A Conversation w/ Delirious
- Matthew Turner Music and Entertainment Editor
- 2000 28 Nov
Crosswalk.com Music Editor Matt Turner interviewed Martin Smith, lead singer for the British band Delirious.
Matt: What part of Great Britain are you guys from?
Martin: We live on the south coast in a little village called Rustington. Were about an hour and a half south of London.
Matt: Did you guys grow up together or did you come from different towns?
Martin: We all came from different towns around England. But were all living in the same town now, and in the same church and we all love each other very much.
Matt: What does mind the gap mean?
Martin: When you go on the train (underground train) theres a little gap between the platform and the train. So it says, mind the gap so you know not to get your foot stuck down there.
Matt: How long have you guys been together as a band?
Martin: About 5 years.
Matt: What is your take on the explosiveness of worship music in the last few years?
Martin: Its been an amazing time for us in the past few years. We started from very humble beginnings with a youth worship event in our town. Weve now had the privilege of being part of what has now become quite a global move of things changing in worship. I know that many of the songs that have come out of our camp are now being sung in churches all over the world, and its been an amazing thing. Its been a wonderful season, and seeing a generation come together and getting rid of the denominational boundaries and running hand in hand together and getting passionate about God and really cry out for revival.
Matt: You guys have had such an impact on the worship scene. What is your response to someone who thinks worship is too commercialized?
Martin: I think that, yeah, there is a market now developed for people who want to buy worship music and where you have market, of course, people who are running try and supply as much material as they possibly can. But I think America is different from England, and hopefully its a bit more organic in the UK, cause its a smaller country, you cant sell a record unless you affiliate with a big church or a big youth event. It doesnt happen so much. But in America you can be marketed on the strength of your songs without really being part of anything. There is commercialism, but we have to sort the wheat and the chaff.
Matt: Delirious set a standard when it comes to the quality of the worship song. Was there any pressure to create the same quality of album this time?
Martin: More than the pressure, I think its that were always trying to take the cross seriously and take our music seriously and were always trying to improve. A lot of the vision of Delirious is to take the music outside of the church. And when you take it into the mainstream marketplace, a lot of the time its just judged on whether its good music or not and for that reason we want to make the best music we can in order that it can be as good as everything else you hear on the radio.
Matt: Is it different trying to get airplay in Great Britain compared to getting airplay in the United States?
Martin: It can be quite a struggle back here in the UK. Theres also so much stuff, its so competitive. I think in the UK we have about 200 singles released in every week. And a very small number of radio stations and they may be only playing 10 or 20 new records every week. Its very difficult, were making slow but steady progress.
Matt: How has your ministry changed since your introduction into the United States?
Martin: I think one thing that changed for us, not only because of the United States but largely because of it, was the opportunities that were presented with every day become far greater. The need to stay on track and keep on a level and knowing what we should and shouldnt be doing doesnt become any easier as the opportunities become greater.
Matt: Instrumentation seems to have been of major importance on this album. Is this a reflection of where you guys are musically?
Martin: Yeah, totally. We ran the tape a lot while we were in the studio. We had a great time just exploring and playing together, seeing what came out on the moment, and then wed edit bits. There were some pieces that were 25 minutes long and we couldnt put that on the record so we had to edit it seriously. We just enjoyed playing together on the floor in the studio. I think you can hear that in the record, that theres a lot of fun. We were actually enjoying playing a lot.
Matt: Do you guys write everything together or is it just one or two people involved in the writing?
Martin: We write all together.
Matt: What do you guys think that it takes to write a good worship song?
Martin: I think it needs to be something that people can identify with lyrically. They need to feel like they own the song and feel like they need to like to sing it or want to sing it. And of course it needs an easy melody for them to pick up after hearing it a couple of times and singing it with a congregation. Those are the keys really, and I think that long-term songs that stay around should reflect the principles of God and Scripture and all those sorts of things and the heart of God too. I think theyre the ingredients, really.
Matt: Where were you guys spiritually when you wrote I Could Sing of Your Love Forever? Did you know it was going to be a hit?
Martin: We were on holiday when it was written so ... no, I dont think we ever thought about, This is going to be a Christian hit. It was just, let do this at church next Sunday. And then five years later its being sung all around the world. Im glad that you dont know at the time because it would be incredible pressure.
Matt: Are you guys married? Do you have kids?
Martin: All of us are married and there are quite a few children between us. Everybody has children, apart from John, whos due his first in January.
Matt: Have you guys heard the new U2 album? What do you think?
Martin: Yes. I think there are half a dozen songs which are spectacular on there.
Matt: What are you guys listening to now?
Martin: U2 and the new Radio Head album. And Ive been listening to a band called Cold Play, dont know if theyre making an entrance into America yet.
Matt: Do you like the road that Christian music is taking? Do you think that its getting better? Do you listen to Christian music?
Martin: I think it is getting better. I think that Gods doing something great with the young generation. I think that there are loads of bands out there that I would say are as good as anything youll hear out there.
Matt: Do you guys have any influence or impact in any other countries other than the United States and United Kingdom?
Martin: Yes, in fact our records are distributed in 65 other territories around the world outside of the U.S. and U.K. Our main focus is primarily the U.K., particularly with the one foot weve had in the door with the mainstream stuff. Outside of the U.K. we have to share our time over so many different countries. I think next year were in South America, South Africa, Singapore, Malaga, Australia, New Zealand, many European countries, along with the U.S. I know that we dont tour as much in the U.S. as many other U.S. bands do but were still pretty busy.
Matt: Are you guys coming back to the U.S. anytime soon?
Martin: The next time in the U.S. will be in April of next year, between three weeks of dates. The best thing to do would be to check out our Web site and see if we have any tour dates, even all over the world. Thats www.Delirious.co.uk
Matt: What does a normal week look like for you guys? Do you have other jobs? Or are you full-time musicians and worship leaders?
Martin: Were pretty full time. We run a company too, called Furious Records. Were up early every morning and were either rehearsing, recording or away on tour, but we are full on every day.
Matt: What are you guys doing for Christmas?
Martin: We have a couple of weeks off there and we just started making a new record, which well be carrying on in January.
Matt: Do you guys have anything that you would like to add about the new album?
Martin: I think the new album is great, were really proud of it. Weve had great fun playing the songs live, and we think that some of the songs on there will be around awhile. Were really amazed that God graced us with it and helped us, and were really proud of it.
Matt: Who wrote Jesus Blood?
Martin: That was written by Martin, hes written some good songs. Its really just trying to explore that main thing that runs through Christianity, which is the blood of Christ. I think that song captures it well, that Jesus blood will never fail us. Thats something thats not really talked about these days, that we are saved by the blood, not by anything else.
Matt: How does it feel to be in a band that was unheard of five years ago and now is writing songs that are sung in churches across the world?
Martin: Feels great!