Delorentos | Band Needs Hard Shoulder To Cry On
Kevin Sheeky hears some hairy tales from the road from Delorentos in the wake of their chart-making debut album, not to mention the complications of buying a birthday present.
When I sat down to interview Ro and Nial, guitarists and singers with Dublin-based indie band Delorentos, their minds weren’t initially in full-on music promotion mode.
Instead, they were more concerned about what to buy band-mate Kieran for his birthday. Nial suggested going to Soccer City – Kieran’s a Leeds fan and that’s the only place they’d be able to buy him a jersey because of the whole David O’Leary thing – but they decide to worry about it later.
It was the lads’ first day off in a while, and they were simply looking forward to spending the day wandering around town. But with their debut album In Love With Detail still in the charts, this freedom is likely to be short-lived.
“The album’s been out about six weeks now,” Ro told me. “So since it came out we’ve been doing gigs in all sorts of weird and wonderful places, including embarrassing ones in shops and shopping centres. It charted in the first week at number seven, which was way above our expectations. The hard part now is to keep the momentum going.”
Nial then took over; “We thought it might be more of a grower, that over the course of the year if people liked it they’d tell their friends and it would be a word-of-mouth thing. But to go top 10 straight off was a real surprise for us, especially because we put it out on our own label. We paid for everything ourselves, from making it to promoting it, photocopying posters, the whole lot.”
The past two years have rushed by them so quickly that sometimes they haven’t had the time to realise just how much they’ve achieved; from being first-on Sunday morning at last year’s Oxegen to supporting the Arctic Monkeys at their shows in Malahide Castle and all the album sales to boot.
The Malahide Castle gig means something of a home-coming for Ro, as he grew up in the castle’s shadow. “I used to walk through the park to school everyday. I’d always think it’d be deadly to have a gig here. But I never thought it would ever happen.”
So how did the band get the attention of the Arctics without any record label backing? “I think their agent had heard us. I guess we must have sent him a CD or something,” Ro said. “There’s the corporate structure of Delorentos right there,” Nial quips.
Corporate structure isn’t the band’s only achilles heel; for Delorentos something as simple as getting to and from a gig can easily become a life or death situation. Take the time they drove back from a gig in Limerick with their van’s engine on fire. They retell the story like an experienced double-act.
Nial: “We were driving for maybe a hundred kilometers with smoke coming into the driver’s cabin.”
Ro: “They were fairly noxious fumes too.”
Nial: “We’d the windows down, but we were still feeling a bit sick.”
Ro: “I was in the front and thought that maybe with the air coming through the windows, the lads in the back wouldn’t be able to smell it.”
Nial: “We were green. The lad driving the car was like, ’We’re on fire! We’re on fire! That’s it, I’m pulling over! This is stupid!’”
Ro: “I was amazed he drove so far.”
Nial: “We were on the outskirts of Kildare by that stage, nearly home. We had to open up the bonnet and throw in loads of bottles of water. Then we drove a little bit further, but the fire wasn’t quite out. Then the fella that owns the van came out to rescue us.”
Nial (to Ro): “I haven’t seen the guy who was driving that night since.”
Ro (back to Nial): “I hope he’s okay.”
But surely these kind of difficult scenarios are rare? Not rare enough, it would seem. When Delorentos were asked to play the Trinity Ball they simply couldn’t refuse. The problem was they’d been booked to play Roisin Dubh in Galway the same night to promote the album. The obvious answer was an early-morning road trip across the country. If only things were that easy...
“The van driver broke the key in the ignition after we’d arrived in Galway,” Nial recalled. “We couldn’t believe it, ‘cause we had it set up so that we’d play the gig, pack up, drive straight down to the Trinity Ball, be there for about 3.30 and play.”
“He came to us while we were sound-checking for the Galway show; ‘Eh, I can’t lock the van. I snapped the key in the ignition. I need to go for a pee. Can you watch it.’ And we were going, ‘How the hell are we going to get back to Dublin?’, Ro added.
“He worked out a way of jamming the little bit of the key that was left into the ignition so he could leave the engine running, but he couldn’t turn it off or close the door. So he had to stay in the van for three hours twiddling his thumbs until we were ready to go. He hammered it back as well. We were bouncing around, but fair play to him,” Nial adds with relief.
So once the overall transport situation’s sorted, what’s next on the cards for Delorentos? “We’re going to be releasing ‘Stop’ as a single and we’re going to have a few remixes by friends of ours and people we like,” Nial tells MQ. “It’s the first time we’ve let somebody loose on one of our tracks. So we’re going to do a tour at the end of the summer for the next single, which should be ‘Do you Realise’.”
That’s assuming the van gods don’t get to them first.
Delorentos debut album In Love With Detail is available now on Cottage.