Touring in support of their January release, Hate, the follow-up to their brilliant, Mercury Prize-nominated The Great Eastern, the Delgados will be playing Detroit’s the Shelter tomorrow night with fellow Glaswegaians, Aerogramme.
Guitarist and vocalist Emma Pollock spoke to The Michigan Daily last week about the Scottish and American music scenes.
The Michigan Daily: Why do you think that Glasgow is home to so many great bands?
Emma Pollock: Glasgow has always been a very open and friendly place. Well, I say friendly, but it can actually be quite a violent city as well – there’s no point in pretending. But people are very open to meeting new people and doing new things, and it’s a city that really enjoys itself in many ways. It’s got such a ridiculous amount of pubs and bars per capita. And I think in many respects the personality of the folks who live here is a great one for a lot of independent thought, and in music that’s obviously a really important thing.
Glasgow bands don’t usually fall into any kind of trend. There’s a lot of people doing a lot of different things, from traditional folk to just wanting to play their favorite AC/DC numbers in a pub at night.
If you want to get in a band, all you really have to do is hang about (in a pub) for a few weeks and you’ll probably start talking to someone looking for a band member.
TMD: The Delgados are leaving for the States within the week. How do you guys like playing here?
EP: Well it’s very, very exciting. I mean, at the end of the day, when you’re young, you grow up with an image of America on your television screen. I think America’s got a really healthy alternative scene because there’s a lot of college radio stations supporting things, and being such a large country I don’t think it’s driven by trade quite as much as Britain.
It’s very difficult for such a large country to dictate everybody at all points what they listen to. So at the end of the day there has to be some individuality that comes out of that. (But) when the majors do kick in in America they’re very, very effective. But at all echelons of the scale I think there’s a lot of individuality and a chance for bands like us who will never really be number one in America.
TMD: Hate is a very interesting album because the music is mostly optimistic but the lyrics are quite dark. Can you comment on that?
EP: Alan and I coincidentally – we didn’t really talk about it together – ended up writing lyrics that were of a completely introspective, personal nature. It had been quite a difficult year for me and (bassist and husband) Paul (Savage). We had a baby in January of last year and I, unfortunately, came down with quite a bit of depression after it. It was quite a daunting time, really, and one that kind of makes you grow up really, really fast. You end up questioning so many things about yourself and life in general. It can be a very introspective time.
It’s not to say we’re the most depressing bunch of people you could ever meet because that’s very much not the truth. But I think an appreciation of both sides – the light and the dark – makes a much healthier life.