Purveyors of radiant neo-Balearic grooves, oft-trippy layered vocals and just plain good, upbeat tunes, Barcelona's alternative dance sensations Delorean are going to mark their first-ever Australian visit with an appearance at Parklife. And while it's certainly hard to conduct a Delorean interview without a single Back To The Future mention, yours truly manages to do just that, instead opting to concentrate on the music and playing live. Frontman Ekhi Lopetegi sounds both happy and intrigued.
If you look closer, Delorean's story is rather atypical – even for a collective currently calling the sun-kissed Barcelona home. A guitar band when they formed ten years ago in the small Basque town of Zarautz, the four-piece underwent a radical sonic transformation after their first two albums – 2004's self-titled debut and 2006's Into The Plateau. Upon relocating to the Catalan capital, the band have developed their own dance sound and began crafting buoyant, party-ready songs with a distinct Mediterranean flavour.
2009's praised Ayrton Senna EP (named after the late, great Brazilian racer) contained a clutch of life-affirming numbers like Deli and Seasun while this year's ebullient, percussive Subiza likewise basked in warm critical reception and established Delorean as a festival act. So it's perhaps not really that surprising that the combo's first Australian gigs are going to be at Parklife 2010 – the line-up of which decisively outranks last year's diversity-wise (let's face it, where else would you see Delorean perform alongside Missy Elliott, Soulwax and The Dandy Warhols?).
“We're very excited because we've always wanted to come to Australia, and now we're going to play Parklife... I've just checked the line-up again and it seems like a pretty interesting festival, so we really can't wait,” says vocalist/bassist Ekhi. “And we've also heard that it's going to be springtime for you, right?”
“I don't really know the history of Parklife – how many years has it been around for? Just a few?” he wonders again. “I'm opening the website again now... ah, Missy Elliott, of course! That's crazy. Holy Ghost, Memory Tapes, Midnight Juggernauts – all these bands that we're interested in. Is it a massive fest?” he asks. The reply is in the affirmative. “That makes it even more fun!”
Festivals in Australia keep growing every year and are more ubiquitous than ever these days, I interject.
“I think it's happening across the world – outdoor festivals get bigger and bigger,” Ekhi notes. “In Spain, there's lots of shows happening in small clubs, but the big festivals get bigger and there's more of them, too. It's changing in that direction.”
With that in mind, which songs can we expect to go off when Delorean hit the stage?
“We're liking Grow a lot – it's a really good song when everybody goes crazy – and Endless Sunset is a nice song to play... and Stay Close, too,” the singer replies. “We're pretty happy with all of the songs, but Grow is definitely the highlight for me. I think all of the songs work pretty well live.”
Drawing from records as strong as Ayrton Senna and Subiza, the band's setlist promises numerous expected and unexpected delights.
“It's basically two songs from the EP and the rest are from Subiza – Endless Sunset, Stay Close, Real Love, Grow... We'll need to introduce a couple more songs: Come Wander and Internet Desert,” Ekhi shares. “Our setlist is very short right now, so we'll include some other songs. That's basically our live set.”
Having recently toured the US with Sweden's amazing Miike Snow (who killed at Splendour 2010), Delorean – by Ekhi's admission – loved every minute of it.
“It was a really nice experience – we were afraid... well, not afraid, but it was the first time we were opening for a big band, so we didn't really know what to expect,” he recalls. “What we found was that the Miike Snow guys were really cool and friendly, and that made things easy. All the venues and the sound were pretty amazing, we played to lots of people... we haven't had a bad show.
“We formed a good relationship with a band we were opening for, played twenty-four shows with them and honestly, we could have been exhausted and tired, but we weren't. We really like Miike Snow and we have great memories of the tour – it couldn't have been better, everything was perfect. They sound big onstage and they're very good musicians.”
As for Delorean themselves, for an album that sounds like it's been recorded at a Balearic beach party, Subiza was still finalised after a lengthy creative process. “It took us six months to actually write it; then it took us one month and a half to record it and around two weeks to mix it,” Ekhi recounts.
“We didn't use any dance influences – we were paying more attention to musical elements such as vocal sampling, for example. We've arranged all the vocal samples and a lot of the music was built on those; that's something very hip hop or house. We were interested in fuzzy, blurry textures like some surf tones and reverb and we were interested in layered and complex atmospheres, too – blurry sound instead of clear and sharp, with lots of reverb and delay and stuff. Also, we wanted to use elements of electronic production, some strong beats and some very strong bass, like in techno or dubstep.”
And it all sounds great on Subiza. “Oh, I forgot to mention something important – the pianos!” he hastily adds. “We've been digging lots of piano-based house music – that's a very important influence for us, too.”
Aside from remixing exciting acts like The xx, Delorean have collaborated with a fellow Barcelona artist – neo-tropicalia whiz El Guincho (who played Laneway 2009 and is again due in Australia for Meredith). “We asked him to do a remix of one of our tracks, but he didn't have the time because he was very busy with his record,” Ekhi admits.
“But we remixed one of his songs and he released it as a twelve-inch. We actually sampled him – one of his drum breaks – and used that El Guincho sample in one of our songs. I just hope that he won't get mad!” I doubt that, señor.
DELOREAN play Parklife at Birrarung Marr on Saturday October 2. Tickets and info from parklife.com.au. Subiza is out now through Remote Control.