AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with THE DELTA SAINTS

Delta Saints photographed by David Bean in Nashville, TN

With their forthcoming album, Monte Vista, Nashville rockers The Delta Saints have stretched their collective creative muscle, pushing the boundaries of all they have done in the past—the harmonica-laden blues that began ten years ago in a one-bedroom college apartment on Music Row has officially morphed into a bona fide, world-touring, rock n’ roll force to be reckoned with. “When we first started, we were a shit-kicking bar band that everyone’s dad liked,” laughs frontman Ben Ringel. “It was cool, I loved certain songs on all of our old records. But we’ve grown as musicians, as consumers, and as listeners. With this album, we decided to write the song first, and then add everything to it, rather than trying to massage all the music into a certain format or sound.”

Monte Vista, set for release on Friday, April 28th, is affectionately named after a particular spot in California, a place that provided inspiration, and the idea of which kept the five piece energized in the midst of the Tennessee winter doldrums. “The album is named after the street that our guitar player Dylan’s grandmother lives on in La Jolla. We wrote it in January and February of last year, and the weather here was really hitting me hard. In a last ditch effort to avoid seasonal depression, I found a webcam streaming live from a beach in La Jolla, close to Dylan’s grandmother’s house,” Ringel explains. “I pulled it up on the computer for days, to get some semblance of sun and decent weather, even if it was on a screen. We were all wishing we were somewhere else with nice weather; we had some writing sessions with the webcam on, and we were like ‘we want to be there, we want that.’ The song “California” worked its way out pretty quickly, it’s about that longing.” The songs on the album run the inspirational gamut, from the contemplative David Bowie tribute of “Space Man,” to the gut-punching groove of stankface-inducing anthem “Sun God,” about the exchange of generational reins of power. “That one was an absolute bitch to write,” laughs Ringel of “Sun God.” “The chorus is the best one we’ve ever written as a band, it’s very 90s rock. The verses, on the other hand, took nine more months. We tried everything, every style, every point of view, it made me rethink what I was even doing—not in a serious way that made me start buying books on accounting, but that song was a hard one.”

Recorded in a six-day whirlwind at legendary Nashville studio Sound Emporium, The Saints pulled 10 to 20 hour days in the studio, tracking almost everything together live, with no time to second guess their instincts. “Some small part of it was unpleasant, especially because I tend to overthink things, but it ended up being an incredible experience,” he says. “If you want perfection, I guess you should listen to modern pop, where everything is quantized. We just play rock n’ roll.” Ringel also reveals that the atmosphere of the legendary studio spaces—where   Alabama Shakes, Jason Isbell, and Sturgill Simpson, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Townes Van Zandt have all recorded—played its own part in the process. “We’re tiny fish in that big pond,” he says. “The ghosts there were very pleasant.”

While the process was trying, the making of Monte Vista has only made the band better. “Everyone’s contributions were more mature than ever; everyone knew when to sit in the pocket, when to whisper, and when to roar. It’s been a continuos struggle, in a good way. Without that, you get complacent,” Ringel continues. “I hope that struggle is always there.”

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