dream since about the making of the video?

DELS: I don't remember exactly how the dream looked when I originally wrote that lyric. Do we ever remember random details in our dreams?
If you sit on a sofa in a dream, do you remember how the fabric felt? We just used that lyric as a basis for the video itself and pushed it further. Let our imaginations run free. No boundaries. The main aim was to capture and reflect the random nature of the song Trumpalump. The song takes on a life of it's own in terms of song structure and the varied sounds dictate the delivery of my vocals.

FB: You studied Graphic design and now produce t-shirts for your music merchandise. If you evolved the line further in the future like Pharell has created with BAPE, what would be your dream collaboration in the fashion world e.g Watch or sneaker classic?

DELS: I'd love to work with the United Visual Artists on a visual installation. I'd also really like to create a few Ceramic products
and work on a short film with David Shrigley. There's a whole list of things I really want to do, I just don't think I need to collaborate with well established artists to get my ideas out there. Good ideas have legs and will get noticed with enough determination to get them seen. I'd rather do it on my own or collaborate with friends who are up and coming designers/film-makers.

FB: Is it going to be a big summer of touring the festivals for you- which are you excited about? Do you have a stand out memory from a festival experience for you as a punter in the past?

DELS: I'm really excited about playing SXSW Festival in March! Never played a gig in America before, this is a dream for me.
If you told me I'd be playing gigs now in Texas five years ago, I would never have believed you. This is all a bit mad really.
Seeing Hot Chip play at Glastonbury two years ago was pretty amazing for me. It was my first time at a Glastonbury and I got to go back stage and meet other musicians who were playing at the festival.

FB: Much like the 90’s dance band “Corona” your name “Dels” is also a name for a fizzy pop (Italian lemonade). What was your fave soft drink when you were a kid? Were you a slush puppy head or a Mr. Frosty?

DELS: I was obsessed with Kool Aid. Myself and my Brothers & Sisters loved it! I had dreams about having showers and Baths in Kool Aid as a child. I always dreamt about bathing/swimming in things that I loved as a child. I once sailed on a sea of 90's action figurines and melted chocolate.

FB: You grew up in Ipswich which was a destination for me as a teenager because they had the best bands come to play in East Anglia! What was the best gig you saw that inspired you musically or performance wise when you were young ?

DELS: I never went to gigs in Ipswich. Not one. A lot of the acts that I loved as a child, I saw play at Notting Hill Carnival.
I went to that Carnival every year with my Brother and Godfather. I would stand there in a trance, soaking up the culture, bopping to the varied baselines. I come from a Jamaican family, so we all share a common affection for the baseline. I watched trends within UK music come and go at that Carnival. Back then, you couldn't access music as easily as you can now on the internet. You had to really search for it. Notting Hill Carnival was a good way for me to hear new interesting music that young musicians were making at that time.

DELS appeared on Huw Stephens Radio 1 show earlier this week with session tracks recorded at Maida Vale studios where he had previously visited 10 years prior for a Peel session when he was first discovered. To find out more from that story and listen again to the tracks picked from GOB - click here.

(All images from on set filming Shapeshift c/o Dels)

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