FIVE FAVOURITES: Delhia de France

Crafting a solo career between Berlin and L.A over the past two years, Producer and songwriter Delhia de France has been busy re-working a track from German producer Robot Koch’s latest album, The Next Billion Years. She takes Koch’s concept of sound-tracking the far distant future of earth on ‘All Forms Are Unstable’ and gives it an alt-pop twist, breathing new life in to the instrumental piece with her soft vocals and shimmering electronics.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Delhia to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that inspired her song-writing techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to listen to her cover of ‘All Forms Are Unstable’ at the end of this post.

1. Massive Attack – ‘Paradise Circus’
‘Paradise Circus’ has a certain melancholic lightness to it that I really like. Massive Attack have been consistently bending genres and been a huge influence of mine since forever. Their latest project Eutopia with Young Fathers is as brilliant as it is important. The tracks are layered over with speeches and lectures by prominent educational figures demanding justice, equality, sustainability. Goosebumps education.

2. Fever Ray – ‘I’m Not Done’
This whole album is one of my all time fives. I will never get tired diving into these eerie synth baths that have a very artificial sound yet and incredibly warm vibe. It really is an album of light and dark and to create opposites so each side can shine is something that I picked up from Karin Dreijer’s productions.

3. Rosalia – ‘A Palé’
I love how the track begins with this soothing melody and then takes a totally different turn. It’s incredible how she fuses traditional flamenco with modern sounds. I love all the space in between and her voice effortlessly pouring over it like a waterfall.

4. Thom Yorke – ‘Skip Divided’
Radiohead had always been a massive influence to me and Thom Yorke with his extraordinary fragile voice throwing words at you like daggers. He has a special way of writing melodies that uniquely beautiful. How he marries the piano with these textured organic sounds has been, I’ve always been fascinated.

5. The Knife – ‘Silent Shout’
Again Karin Dreijer, this time with her brother Olof. The whole Silent Shout album has been an eye-opener to me, these simple melodies and her bone-shaking voice combined with glowing and sawing synths are so far opposite of my usual sound yet so captivating and just plain beautiful in this genius simplicity.

Thanks to Delhia de France for sharing her favourites with us.
Listen to her cover of ‘All Forms Are Unstable’ below.

Photo Credit: Alix Spence

Video Premiere: Tribes Of Europe & Barbara Stretch – ‘The House You Built For Us’

Having previously garnered support from the likes of BBC 6Music, BBC Wales and Amazing Radio, Tribes Of Europe have returned with an energising new single to lift our spirits. The alter-ego of Fenland-based Martin Elsey, for this current project he is joined by musicians Andy Gangadeen (Massive Attack, Chase & Status, Jeff Beck) and Chris Taylor (Poison Girls), as well as the distinctive soulful vocals of jazz-punk icon Barbara Stretch.

Oozing an instantly infectious Northern Soul-infused groove and a vibrant uplifting spirit, ‘The House You Built For Us’ confronts the patriarchy with a colourful force. Propelled by the luscious, silky smooth allure of Stretch’s vocals alongside whirring keys and the sunny sway of a big band musicality, the track also features Ely Fallen Angels choir, adding a gospel-tinged euphoric energy. A perfect dose of empowering sparkling joy that we need now more than ever.

Of the track, Elsey explains:

“It seems there have always been a few men who have lusted after power and wealth, and there’s been a much larger group of men that have revered and followed them. In the process we screw the planet over and the poor get poorer, and with globalisation it’s gone into freefall. If we want to survive then society has to evolve. Men need feminism. We all need feminism. No question.”

Made in collaboration with Cambridge sound and vision artist, Jellica, watch the new, Ceefax-inspired, video to ‘The House You Built For Us’ now:

Mari Lane
@marimindles

PLAYLIST: Love & Solidarity

It’s safe to say, each and every one of us right now is going through a hard time; a scary, strange time filled with uncertainty and fear. A time when feelings of anxiety are heightened and we need to seek refuge in our favourite music more than ever.

So, we wanted to put together a few tunes to soothe the soul; to calm and to motivate. Some music to aid positive thoughts and relaxation, and taking time for yourself to switch off and de-stress is so essential right now. Take a deep breath, unwind, and let us send you all a big dose of love and solidarity as you hit play and follow this playlist.. (link below)

Le Tigre – ‘Eau D’Bedroom Dancing’
Because I need Kathleen’s voice more than ever right now. This chilled number from one of my favourite albums, Le Tigre’s Deceptacon, just oozes so much twinkling heartfelt emotion from Hanna that my heart bursts a little more on each listen. Also, we will all no doubt be doing plenty of ‘Bedroom Dancing’ over the next few weeks/months…(Mari Lane)

