Midlands based southern rockers The Nile Deltas combine British rock with a distinctly American flavour. Louder Than War caught up with them following the release of their most recent single, Dust Me Down.
Soaking up the influences of their influences, The Nile Deltas have arrived at their own place – a very British rock band with an American flavour, think early Whitesnake with a feathering of The Black Crowes, Free with a faint aroma of Blackberry Smoke.
Vocalist Craig Blencowe soars over a band that are committed to providing just the platform to allow him to do this; serving the song, yet providing an irresistible no frills, larger than life rock ‘n’ roll sound. We caught up with them following the release of their most recent single, Dust Me Down.
Hey guys, thanks for the taking the time to answer our questions, how’s stuff going with you?
It’s all good! With our debut EP launching at the end of last year, this year has been busy, with a lot of interest and opportunities. It’s a case of jumping on and trying to keep up, a lot of fun!
You recently released your new single ‘Dust Me Down’. What have the reactions been like so far?
The reactions have been pretty mind-blowing to be honest, you sort of know in the studio when you’re onto something a bit special, but of course you don’t allow yourself to get carried away. Then when the track comes out and all these great reviews come in it’s a very proud moment, it goes a long way to validate the thing you’re pouring your heart and soul into.
Sticking with the track, there’s a deft balance of optimism and despondency within its narrative, with the latter definitely winning out. Was this your intention? What’s the actual story behind the track?
It’s really a story of the nature of addiction and in particular the impact addiction has on those closest to you. Setbacks, feelings of hopelessness and in some cases sheer resignation of the inevitability of it. Hopefully it may inspire a greater understanding of the nature of addiction, it’s complex psychology! And most of us experience it in some form or other in our lifetimes.
For a band from the UK, there’s a definite flavour of Southern Rock about The Nile Deltas. Was this intentional or did it happen organically?
A bit of both really! As a band our collective influences certainly contain a lot of Southern Rock, but it’s the music that lights us up! We’ve stood and watched The Black Crowes for instance in 2006, or Blackberry Smoke and they’ve just got this incredible flexing of musicianship in their live shows, a road-dog ‘nothing phases them’ demeanour and just the sheer craftsmanship, exploring their own songs on the fly and developing them to reward both themselves and their fans. We may not write songs about a southern way of life, it just wouldn’t be authentic to do so, but we certainly aspire to be a band that can buzz on a collective musicianship, developing our live set as a musical journey.
Similarly, has the American aesthetic ever posed any problems when it’s come to winning over new fans in the UK? Or do you find new fans generally already have an interest in bands such as Lynard Skynard or Blackberry Smoke?
Southern Rock is very popular right now in the UK, and I think as long as you don’t try and pretend you grew up on the banks of the Mississippi, or write in a contrived way, music fans will always appreciate a band believing thoroughly in what they do and delivering it with honesty and integrity.
There’s also an organic feeling to the composition of Dust Me Down, and indeed the EP it’s taken from, harking back to the traditional ‘jam session’ approach to song-writing. Is this how you create your music, and if so, was this an intentional approach?
We’re getting there! Certainly the debut EP was steered heavily by Tom’s (guitar) studio, The Blue Room. It’s a very relaxed vibe in there, so songs were written and evolved very naturally in a really comfortable environment. The debut EP releasing of course gets us out playing live a lot more, so the aim is to have more of a jam band approach in the future, with songs being developed in the rehearsal room and on the road. The process allows you to go ‘places’ as a band that you don’t find easily in the studio, the audience or the live vibe for instance can take a song where it wants to go, you don’t get much say in it sometimes, which is a load of fun!
You’re about to set out on a run of dates next month, culminating in Ascension Festival in South Wales. What should those of us who’ve never seen you before expect from the live shows?
Well … we’re a big band, so expect a full sound! With two guitars and a Hammond organ it’s an old school rock ‘n’ roll approach, but we’re very ‘song focussed’, so we’re quite a disciplined band musically. Craig has a big voice! He’s a very soulful rock ‘n’ roll singer, and we have experience on our side to give him the space to sit on top of it all. Like Keef said, you gotta leave some white on the canvas.
Finally, what are the band’s plans for the rest of 2019?
We’re hoping to pull in some more live dates, I’m not sure we’ve quite got the fanbase to do this on our own just yet, we’ve had some fabulous support from a very friendly UK rock scene, RHR (Redfurn, Hutchinson & Ross) for instance, have taken us under their wing for a run of dates in May. And we’re also hoping to get back to Rockfield Studios to record some new material. We’re still reeling a little bit financially to be honest, from the whole debut EP process, it’s a tough old business these days! But every CD sold and every Shirt bought off the merch stand all helps to put some money back into the band’s funds and make the next step more viable. We can’t thank everyone enough for their support to be honest, the UK rock music fans get it! And they’re so supportive of a lot of the NWOCR bands.