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What I Learned at Bandcamp: Delta Will

Delta Will, Bandcamp, interview

Delta Will began as the solo, looping project of Canadian musician Charles Tilden but has since evolved into a four-piece band with the addition of Brandon Johns, Milan Schramek and Lowell Whitty. The group combines folk, psych rock and electronic influences into thoughtful songs about the human condition.

Delta Will is currently working on its third album and has released single “Manic Pulse.” Tilden says of the track, “It’s a song I wrote about a young man’s dizzying journey through the triumphant highs and loathsome lows of a manic episode. Sonically, the track alternates between dark swelling verses and explosive sparkling choruses of psych-pop bliss.”

Listen to the track and read The Spec‘s interview with Tilden, below…

Tell us a little about yourselves..
We love fresh wood-oven bagels, as confirmed by our last trip to Montreal. But who doesn’t, right? Mmm… gluten.

How long have you been making music?
I’ve been writing songs and playing in bands since I was 11. Delta Will has been a band for two years now, though it all started as a solo bedroom project four years ago. After playing shows by myself for a while, I missed the fun and musical dynamics of having a band, so I brought on Lowell to play drums for the second EP (It All Glows), then Brandon and Milan came on board once we started playing that EP live.

Who/what are your influences?
My songs are influenced most directly by the long lineage of blues and folk songwriters, from Leadbelly and Big Mama Thornton, to [Bob] Dylan and [Leonard] Cohen, all the way through to newer artists like M. Ward and Andrew Bird. Sonically, I’ve always been attracted to music that intertwines lots of layers, combining lots of acoustic, electric and electronic textures, and I’m indebted to artists like Brian Eno, Os Mutantes, Radiohead, Dan Deacon, Panda Bear, Caribou and Sufjan Stevens for helping me discover the potential of thick dreamy soundscapes and different ways of playing with dynamic shifts. The other guys in Delta Will also bring flavours to the sound that make the band what it is today. For example, Milan (bass, guitar, backup vox) is really into dance music, from afro-funk and deep-cut disco to more modern electronica, while Lowell (drums) is really into jazz. These are influences we all share, but some of us are more obsessive about certain genres, and I love how it all jives in this band.

Upcoming projects, where do you want to go from here?
Other new Delta Will tracks will be pouring out soon, ambient electronic gems we’ve been working on alongside the live band tracks for the LP. We’ll likely be off the road until the record is out, so in the meantime we’ll be writing new stuff, doing shows in Toronto and playing in our other projects (Mune, Heavyweights Brass Band, Kira May, Idioteque).

Why do you make music?
For me, music is a tremendous healer, a method for growth and constant learning. Songs I write are consistently about the toughest questions I’m grappling with in life – e.g. “Can a communal spirit be restored in this very individualized age?” “Why do shitty things happen to good people?” “Why does someone decide to take their own life, and could it have ended differently?”. Even though I rarely end up with a clear answer in the resulting song, the process of digesting the questions and my anxieties about them is really beneficial for me. It lets me shed a little light on something in the shadows of my mind. Sharing the results through recordings and shows is also really important for me, too. To partly answer my own question, I believe a music scene is one important way in which a supportive community can be built in an otherwise uber me-centric human era.

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