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A Backstage Interview With Delta Heavy at Portland’s 45 East

Recently Delta Heavy made their way through the Portland snowpocalypse and brought the heat to 45 East. Hailing from London, they brought the trap, dubstep, and drum and bass to the Northwest. After the show, we were able to sit down with Ben Hall and hear his thoughts on creating music.

In the beginning Delta Heavy gave up their social lives, spending their days in music studios. But their hard work finally paid off when they went in for a meeting with some new music that they had created in three days. They were signed after that meeting. When asked what the biggest difference is between being signed and not, Ben explained that these days there doesn’t seem to be much of a different.

“I think record labels are not as important for launching a career anymore. Like the internet, Soundcloud, you can just put your stuff out for free, and if its good enough, it will get reposted and people will share it, and share it and you can get your name out like that. But five, six years ago when we were starting out that whole sharing online thing did not really exist to the point it is now. So having a record label is like someone with a name and ready to give you a vehicle.”

If you have seen any of Delta Heavy’s music videos, you may have noticed how well the movement and music go together. Working with a smaller budget, they realized that animation would be the best way to create videos. They looked for directors by checking online, and speaking to people within the industry.

The videos became the directors’ babies, but Delta Heavy was able to support the directors and help contribute to each other’s success. Ben said all the people they worked with have gone on to bigger things, which is quiet satisfying. When working on the tracks, he said creating unique and unforgettable sounds is important.

“I guess its something that has to have a quality that is a little bit different, has to have something that lingers in your mind, a catchy melody, a vocal that sticks in your head, and a vocal quality that makes you want to listen to it. You know production often helps, but production doesn’t make a track.  … You have to have something that is a bit different about it.”

Playing in different countries around the world allows the opportunity for shows to be unique to the types of audiences as well. There are trends showing that people in America are more likely to bounce from stage to stage at a large festival and check out multiple genres in a night, while in the U.K. they are not. Ben said that when preparing sets for different countries, he sometimes doesn’t know what to expect, but once he has played somewhere he has a good feel for what to deliver.

“Like tonight I will play drum and bass, trap, dubstep, all sorts cause thats what people like here. You play too much of one thing people get bored it seems. In Europe, especially in Czech Republic, they like drum and bass and nothing else. In Australia it is a lot like America, when they like a bit of everything. I think it is just experience and knowing.”

Closing out the main stage at the same time as Adventure Club had Delta Heavy a bit worried this last New Years in Seattle, but they said the love that they experienced that night was on Ben’s list for most memorable moments of their tour.

“Seattle for New Years Eve was amazing. That night was incredible. I couldn’t even see the back of the crowd.”

The love they felt on New Years may have been because of the bigger scene of drum and bass in the Northwest. Ben said he thinks the Northwest (Portland and Seattle) is one of the strongest areas they play in America for drum and bass. He said areas like the Midwest and Florida are more interested in trap and dubstep. In regards to the overall future of EDM, Ben said he hopes its less about massive commercialization.

“I want the top payed less. Vegasization – I just made that word up – where it is all about money, and bottle service, and tables. I got friends that play for the big clubs and they don’t really enjoy it. They get loads of money but they don’t really like it. The crowds are kind of disconnected. They’re not really there to see them its more about spending money, getting bottles. and if everything gets pushed towards that its not going to be atmospheric clubs. So I hope that doesn’t really take over. I know there is always going to be a demand for it. It just needs to stay away from places it shouldn’t be.”

We agree with Ben, and hope the heart of dance music stays about the music and the community. We’re excited that Delta Heavy is focused on creating interesting music and shows cultivated for the different audiences they play for. If you haven’t had the chance to check out Delta Heavy yet be sure to this year. Their energy captivates their crowds. And check out their 2017 Tour Teaser to get you started.


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Important things happen in Pacific Northwest nightlife, and DMNW will send you alerts!

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Important things happen in Pacific Northwest nightlife, and DMNW will send you alerts!