Big Black Delta Big Black Delta… Big green backdrop

Interview: Big Black Delta

Published on May 1st, 2013 | Jonny Abrams

This week sees the release of Jonathan Bates‘s eponymous debut album as Big Black Delta, and what an album it is; we could bang on about it all over again, or simply direct you to our spluttering-for-superlatives, four-and-a-half-quail review of the thing. (For those who can’t be bothered to click, just know that it draws seemingly oppositional styles of music together and makes them work with a one hundred per cent success rate. You know, or words to that effect.)

We fired the former Mellowdrone singer/bassist over some questions pertaining to his fruitful new guise and the stunning LP it has delivered…

What did you use to record the album, and who else other than yourself was involved in the making of it?

Macbook Pro running Logic through an Apogee Duet. I had some of my friends perform on it: Alessandro Cortini, Morgan Kibby, Lars Horntveth.

The album could very loosely be summed up as a power struggle between classic melody (“Side of the Road”, “Betamax”) and all-out sonic assault (“IFUCKINGLOVEYOU”, “x22”). In retrospect, do you think this sums up your mood/circumstances/intentions while making it?

I would. I enjoy all kinds of music, and I feel certain tones or production styles help reflect what I’m feeling at the time.

You told Rolling Stone: “‘Side of the Road’ was written during a violent period in my recent life. I saw and experienced some shit that could make one lose their humanistic values.” Are you able to elucidate further?

Violence. As in gang violence. As in Los Angeles. Seeing people leave this planet. Not being safe. As in we’re all alone, ’cause if you think the police will come and save you, you’re in for a surprise.

Our review of the album contains all sorts of comparisons to other artists (all positive!). Do you welcome that sort of thing, or do you find it unhelpful?

Helpful how? I’m flattered and honoured to be compared to such great artists. I’m very internalized in my process, so it’s always interesting when people compare as it’s completely an objective point of view.

Are you playing any festivals this summer? And are there any plans to come to the UK?

Leeds and Reading. In the UK. Two birds, one stone.

Ridiculously early to be asking, but have you given any thought to your next project yet?

YES! Working on new songs as we speak.

Are you now no longer a touring member of M83? Can you see Mellowdrone ever being resuscitated?

Correct. Anthony and I are just buds. Never say never. If I write some good songs, maybe.

What gear did Wes Borland hook you up with? And is it true that Jay-Z and Dave Navarro gave you their patronage? What did they say?

HA! He gave me an unused Digi003 for Pro Tools. Jay-Z was kind enough to blog about me. Dave Navarro was kind enough to have BBD go on tour with Jane’s Addiction.

What new music have you been enjoying and/or looking forward to in 2013?

Beach House, Father John Misty, Coco Rosie, HAIM.

Finally, if you had to spend the rest of your days with the entire works of just five different artists, musical or otherwise, whose would you choose?

Shit. That’s too terminal. I’d just recreate whatever I could remembering listening to and that way I wouldn’t be limited in my options.

Big Black Delta, thank you.

Big Black Delta - Big Black Delta

Big Black Delta’s eponymous debut album is out now on, er, “Masters Of Bates under exclusive license to Major Record Label”.

You can buy Big Black Delta on iTunes or on Amazon.

For more information, please visit the official Big Black Delta website.

Artists:

About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.