Bright Sparks: An Interview with Delorentos

Lauded by critics, championed by music bloggers, and mates with The Arctic Monkeys (Delo taught the Sheffield foursome Gaelic when they supported them in 2007) – Delorentos have it made. The release of Little Sparks in early 2012 cemented their status as one of Ireland’s most respected bands, earning five stars out of five from pretty much every music journo there is. To support Little Sparks, Kieran, Ro , Ross and Níal are in the process of a winter tour of Ireland, and with a date in Vicar Street on the 21st of December. So far, so good for the Dublin four-piece.

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However, the band’s future seemed uncertain in 2008, when they fell victim to the common curse of the indie band – a botched move to a major label, which resulted in them recording an album but being unable to release it due to the label encountering financial difficulties. “We were going a certain way; writing music a certain way, having certain aims in mind. They all kind of went out the window. Then there was one day when we had to pick up every CD we made because our distribution company folded. We had to collect piles and piles of CDs and drive home with all of them in the back of the car,” guitarist/vocalist Kieran recalls.

After that, the band had some serious thinking to do. “We said that we were gonna do it properly or we weren’t going to do it at all. Then we thought: can we do it? Because there’s not much money in being a band, and a lot of hard work. We said we’d leave it and say goodbye to everyone as a band. But then we started to play around again, cos we said we’d do a last gig.” It was at that point that the boys were reminded of what made them form a band in the first place. “When the pressure was off us and all the bullshit around being a band was gone, we just remembered that we liked writing music,” Kieran says. “We made a rule that we would only keep going as a band if we could write the best that we could and put everything into it. We can’t kid ourselves that we’re trying to do this for anything more than the music. We concentrated on that and trying to be as creative as possible then it all came together and it was worth it.”

Delorentos’ latest album Little Sparks is the product of the band’s change in outlook. Taking two years to write and record, the album was produced by Rob Kirwan, who has previously twiddled the knobs for U2 and on PJ Harvey’s Mercury-winning Let England Shake. “We went in with him early and stripped back all the songs to the essence of the song, which really worked for us. It took loads of money and loads of time – too much money and too much time, but it worked out really well and we’re really proud of it. The reaction has been amazing.”  This is in no small part to an extremely creative promotional campaign, which saw the band doing an acoustic tour as well as setting up pop-up shops where they performed live and taught fans how to play their instruments.

“Since the break up, we said that we wanted everything we did to be as creative as possible. We did the acoustic tour, which we had never done before. Instead of just releasing an EP and sending it to radio stations, we released it as part of a magazine. We wanted people to have something to value. Then we did the pop-up shops, because usually we would go to record shops and play but of course, lots of these record shops are closed. So we said: “Let’s make our own record shop.” It was ridiculously hard but a lot of fun.”

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Delorentos approach writing music in the style of The Beatles, with Kieran, Ro, Ross and Níal all contributing to vocals and song-writing. Kieran says there is no sign of a Lennon and McCartney-style monopoly emerging, however he does admit that he and Ro write about 80% of the songs. Does this ever create any tension in the band? “The way we make music is often argued about, and the way we should release it is often argued about, because we all have different ideas. I guess it always works out though, because it comes together in the middle,” Kieran says.

The winter tour of Ireland is something of a homecoming for Delorentos, who have been busy touring Europe for the past couple of months. “Oh yeah, we’re really excited. It’s been great touring Europe but sometimes the gigs are small, sometimes the gigs are short, sometimes people don’t know who you are, so here we get to go out to people who hopefully know who we are in places that we know. Being home and getting to play your hour long set, playing the hits that you enjoy, it’s great.”

Kieran stresses the amount of work that goes into being a band, but at the end of the day, they must enjoy it, surely? “Absolutely. You want to be creative and interesting but if you want do the best stuff that you can you have to work at it. It won’t fall out of the sky for you. That’s the way we’ve always been. Hopefully people enjoy the music and enjoy what we do.”

Delorentos play Vicar Street on the 21st December. Follow the lads on Twitter @delorentos

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