Delirious Over Deliriou5?

by Bruce Adolph, courtesy of %%Christian Musician%%

Something is happening, there is a stirring up of sorts. Have you ever felt that maybe you've been given a glimpse of something to come and it's bigger than what you can explain? You get all excited about it and have to tell someone else because it's just bubbling in you. You say to yourself, "man, I see something BIG coming." That's how we feel about {{Deliriou5?}}.

We first heard about the band when we were talking to Chris Hauser (former Warner Alliance Records executive type) and he asked "Have you heard Delirious yet (over the phone you can't tell that they spell their name in a peculiar fashion)? If you haven't, you've got to check them out. They are fantastic!" Clue number one. When a record label friend tells you how good a band is on another record company's label (in this case, Sparrow Records), you listen. So we call up another friend of ours at Sparrow and he tells us "I hear the lyrics and I just weep, they are that good. The music has a U2 flavor to it. Top quality. But the words are powerful." So we say send us whatever you've got on the band ASAP.

A packet shows up and we get press clippings on the revival that is starting to shake the British youth and {{Deliriou5?}} is right at the epicenter of it. Five years ago along the south coast of England the guys from {{Deliriou5?}} started to play at an informal youth meeting called "Cutting Edge" at Arun Community Church. Putting a contemporary sound to the worship music struck a deep chord in the youth and soon the weekly meetings popularity grew dramatically (Sparrow has released ==The Cutting Edge==, which is songs from the meetings). Something big was beginning to stir.

The band records their latest album, ==King Of Fools==, and it appears that God is stepping in their boat. They self-distribute the record (the music is really good and comes from a heartfelt love for God) and secular airplay starts to happen. They work hard at self-promoting their concerts and the audience (who is a good mix of Christians and non-Christians) start to respond. Over time the band has three hit singles, secular and Christian record stores are carrying the album and their concerts are drawing 2,000 to 3,000 people in cities around the UK. MTV Europe picks up their video and it starts getting into heavy rotation and then their second video does the same. The band's record sales are climbing into Britain's top 20; but something that was there at the humble beginnings now starts to snowball. The people at their concerts are authentically being touched. Moved to worship, drawn closer to God, salvations, reported healings... something is going on bigger than just great music. As Christian musicians, if we can get people to see beyond ourselves and get a glimpse of God, that's something BIG. That is why we are excited about {{Deliriou5?}}. It's more than a Fab Five British invasion, it's something that may be the tip of the iceberg for our nation's youth. It could be something that also changes our music industry in a very profound way. Could it be the early winds of revival?

When you meet the guys from {{Deliriou5?}} you can't help but notice their politeness. Yes they are from England, but despite all of the success and accolades, they are humble guys. They are - for lack of a better word - likable. Here's what we discussed with them:

Christian Musician: When you started with those praise and worship youth meetings, what was your approach to the service?

Stewart Smith (drums): We've been on a journey and things have definitely changed and progressed, but for us, back in the early days, we kept things pretty loose. It was very fluid. We would plan out two songs so we knew how it was going to start, but from then on for two hours we would just play as we felt and move into spontaneous playing into different songs and back out again. We didn't want to put things in a box too much. We wanted to allow ourselves to be pushed to the limits in terms of hearing God and seeing what direction He wanted us to go.

Christian Musician: You've had some interesting experiences playing before large crowds, tell us about the Wembley Stadium event with 50,000 people?

Tim Jupp (keyboards): There has been a tremendous movement back home with the young people. It is not uncommon for thousands of young people to get together for a worship meeting. It's been an exciting time the last couple of years seeing that generation really fired up and having a lot of passion for wanting to worship God. Those big events like the Wembley thing is just a culmination of what's been going on for a year or two.

Christian Musician: From our American viewpoint, the English church seems steeped in tradition and denominationalism, how do you as a band interact with this?

Stuart Garrard (lead guitarist): We've worked right across the board, from the Church of England to charismatic churches to Catholic conferences and we've found that there is very much an openness and a hunger for us to work together. I think that people are noticing the way that God has been working through the music and that they accept us for what we are. One of the marks of what has happened in England is a whole sort of unity thing right across the denominations (especially amongst young people).

Christian Musician: ==King of Fools== is being well received in both secular radio and video, how did this come about?

Stewart Smith (drums): I think for us, what we really wanted to do was not get confined in just the Christian scene. We felt that God has been saying a "fling open the doors and let the music play" sort of thing (to coin a phrase). It became a time for us to put our money where our mouth was. We released some singles which had done really well and we were surprised by that. But what we wanted to do was music for everyone. Our heart is to see kids come off the street and have an encounter with God. What we are trying to do is write songs and play music in a way that is relevant. Music that talks about being honest about the great things of God; also the struggles and some of our observations of life as well. So people can actually relate to this as real, that God actually does affect your life.

We run our own record label in the UK and to get our single out we went through an independent distribution company. It was through that relationship that we got the "pluggers" involved, who plugged the singles to radio and also to shows like MTV etc. It kind of all happened at once.

One thing that is different in England is that the (music) chart position is not based on radio play at all. It's purely on sales, which is different than the US, so we charted the record with out particularly a lot of radio play because of the large fan base we had who bought the record and then the radio picked up on it. We have been getting everyone's name and address from the very first tape we sold five years ago.

Christian Musician: How do you explain your style of music to people?

Martin Smith (vocalist): Power pop for a new generation.

Christian Musician: (laughing) It sounds a lot like a Pepsi commercial.

Martin Smith (vocals): Chunky power pop for a new generation. (the band laughs at his answer). Yes, and you better get that one in the article (more laughing).

Christian Musician: Who is your musical influences past and present?

Stuart Garrard (lead guitarist): Many and various, from U2 (we think they are a great band over the years and very inspirational) to bands from the UK, Radiohead and the Verve.

Christian Musician: You guys are big Hanson fans I hear? (laughing)

Deliriou5? as a group: Who? (laughing) We're into the Spice Girls too (more laughter).

Christian Musician: You're currently reaching Christians and non Christians alike, what is the theme or vision of your music?

Jon Thatcher (bassist): That is the theme really.

Martin Smith (vocals): Taking it wherever it goes.

Stewart Smith (drums): We believe that we will have a world platform. That is what we have faith for.