Noga Erez – ‘Global Fear’
I listened to this track at least once a day on my commute to work pre-pandemic because, despite its melancholy context, I find it really relaxing. I’m a big fan of Noga Erez anyway, but I find her music extra impressive at a time like this, because it makes me feel both alienated and connected at the same time. She’s set to release her second album at some point this year, and that’s a small thing I’m holding on to. (Kate Crudgington)

Nilüfer Yanya – ‘Tears’
One of my favourite tracks from Nilüfer Yanya, and a slight move away from her guitar heavy tunes, ‘Tears’ captures you and takes you along with its bouncing beats and sad reflective lyrics. It’s been great to watch this artist reach the acclaim she so rightly deserves, and it reminds me of a personal highlight seeing her play at Primavera 2019. It was the definition of sun-drenched guitars. (Tash Walker)

Sink Ya Teeth – ‘Breathe’
Taken from their latest album Two, here our favourite Norwich duo create a soothing, sparkling majesty; oozing the soaring, calming vibes that we all need right now, it’s a truly exquisite offering, highlighting that it’s more important than ever now to make time each day to switch off, to simply breathe. And if you do that whilst listening to this euphoric soundscape, I guarantee it’ll make you feel a little better. (ML)

Massive Attack – ‘Safe From Harm’
This Massive Attack tune never fails to calm me down. The snaking bass lines and Shara Nelson’s mesmerising vocals override the threats being explored in the lyrics, making it an oddly soothing listen. (KC)

Portishead – ‘Roads’
Taken from my most listened to album of all time, ‘Roads’ is one of those tracks that never fails to calm me. With a cathartic raw emotion and whirring energy that builds with each throbbing beat, I find something deeply therapeutic about it. It’s the same with the whole of Dummy, but this song is probably just a notch above the rest. Listen, close your eyes and let the impassioned grace of Beth Gibbons’ heartfelt vocals take you down a road of healing. (ML)

Elsa Hewitt – ‘Tiny Dancer’
Whatever your mood, electronic artist & producer Elsa Hewitt has a tune to accompany it. I was so caught up in her live set when she played for us at Notting Hill Arts Club in 2018, I could’ve listened to her mixing and triggering her ambient tunes all night. A perfect distraction in these strange times. (KC)

Amahla – ‘Old Soul’
Hackney-Native Amahla blew us away ‘Old Soul’ at the beginning of 2019 and has just kept getting better. It was a complete pleasure to see her perform for our IWD x Sofar Sounds gig a couple of weeks back. Listening to this song now, it leaves me reflecting on the older generations of our society, who we must all rally around as a community to help support through this uncertain time. (TW)

Babeheaven – ‘Seabird’
A perfectly dreamy accompaniment to gazing out the window at the beautiful blossom and budding dafs swaying in the breeze; a reminder that nature carries on, birds will continue to sing, flowers continue to grow, even when everything else is in disarray. I’ve found it really grounding over the last couple of weeks to focus on this, to seek solace in nature. And the luscious, soulful energy and beautifully rich vocals of ‘Seabird’ couldn’t be more welcome right now. (ML)

Connie Constance – ‘English Rose’
I first heard this cover about a year ago, but it’s really resonating with me at the moment, especially with the moments I go outside. Originally by The Jam, for me Connie Constance’s cover is the soundtrack to my daily stroll, enjoying every second I can of being outside at a time when we really value the things we used to take for granted. (TW)

Christine and the Queens – ‘Mountains (We Met)’
This track has been playing on repeat in my flat over the last couple of weeks, loved so much by my girlfriend who it brings a real sense of calm to. It reminds me of how lucky I am to be in lockdown with my loved ones, and the importance of staying connected week to week. Connected, we are a community, and communities can survive anything with love and solidarity. (TW)

Sharon Van Etten – ‘Beaten Down’
A poignant reflection on “love, patience and empathy”, Sharon Van Etten’s voice smoulders across dark synths, atmospheric keys and sparse echoing beats on this track. “‘Beaten Down’ is about making life-changing choices and remaining strong enough to see them through”, Etten explains. I think it’s okay to admit that the current situation has beaten most of us down, but I think you’ll be surprised how resilient you can be in the face of adversity too.
(KC)

Rilo Kiley – ‘A Better Son/Daughter’
With its twinkling emotion strewn splendour and heartbreakingly raw honesty, this is my go-to cathartic motivational soundtrack in life generally, but in the last couple of weeks I’ve pretty much been listening to Rilo Kiley on a loop. And I feel like this song in particular, with its impassioned and relatable lyricism, is a pretty spot on mantra of hope for getting through these strange times: “… You’ll fight it, and you’ll make it through… You’ll be awake, you’ll be alert // You’ll be positive though it hurts // And you’ll laugh and embrace all your friends…” (ML)

