Interview: Death Songs
Published on September 19th, 2011 | Jonny Abrams
We’ve been featuring a fair few acts from Portland on Rocksucker of late, and the steady stream of great sounds emanating from the Oregon-based city shows no sign of abating.
The latest to be brought to our attention is Death Songs, the brainchild of Nick Delffs (formerly of The Shaky Hands), who initially worked on the project with his brother Nathan before he left for New York to concentrate on his band Forest Fire.
The music of Death Songs is genre-defying and otherworldly but not, as the name would suggest, morose.
As Nick himself said: “I called it Death Songs because there’s always that possibility that the next song I write would be my last.
Native American death songs celebrate the person’s life and that’s what I want to do with these songs as well.”Rocksucker fired some questions over to Nick to see what he had to say as he awaits the October 4th release of Death Songs’ self-titled, eight-track EP…
Congratulations on a splendid-sounding EP. Is there a full-blown album in the offing? If so, will any of the EP tracks feature on it?
Thanks! Yes there is a full-blown album coming out early next year. The full-length will have all brand new songs!
What kind of music do you enjoy listening to? There are some vey exotic elements to your sound.
I listen to mainly exotic music. Anything that is wild and free and full of spirit. Mostly Curtis, Creedence, Otis and The Boss. Mississippi Records compilations are also a huge influence and a joy in my life. I also listen to Talking Heads, Prince and the Stones a lot. Basically anything that sounds exotic in that particular moment.
Who are you posing with in this picture?
My homies. Friends of mine. I want people to think that they are my band, and they want people to think that they are in my band. Maybe they will be my band. I just don’t know if I would have a whole lot of time to practice with them.
There seems to be a lot of good music coming out of Portland at the moment. Can you think of a reason for this? Which of the other local artists do you associate with?
I hear that a lot. Is it really more than anywhere else? Everyone has a desire for fame, admiration and distinction. I try and associate with like minded people that are wild and free and full of spirit. And And And is a totally radical band. I hope to associate with them more in the future. Michael Hurley and Dead Moon/Pierced Arrows are my long time favs. Very little association unfortunately.
How did you find being in a band with your brother? Did you argue much? If so, how would you settle disputes? Were you disappointed he left?
It was amazing!! Family, love, support and collaboration all in one. Nothing else like it. My brother is one of the most wild and free people I know. Tons of arguing. Tons of brother bear hugs. We would settle disputes by playing crazy loud abrasive music or hugging or by being passive aggressive or by just plain ignoring the problem. It was great. I was never disappointed about him moving to NYC. I still think of him as being in my band. I can’t wait until we reunite musically!
What’s your live setup like? Any plans to come to the UK at some point?
We are currently a three-piece: electric piano, drums and guitar. No definite plans yet but it must happen. “Where there is a will, there is a way” – that’s what they say.
What’s happening with unreleased Shaky Hands album Realms out of Reach? Indeed, is there any future to The Shaky Hands?
How did you know the album title? No one is supposed to know about that album. Don’t really have the time or energy for it. It is really good but I am WAY more excited about Death Songs. I can’t decide if a band should wait five years or ten years to reunite and do the whole reunion tour thing. That sounds kind of lame. It all depends on Mayhaw Hoons. He kind of calls the shots for that band. Death Songs totally blows them out of the water. So why are we talking about this?
Are there any up-and-coming artists you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?
Finally, if I asked you right now to name your top three albums of all time, off the top of your head, which would you pick?
Talking Heads – Remain In Light, The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers, Otis Redding – (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.
Nick, thank you.