Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Traffic”?
Traffic is a really vibin’ tune, it’s our latest take on what we think modern rock and roll should sound like. The lyrics aren’t exactly uplifting but the music is really slick and has a strong pulse to it. The bass and drums make a strong rhythmic foundation to pile on loads of guitars and keyboard counter-melodies, all in support of the vocal melody and harmonies.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
There wasn’t one particular event that inspired this song but rather a period of maybe six months while I was in college that I was drinking most days, and I realized that would not be sustainable. So I decided to be more conscious about how often and how much I was drinking before it could ever become a problem. That is basically what this song is about – resisting that temptation.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
We currently have no plans to release a music video for this single, but we did release one for our single “Heather Lou” earlier this spring – https://youtu.be/UVyhL5khPzQ
How was the recording and writing process?
Traffic and Oak are actually very much unlike many of my other songs in that I wrote multiple versions, fully hashed out, with different lyrical themes. For Traffic, I actually combined my favorite pieces from the two different versions, so it is kind of a collage of the same song in a way. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted arrangement-wise, so over the course of a few sessions, we just kind of banged it out – the other guys helped me fill in some gaps; for example, Patrick wrote the keyboard lead part in the post chorus and the cut going into the second verse was one of the other guys’ ideas, as well.
For Oak, I think I came up with the bass line first and wrote the whole song around that. I actually wrote two full versions of the song with some more light-hearted lyrics, but it just didn’t feel meaningful to me. Eventually, the story of losing a friend in a car accident felt more fitting – that was the third full version. Once again I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted the arrangement to be, but the other guys’ ideas really pulled the whole thing together. That one was fun putting the instrumental section together in the recording studio – we played pots and pans, a cuica, a container of oatmeal, and a bunch of other unusual instruments. My favorite part, though, is the [very quiet] eight-voice recorder ensemble I played in the final chorus – yes, recorder, like the thing you played in first grade!
The writing of Heather Lou was a little more typical. My fiancé, Heather Louise, kept bugging me for like two weeks telling me that I should write a song with the lyrics “Heather Lou, why you feeling blue;” so eventually I did. And it just came to me, the lyrics and chords took maybe thirty minutes once I figured out that initial chord progression. We knocked that one out in one long studio session, which was an awesome experience after the last EP – when each song was split in to about ten studio sessions.
What role does Florida play in your music?
Playing locally has definitely influenced our music. We are always trying to write songs that we think will grip and excite the audience right in front of us. It can also be inspiring to hear the music of some of the other great regional bands. The people down here are really great, too. We always love meeting and talking to people that enjoy our music.
What made you want to touch on these dark themes?
I really just didn’t want to write a downer of a song, but I still wanted to express my thoughts at the time. So I disguised some of those more serious lyrics by putting them on top of a boppin’ song.
How did you get to balance the dark aspects with the much brighter tones?
Man, these are tough questions. I wrote this song in August and September of 2016, so the song should really stand for itself. But the song isn’t really about hitting rock bottom – yet, anyway. It’s about realizing that I wasn’t where I wanted to be, but at that moment I had the power to choose my path. The music is really representing the optimism and empowerment of that idea, instead of accenting the negativity of the current situation.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
Yes! We have a few new recordings in the works – we haven’t discussed any release dates yet, but I suspect we can get a few new singles out over the course of this fall and winter.
Any plans to hit the road?
We don’t have any major tours planned, but we will be heading up to North Florida at the end of July. We also are hitting the road in a YouTube series we are tentatively calling the Van Jam. We just shot the first installment today, though, so I’m not yet sure when that will be ready to air.
What else is happening next in Del Pelson’s world?
We just ordered a new batch of shirts, so those should be available in blue, pink, and white on our website and at our concerts in about two weeks. In the meantime, we will be working on those new singles.