Mazzy Star – ‘Fade Into You’
One of the most beautiful and touching songs, from ’90s slow-core band Mazzy Star. ‘Fade Into You’ is so slow, considered and full of emotion, it’s hard not to get completely mesmerised by it. Escapism at its best. (TW)

Wolf Alice – ‘Blush’
I can’t listen to a Wolf Alice track without experiencing a flood of emotion. Most of the time it’s a giddy feeling that makes me want to stomp about and sing Ellie Rowsell’s lyrics really loudly; but with ‘Blush’, I always get a bit choked. It’s such a soft, romantic, sentimental tune. I’m looking forward to singing “Punch drunk, dumb struck, pot luck, happy happy” into my sisters’ faces again when all this blows over. (KC)

Kate Tempest – ‘People’s Faces’
There is so much that is so perfectly poignant in this song – the glaringly honest and completely relevant social commentary showcases Tempest’s unique poetic skill at creating relevant and hugely emotive social narratives. But a subtle glimmer of hope also shines through; the comfort we gain from those we love, and the comfort we can offer them just by being there (even over a Zoom or Skype meet!). So, even when it feels like the world is ending, we can still find happiness in each other: “… then we smile at all our friends… Even when I’m weak and I’m breaking… I can see your faces. There is so much peace to be found in people’s faces.” (ML)

FIVE FAVOURITES: Sarasara

One Little Indian Records signee Sarasara is set to release her second album Orgone on the 5th of July which she co-produced with Liam Howe of label-mates Sneaker Pimps (Nülifer Yanya, FKA Twigs, Tom Vek, Lana Del Rey) and it looks set to be a versatile, experimental delight.

Sung mostly in French and dealing with themes of suicidal thoughts, existentialism and meditation, Sarasara moved from Paris to Margate at the beginning of 2018 to write her new record, which features collaborative tracks with Peter Doherty of The Libertines. We caught up with Sarasara ahead of her headline show at St Pancras Old Church on Thursday 4th July (tickets here) to talk about her “Five Favourite” albums – five albums that have influenced her songwriting techniques. Check out her choices below…

1. Malik Djoudi – Cinema
I’ve discovered Malik’s music recently when he played with me in New York at France Rocks festival, the very first show of my Orgone tour. I fell in love instantly, his live show was so good and his songs so catchy. Me and my team are currently touring in Asia and Europe and we’ve been listening to him like crazy people. His definitely part of our tour playlist.

2. ASAP ROCKY – Testing
I love a bit of American rap & hip hop sometimes. I think this one is a bit of a UFO, I look forward to it every-time I listen to Testing, the album, I love the vibe, it takes you back to America. I would love to work on a rap project at some point, I have absolutely no idea how, but I love the idea of a new challenge, it’s exciting.

3. Tricky – False Idols
I’ve always been a fan of Massive Attack, Tricky solo projects included, and it is an absolute honour to have had my production sound compared to his, but it was never my plan when I started to write music. Lately, I’ve been thinking there’s probably something for me to learn from this because it keeps coming up, and I’ve been digging into his old albums again. False Idols and Adrian Thaws are two masterpiece albums for me. ‘Parenthesis’ is one of my favorite songs ever.

4. Garbage – Garbage
I’ve been listening to Garbage since I was a teenager. I discovered them when I was maybe 12, 13 years old, via Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, Shirley Manson was playing a gig at the Bronze, which is the music venue where the Scooby gang goes every night. It made me want to dig into their music. Then I discovered Garbage and Garbage 2.0 which are two brilliant albums. At that time for me, Shirley Manson was really impressive and I was seeing her as a role model, a powerful front woman, a rebel. She was singing boldly, screaming stuff like “Make the beat go harder”, wearing crazy outfits in crazy music videos. That’s what I was feeling like at that time, rebel and raw. I remember I got kicked out of school for several days because I arrived there one day with bright pink hair, nose piercing and massive boots, I just wanted to look like her but teachers thought it was “a bit much” . Anyway, I heard the song ‘Milk’ several times randomly while on tour, so I’m listening to the album G again.

5. MONOLOC – Drought
I’ve got a thing for dark techno. I’ve been following Sascha since his debut on Chris Liebing Recordings. I love his way of incorporating techno music and his aesthetics. I can feel soul in his productions, there’s the dark and raw side, but there’s also always a touch of gentleness somehow. I love the combination of both. I think he definitely stands out from the crowd. I am really honoured and proud that he remixed my single ‘Blood Brothers’, first extract of my upcoming album Orgone, the result is stunning. I can’t wait for it to be released.

Thanks to Sarasara for sharing her choices with us. Follow her on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut