Tell us about your new EP, ‘Waits Room.’
Well, we recorded our last record, ‘History From Below,’ at this place called Prairie Sun Studios in Cotati, CA. After we finished tracking the record, we ended up going back to the studio a few weeks later to do some video footage. Since our label was paying for the time we spent there, we decided to throw some mics up and just have fun. We ended up recording a few songs all live in the same room where Tom Waits recorded four or five of his records.
We did it kind of as a joke, but when we got back home it actually sounded really sweet. So, we thought it would be a cool thing to sell on the tour that we’re on right now. We figured we could give our fans something a little bit different.
Definitely. It sounds like it was a very natural process.
It was actually a backwards process. “Bushwick Blues,” in particular, sounds like the original version of how the song came together. At first, we had more of a mellow version and then we made more of a rockin’ version that we put on the ‘History From Below’ record. So, it was more of a backwards thing. There were also a couple songs that Matt wrote that we all really liked. We hadn’t really rehearsed them, though. We just played along and pressed record.
What are all your different roles when you’re in the studio?
As far as in the studio, we’re all hands-on with everything. Kelly is an amazing engineer and producer — he even produces some bands on the side. Matt is also an engineer and the king of making the weirdest sounds possible. When we’re in the studio, we’re all doing something. It’s really sweet. We could probably make as many records as we wanted to by ourselves, but it’s also kinda nice to have an outside opinion come in and break up the mold.
Who’s been helping you guys break the mold?
We’ve had this guy Elijah Thomson who has been with us almost since day one. He’s just been a really good friend of ours. He used to play with Richard Swift — who’s been a big influence on us. Elijah now plays in a band called Everest. He just gets us. He definitely had his hand in the last record, in terms of engineering and some producing.
We also had our friend Bo Koster from My Morning Jacket come in and hang out. He played some keys on the record. It was the first time we branched out and had people sit in with us while we were actually recording. It was a different experience and the recordings came out a lot different, which we’re very pleased with. I know that every record we make is going to sound totally different.
There are a lot of bands coming out of California these days with so much to offer. How were you guys able to sculpt your own unique sound?
That’s a hard question. It just happened so randomly. When we first started the band, we had no specific genre and no specific idea of what we were going to do. We just kinda got into a studio and started writing together. Also, we all come from such different backgrounds. Matt might write a song and it’ll be purely a folk song with a story and a few chords, then we’ll tear [the song] apart and it ends up being a mixture of everything.
It’s funny, so many times we’ll be on tour and someone will think we’re from the East Coast. They’ll say, “You guys have such an East Coast sound.” I guess we’re doing something good that’s helping to break up the barriers.
As a drummer, who are some of your influences?
I grew up playing tons of punk and hard rock. We actually all, except for Matt, have been a drummer in a band at one point in our lives. It puts a lot of pressure on me sometimes because everyone has their own idea of what the drums should sound like [laughs]. It’s great, though. It’s pushed me to another level and brings such a different variety to each song.
To go back to your question, as far as my influences, it’s been a lot of my band members and some of the influences they’ve had. I also grew up around a lot of old hymns and old Baptist music. There was definitely some soul and R&B that my parents would put on.
Cool. Let’s talk about your tour. Who’s out on the road with you right now?
It’s us headlining and we brought out this great band called Darker My Love. We’ve wanted to have them tour with us for a while. Also, there’s a brand new band out called The Fling. They’re absolutely incredible and really great dudes. They just put out a record and it sounds insane. We’re really pleased with this lineup. It’s a lot of fun.
Nice. And you’ll be releasing the new EP on the tour on vinyl. Are you guys big vinyl collectors?
We’re not super avid vinyl buyers, but we all have a small collection — usually of stuff that’s given to us for free. I wouldn’t say we’re total vinyl nerds. When we see a record store we don’t freak out by any means [laughs].[laughs] Fair enough. Good luck on tour. Thanks, Brandon.
Pick up Delta Spirit’s new EP Waits Room today!
Check out their official Myspace page for a list of upcoming tour dates.