Ende letzten Jahres bin ich zufällig über Del Bel gestolpert. Die Band aus Toronto in Kanada macht laut eigenen Aussagen cinematic/ film score with vocals und trifft damit den Nagel auf den Kopf. Ich stelle mir ihre Musik immer als Soundtrack vor. Als Soundtrack für den nächsten Bond, für einen Film Noir, für das eigene Leben. Für das eigene Leben allerdings nur, wenn man in einem Anzug oder einem Cocktailkleid an der Bar sitzt, einen Drink genießt und die zwielichtigen Gestalten im Schatten beobachtet.
Ich kontaktierte den Kopf der Band Tyler Belluz und vereinbarte ein kurzes Interview mit ihm. Das Interview kommt diesmal ohne Übersetzung, da mir dafür im Moment schlicht die Zeit fehlt.
Hey Tyler! Thanks for having this interview and congrats on the release of your new record. As the story goes, the band came together for a B-movie project. Can you tell us a bit more about this story?
At the time both my college roommates moved to LA to pursue editing careers within film and television. Even to this day they are still pitching Del Bel to films, but one of the projects they were working on really liked my style and asked if we could the official film composer for their project. Even though at the time Del Bel hadn’t recorded a note I thought this would be a great push for new music to come out of my head and at the same time partially fund an album. So I immediately agreed and started to read the script.
It was definitely a bizarre movie but I think the overall vibe was something I could enhance with music. But instead of watching scenes of the movie and creating music to the actually flow of actors movements and vocal cadences, the director of the film gave me still shots, and that’s what I ended up using for creating an entire song. This process was completely new to me but I loved the challenge.
Beyond these songs I essentially contacted this new singer that I got along with and asked if she would be interested in singing, and eventually I roped Lisa to stay with this project and we perform these songs live.
So the birth of your band set the course for your sound. It’s very cinematic and I can imagine Del Bel playing in a mysterious and smoky bar getting all the attention of the audience and the main character. Did you ever thought about taking another direction?
In all honesty I never really chose a direction for the band. Given that moment in my life everything that I was writing was very natural and easy to write. I think if the song writing process becomes challenging or hard, it might be because it’s being forced. Similar to writing the music, our rehearsals and performances also reflect this loose vibe. Musically it may sound extremely serious and strict but I think all the members of the band don’t feel that way when we perform the songs live.
Do you think you write unconventional music?
I don’t think I write unconventional music because there are many amazing bands in Canada more or less writing similar style of music. I think we are just a product of our peers. Bands of note are Her Harbour, Scattered Clouds, Timber Timbre, Doomsquad, The Luyas, all of which are from the same province.
What happens if you get this phone call: „Hi, my name is Craig, Daniel Craig.“
If I got that phone call I think I can stop living cheque to cheque!
Apropos Bond: I read an interview in which you said “I shamelessly watch an incredible amount of bad horror and thriller movies.” What are your favorite movies and do you have some insiders‘ tips?
Of course I watch all the classic film noir, horror and thrillers, (Touch of Evil, Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown etc) but at the moment I love passing the time watching nameless films on netflix or buying those 100 horror movie packages. For whatever reason I’m completely drawn to vibe and aesthetics captured in these styles of film. It’s more the feeling that these films emanate within myself that could eventually lead me to writing music.
You said you watch nameless films on Netflix. How would you gauge the importance the Internet has had on culture in general in the last let’s say 20 years?
I think it’s both positive and negative that we literally have anything we want to learn, watch or read at the ends of our finger tips. I think this is leading us to less mystery in our lives, however on the other spectrum this fulfils my wants and needs to constantly learn. That being said, if there wasn’t the internet I wouldn’t have stayed in contact with my old roommates, to which led me to the B movie that started this band. This is a hard question to fully answer!
Do you think it would be easier for a band like Del Bel if you started 20 years ago?
Yes and no. Yes, it would have been easier because the music scene in Toronto/ Canada is completely saturated. You cannot just book a show without looking up other venue’s schedule to make sure you have the least amount of competition. Also I think that Del Bel would have stood out give the Canadian musical landscape in the early 90s.
No, because there wouldn’t have been a viable „market“ for us to thrive in. We are greatly appreciative towards all the government assisted grants that help bands that aren’t selling billboard charting albums to write, record and manufacture records. The internet broke the way bands sold their merch, however new avenues have been opened by being able to connect and sell albums as far away as Japan while sitting in front of a computer, or talk to a music supervisor in placing your music with a particular film director/ tv show etc.
It’s not all bad today but I think it’s a lot harder for a small band to strive and make a complete living off of selling albums alone. Again, great question, I could go on forever here!
How do you recreate your songs on stage? Are there around a dozen musicians on stage?
Recreating what we have recorded is quite easy. I purposely do not make a „wall of sound“ approach to recording because I feel that an live band should be able to recreate 95% of what you sound like on an album. Everyone is Del Bel are great musicians that have never had issues performing their recorded parts.
Having around a dozen musicians makes it harder to control the thick sound, but I think we are all capable of being tasteful and understanding that dynamics and „less is more“ approach helps our live performances. Recently we brought that band down to 6 not because we had live sound issues, but touring with over 2 cars is ridiculous! 2 is almost too much.
Any chance to see you on stage in Europe?
We would love to perform and tour in Europe. At the moment we do not have any plans because logistically and financially it is not viable at the moment. In the event that we are accepted to a great festival, I think at that point we would be looking into plotting a tour surrounding those style of festivals.
What’s next for you?
I do have another album demo’d and I am just waiting to see if we are going to be receiving funding from a government music grant to record the next album. I have zero rush in wanting to get back into the studio mainly because I would like to focus more on the album we just put out. We are currently looking into touring across Canada in a few months and then the summer music festival circuit starts. Beyond that maybe we could start looking into recording some new material.