Track By Track: Delta Sleep – ‘Ghost City’

Few things are as soothing as a Delta Sleep record. The group are known for their brash time signatures and progressions, really allowing their emotions to creep into their atypical structure. Ghost City was released on August 10th via Big Scary monsters, and holds true to the talents of this band with accuracy. There’s a lot of raw power found across this release, seen with the booming tones of “After Dark.”

There’s plenty of moments across Ghost City that stand out. The opening rolls of “Sans Soleil”,  the outro of “Dotwork” and the wonderfully intimate “Afterimage.” Delta Sleep slide their way through so many interesting and transcendental experiences on Ghost City. New Noise Magazine is pleased to be bringing forth this in depth look at the record written by the band!

Purchase Ghost City here

SULTANS OF PING

DEV: It took a little while for us to figure out what this song actually was. We had been jamming the end riff for ages but it never really felt like a full song.

One day at practice, Glen was noodling around with the dreamy intro guitar melody and I instantly came up with a vocal hook that was like a constant loop, almost a type of “vocal round”. From then on we all knew it would be the perfect intro to the album.

AFTER DARK

GLEN: The verse riff for this track is actually one of the older parts of the album. I love the timing of it and how it constantly pushes and pulls but there’s a really sweet underlying groove to it somehow. The timing of it is multi-metered (I think that’s a thing…?) but I always just count 7 – 3 – 7 – 5 over and over again… Dev’s vocals for the verse really sit nicely within that timing and it’s a testament to him that he can play it, mess with delay and sing at the same time (kind of… sometimes).

DEV: This was the very last song that I wrote lyrics to despite it being one of the older tracks. Mostly because it was super hard to wrap my brain around playing the guitar parts and singing at the same time, but partly because I was still undecided as where this one would fit in the lyrical narrative of the album. I made it easy for myself and decided to keep the lyrics very sporadic and wrote it as a an abstract introduction to the dystopian City World that the main protagonist finds herself in.

GHOST

GLEN: This whole album is a lot more loose and “vibey” due to the fact that we recorded almost everything live. This song was totally written on the day and we had never played it before that point, which is something we have never really done on our previous recordings. I remember just jamming this riff around in between takes and we all sort of started playing it and pretty much just asked Mark Roberts (our producer) to start rolling. I can really picture where each of us was set up in that live room when I listen to this track. I joked with Blake (our drummer) that the drum drop into the main riff has a bit of a Soundgarden “Black Hole Sun” feel to it – It’s just so slow and powerful. We also got our friend (Samuel Organ of The Physics House Band) to overdub some keys onto this and it really ties the track together nicely. I’d love to do a super heavy doom-y version of this track live…

SINGLE FILE

DEV: I had a good amount of this song already written before showing the other guys. But I hadn’t really figured out how to end the song. After playing around all together we ended up creating what I think is one of the most powerful parts of the whole album. The end of this song sounds huuuge and just takes on a life of it’s own. The solo at the end was massively inspired by my our collective love for early Weezer.

Fun fact: The vocals at the very end were actually a very last minute addition, I recorded them with Mark on the very last day of mixing just hours before our deadline to send the record off to get mastered. I couldn’t imagine them not being on the album, probably one of the catchiest parts of the record!

DOTWORK

DEV: This was the oldest song out of all the album songs, we actually played this live for the first time two years before the album came out.

Lyrically this is – along with a currently unreleased bonus track… 😉 – the first chapter I wrote with the dystopian lyrical concept in mind.

This is also the first and only time I’ll likely get away with doing a James Hetfield-esque “Hheeeeaaaarrggh”. Arguably. Lol.

(Please hyperlink to James Hetfield soundboard please… pretty please)

DREAM THANG

GLEN: Another one of those songs that really became a song in the studio. It really started as a bit of a filler riff that none of us knew what to do with – It was just a super delay / reverb soaked loop that went around and around without really going anywhere. I don’t think we really realised how big a hook it was going to be until we recorded it on the day.
It’s probably my favourite song because it’s so loose, it’s pretty much 3 minutes on the nose and the process for us recording it was so intuitive and improvisational. I also love the feedback at the end. It was a lot of fun to make.
DEV: I love this song because it sounds like nothing we have ever written before. A short and simple song with a very simple vocal hook. Job done.

SANS SOLEIL

DEV: I had most of the bones mapped out for this song before bringing it to the practice room. But it really became a whole different beast when the other guys added their parts. It went from being quite a mellow folky / finger picked guitar song, to a super power driven ultimate rock ballad, and one of my favorite songs we’ve ever made together. Instant classic. I love how Dave’s bass moves around in this tune.

EL PASTOR

DEV: This is the first single we released from the album. It’s such a fun song to play live, so much upbeat energy both rhythmically and melodically. Glen wrote the main guitar riff which is just so catchy, and Blake’s intro drum part just hooks you from the get go. An absolute Delta Belter.

I also need to mention to the sample that plays out at the end of this song. We were on tour in Mexico and walking through a park in a beautiful town called Tlaxcala. We stumbled across a group of young guys playing old traditional folk songs. They played this song for us, it was a truly beautiful moment. 

GLASS

DEV: This track, similar to “Ghost”, was never really intended to be on the album. We were just playing around in the studio and recorded this completely live and unedited. We all loved how honest and raw it sounded and felt it really captured the spirit and atmosphere of the studio and our time recording out in Italy. There’s actually a bum note right at the end which I used to cringe at every time I heard it, but I learned to love it. Live vybz innit.

FLOATER

DEV: This was the very last album song to be written. I had already written most of the song but the other guys were still unsure of their parts and certain structural elements, and we weren’t sure we were going to include it on the album. We actually finished writing it all together in the studio which was an amazing feeling, and along with both interludes was a first for us. You always hear of bands “writing songs in the studio” and never really felt that could apply to us as we take ages to write songs and we only had 6 days in the studio! But this tune really felt like a studio song and was a huge achievement for us!

AFTERIMAGE

DEV: While writing the vocal hook for the intro of “Sultans of Ping”, I knew I wanted to expand on it and write a full song that reprised a few hooks and melodies from the intro. This is that song. It also felt like a nice way to bookend the album with a similar theme to the intro but with a completely different feel.

Samuel Organ from The Physics House Band also lent some of his synth skills on this track. It sounds dreamy af. I love it.

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