Delta Spirt

Four of the five members of San Diego's old soul, blues-rock band, Delta {{{Spirit}}},used to play drums in other bands. So when these guys hit the stage, you can count on the rhythm driving the music. Jamming out their high-energy brand of re-vamped Americana, they've been making a name as an opening act that consistently outshines their headliner. People in the audience keep asking, "Who the hell are these guys?" When SURFING Mag first heard 'em, we wanted to know, too. So, we asked. —Nathan Myers

SURFING MAGAZINE: How did you guys all come together? BRANDON YOUNG: The second song on the new album, "Trashcans," is actually about how we got together as a band. About four years ago, I was in downtown San Diego getting a pack of smokes at 2:30 in the morning and I see this guy playing guitar in the trolley station. A lot of homeless people play guitars down there, but this guy actually sounded pretty good. So, I walked over there and this kid — Matt [Vasquez], our singer — was jamming. I got his number and then the band that me and John were in broke up, so I called Matt, the guy I just met on the train tracks. He'd just recorded a solo record and he was like, f–k it, I'm throwing this away and playing with you guys.

How would you describe your sound to someone who's never heard you before? We're heavily influenced by a lot of old soul and Americana music. We're probably going to have to pay royalties to Richard {{{Swift}}}, this amazing artist and friend of ours, 'cause it's pretty questionable as to if we're ripping him off or not. He's absolutely genius.

Aside from the Swift rip-offs, where do most of your songs come from? I guess our biggest inspiration is just hanging out and jamming. We'll go out to a bar and hang out, then come back to our studio and start trading off on the drums and stuff. We don't sit down and write, it all comes from jam sessions. It starts with a cool lick or a couple chords, and then the lyrics of the song come from Matt or Kelly [Winrich, keyboards].

What sorta stuff do they write about? Well, the song Ode to Sunshine is about the struggle of making this record, everything that was going on through our lives, from drinking to girls to god, just thrown it into this one melting pot. We write about some serious issues, because that's more important to us than just getting up there and getting hammered or whatever. Not to say we don't do that sometimes, too.

What's been the biggest highlight for the band, so far? When we started playing together, it was just jamming and playing some songs together. After the first or second show, we went back to our practice space and said, "Do we want to do this?" And we all said, "Yeah, let's do it." We literally just quit everything else — all our jobs and everything — and just started making music. Just knowing that we all really wanted to do this, that was huge.

Recorded live in a remote mountain cabin, Delta Spirit's first full-length album captures their full range of raw, live exuberance in sweeping Americana odes to drinking, girls, god and everything else all boiled together in a simmering stew of soul-soaked blues.