Kiss and destroy
On the eve of the release of their highly anticipated debut album, Dublin quartet Delorentos take five from their latest video shoot to discuss playing with Gang of Four, hanging with Steve Albini and playing football in Texas.
Paul Nolan, 26 Apr 2007
In a rundown former printing press on Dublin’s north side, near to Tolka Park, Delorentos are shooting the video for their latest single, ‘Eustace Street’. hotpress heads into a small, warehouse-type space in the building and finds the band’s singer, Kieran McGuinness, singing along to a playback of the track, whilst a group of approximately 30 fans, some of them in fancy dress, dance around him.
The director calls a halt to proceedings, and Kieran puts down his guitar and makes his way over to your correspondent. “I’ve had to learn some of the lyrics backwards for this one particular sequence in the video,” he explains. “It’s weird, when I sing the lyrics that way, they sound kind of like African tribal chanting.”
Kieran proceeds to sing me a snippet of the backwards lyrics, and he’s right, there is an undeniable African tinge to the sound. More disconcertingly, he sounds a lot like the Man From Another Place in Twin Peaks. Kieran and Nial Conlan, Delorentos’ affable bassist, retire with hotpress to a makeshift kitchen around the corner, where, over a table covered with props, drinks and food, we discuss the matter of Delorentos’ imminent debut album, In Love With Detail.
What’s the mood in the camp like? Expectant? Nervous?
“We’ve always been writing, releasing and playing, so this is just the next step,” states Kieran. “We’ve been dying to do it for a while, it took us a long time to get to the point where we were happy with all the songs. And now that we’ve achieved that, it’s quite exciting.”
“It’s definitely a buzz,” adds Nial. “It’s the big thing for a band, releasing an album, certainly a debut album. We’ve worked for a long time on these songs and now we really want to get them out there and see what people think.”
In terms of their sound, look and attitude, Delorentos fit neatly alongside the current wave of Irish indie bands like Director, The Immediate and Humanzi. But do they feel part of a scene?
“Because we come from Portrane, which is a long way out from the city centre, we’re pretty detached from it,” replies Nial. “The main thing is that because we didn’t have to pay for our own rehearsal space, we spent day after day, night after night, out there developing our own sound.
“Our rehearsal space is an interesting spot, actually. Across the road there’s a house that used to be George Harrison’s holiday home. And nearby is the place that Bono was baptised when he was in the prayer group Shalom.”
“The rehearsal space is also where we developed our musical form of OCD,” continues Kieran. “We spend a lot of time angsting over the songs, which is why the record is called In Love With Detail. We sit there going, ‘Does that scan? Is that an interesting part? Is that too long?’ Then when we play the songs live, we learn more about them.
“You figure things out, like, ‘That part dragged, maybe we should edit it down, maybe we should repeat a chorus’ – that kind of thing. Also, when you play a live set, you occasionally think, ‘Maybe we need something more up to go here’. That’s the way the album works too, there’s light and dark, because that’s the way life is.”
Some of the tracks on In Love With Detail have an angular quality similar to post-punk influenced bands like Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand. Was that style of music a reference point for the band when they were recording the album?
“People have said that to us,” nods Kieran. “But I’d never listened to a Franz Ferdinand album before! At the end of the recording, Gareth Mannix, who produced the album, brought in one of their records and played it for us. People were already mentioning the similarities, but they’d never been a band I was into, so it’s kind of funny.”