Friday, August 10, 2012

SOUND CHECK: Big Black Delta INTERVIEW

Fake Plastic's own Mark.HaTe sent over some questions to Big Black Delta's Jonathan Bates, and he was gracious enough to take time out of his busy schedule to discuss his latest album, music video, the record industry, and synesthesia.

MH: To begin, tell me about the ultimate goal for Big Black Delta. What is the long term plan for the project and what does the immediate future hold?

JB: I just want to make music that makes me happy. It's truly a gift if others enjoy it as well. For the immediate future: touring and a batch of new songs and remixes to be released.



MH: I imagine that the approach for writing and recording as Big BlackDelta must be different than say writing and recording as Mellowdrone.
What are some of the strengths and weaknesses involved with working on Big Black Delta material?

JB: It's not too different. I wrote 99% of Mellowdrone’s music. I guess I just I know how to get what I want faster now because I've been producing for so long.



MH: Is Big Black Delta meant to be looked at as more of a solo project or would you consider it to be more collaborative?

JB: It's fluid. I'm open to anything. As of now, it's all me.



MH: With the album, BBDLP1, and the EP BBDEP1, what was the creative process for putting together these songs? For instance, did you write all of these songs alone, collaboratively, while on tour, or in the studio?

JB: Its all me. I did it on a laptop, usually between the hours of 2am and 9am. It ties together healthy doses of astrophysics, conspiracy theories, old French films and whisky. Its supposed to be a sonic presentation of the starburst that you see right before you pass out.



MH: The music video for IFUCKINGLOVEYOU is awesome, to say the least. I especially love the way color plays such a prominent role throughout the song. What was the ultimate inspiration behind its visual design?

JB: I have synesthesia, so I see what I hear.  I involved artist Caspar Newbolt when I started putting this together, and we went back and forth, trading our favorite artwork to come up with a theme that matched what I see in my head when i hear my music.  Bursts of light and colors mixed with geometric shapes and themes.



MH: How do you feel about music videos in general and do you feel that they are still an important part in getting music to the fans? 

JB: Imagery and music make the most powerful form of communication. So when done right, I think videos are great.  Personally, I hate being in them because being on set is usually like watching paint dry.



MH: With the change in the record industry over the past decade, how do you feel about albums, mp3’s, illegal downloading, the resurgence of vinyl, and Kickstarter?

JB: The "industry" has never been something I could navigate, so I don't really think about it.  I do feel there is a renaissance happening.  There are so many amazing artists and songs out right now that it’s a great time to be a music fan.  Usually when economy goes to shit, great art is made.



MH: Do you feel that there is still hope for the independent artist to make it in the industry?

JB: I maybe naive, but I like to believe if you make cool shit, cool things happen for you.



MH: Where do you think Big Black Delta fits into the music world right now? Where would you like to be?

JB: I can’t answer that question because it requires objectivity.  And since I’m so inside what I do, i have no idea if it fits.



MH: Thinking about your own album, BBDLP1, how will performing these songs live in concert differ from performing with Mellowdrone?

JB: I’m not holding a guitar or stepping on pedals.It’s just me, two amazing drummers, lights and an Ableton rig that I can manipulate my songs and voice real time. It’s like I’m producing in front of everyone, whilst jiggling around.




I'd like to say a big thank you once again to Jonathan Bates of Big Black Delta for taking the time to answer these questions.

Be sure to check out Big Black Delta on tour this month as they open for M83 and Jane's Addiction. Also be sure to check back later this month for a live review of the Salt Lake City show.

Tour Dates
August 1 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Electric Factory, Philadelphia w / M83
August 2 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead, Munhall w / M83
August 4 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Le Belmont, Montreal, QC, w / K-OS
August 7 2012 - Big Black Delta @ State Theater (ME), Portland w / M83
August 8 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Central Park Summerstage, New York w / M83
August 9 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Piano’s New York NY - Headline Show
August 10 2012 - Big Black Delta @ DC9, Washington, DC - Headline Show
August 11 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY - Popshop
August 17 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Piano’s, New York, NY - Headline Show
August 18 2012 - Big Black Delta @ MGM Grand Theatre / Goxwoods, Mashantucket w / Jane’s Addiction
August 20 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Artpart, Lewiston w / Jane’s Addiction
August 22 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Stage AE, Pittsburgh w / Jane’s Addiction |
August 23 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Old National Centre - Murat Theatre, Indianapolis w / Jane’s Addiction  |
August 25 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Orpheum Theater (NE), Omaha w/ Jane’s Addiction  |
August 26 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Pikes Peak Center, Colorado Springs w / Jane’s Addiction | 
August 27 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Larimer Lounge, Denver, CO - Headline Show
August 28 2012 - Big Black Delta @ The Great Salt Air, Salt Lake City w / Jane’s Addiction
August 29, 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Idaho Botanical Garden, Boise w / Jane’s Addiction
August 31 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Queen Elizabeth Theatre (BC) Vancouver w / Jane’s Addiction
September 4 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Keller Auditorium, Portland w / Jane’s Addiction
September 5 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Grand Sierra Resort & Casino, Reno w / Jane’s Addiction
September 6 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco, CA - Headline Show
 

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