To get an idea of the Delegators' sound, imagine the Supremes moved to Kingston via South London. They've shared bills with reggae legends and acts as diverse as The Pioneers, Dave Barker, Pat Kelly, Doreen Shaffer, The Nextmen, Hepcat and The English Beat. The Delegators kicked off the 2012 International Ska Festival in London with a bang, have performed four times at the Glastonbury Festival (including an opening slot for Lady Gaga!) and featured on Mark Lamarr's 'God's Jukebox' on Radio 2.
We caught up with the band in a traditional East End Pie 'n Mash joint where we chatted about singing bass players, Captain Nemo and Michael Bolton, here's how it went....
Please introduce the band and your music in one sentence….
We play our own blend of rocksteady, 60s ska and soul, with a pinch of Motown.
You’re called The Delegators how did you come about choosing this name?
The name came to us in a vision, sent from fallen Jamaican musical heroes.
How did you all find each other and start the band?
Six years ago, an enlightened little Spanish man came to London with the intention of starting a band that fused reggae and soul. That man has moved on, but his legacy continues!
Where did you record your debut album ‘All Aboard’, what made you choose that studio?
It was recorded at 2 Bit Studios in Deptford, London, and Studio Zero, Penge. These studios came recommended, and the personnel involved were all fantastic.
Being a superb throwback album to the early days of two tone, who were/are your influences?
The Delegators have a real mix of influences; from Lester Sterling & The Skatalites to Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, Ken Boothe to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and lots in between.
How and when did you decide that you wanted to be in a band and a performer?
I think I was inspired by watching live performances on Jools Holland when I was younger. I remember being impressed and wanting to mimic what I was seeing.
What does music mean to you?
Music is a unique form of pleasure, for me. Nothing feels like a booming bassline!
You have played live with a variety of musicians, are there any stories that you are able to name drop to the musicmuso readers?
Unfortunately not without getting any of said names into some real trouble!
Being an unsigned band how has Social media aided you with your music?
Social media platforms really have revolutionised how bands are able to spread their music. Through building up a steady online presence, we have been able to get our music distributed to 6 continents, do a telephone interview with a radio station in New Zealand, and reach fans we’d have never made before the ‘revolution’.
In your opinion, what is the BEST album/record ever released?
Either the Stop That Train LP by Keith & Tex, Freedom Sounds In Dub by King Tubby & Soul Syndicate, or The Professionals Meet The Aggrovators at Joe Gibbs. Tough call.
Do you own a record that you wouldn’t like to admit you have?
I think there’s a Michael Bolton album somewhere in the house, but I inherited that from my mum!
Favourite place to Skank?
At the window of the living room
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
Probably Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”. I love the intro to the song; it’s got a great build up. And I love the live rendition where Marvin and one of the band talk out a conversation on the phone, leading up to the start of the tune. Wicked.
There are many good bands and musicians out there, who would you ask the readers of musicmuso to look out for?
Definitely check out Sister Cookie, a wonderful London-based Rhythm & Blues/Soul singer. And as for older artists, I love Sister Rosetta Tharpe - I’ve been watching some of her live videos lately, and she was simply amazing.
What book would you recommend?
George Orwell - 1984
Mark Lamar and Robert Elms have promoted your music, how did they hear about you?
We sent the producer of Mark’s radio show a CD, and we got an invite onto the show for a live session. We stayed in touch with Mark, played on his stage at Latitude Festival, and send him our latest releases. Robert’s producer got in touch with us via twitter, and invited us on for a live session with him.
Who would you like to know has your music on their iPod, MP3 or cassette walkman?
To know our music is on anybody’s playlist feels great, but I guess it would feel extra special to know we were being listened to by Jools Holland, Mark Lamarr, or any musician I’ve ever listened to!
Do you think we can ever live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned?
Never! People are simply too mistrusting of chickens. We can but hope…
Name three people (alive, dead or fictional) that you would like as dinner party guests?
Captain Nemo from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
Lloyd Brevett; the double bassist from The Skatalites and various other rocksteady & ska bands
The late, great, stand-up comedian Richard Prior
What are your plans for the remainder of 2014?
Well, we’ve got a bunch of festival dates around the UK and Europe, and are looking to just play as much as possible to new faces and spread our music.
Whilst Janet was plucking up the courage to eat a jellied eel, we threw in a few quick fire questions....
Coffee or Tea? Tea
Coke or Pepsi? Coke
Drum machine or the real deal? Real deal every time
Mac or PC? Mac
Fry up or Sunday roast? Roast
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)? Lemmy (Gotta love a singing bassist!)
CD or Vinyl? Vinyl
Car or Motorbike? Car
Acoustic or electric? Acoustic
Shower or Bath? Shower
Tattoos or Piercings? Tattoos
Robert De Niro or Al Pacino? De Niro
God or Google? Google
Upcoming Delegators shows:
25th-29th June, Pilton, Somerset @ Glastonbury Festival
Fri 4th July, Oxfordshire @ Cornbury Music Festival
Sat 9th August, Winchester @ BoomTown Fair
Thurs 21st August, Benicassim, Spain @ Rototom Sun splash
Fri 29th August, Melton Mowbray @ The Noels Arms
Sat 30th August, Southampton @ Ska Nation