One of the best things about writing this blog has been discovering bands I may never have discovered without it. My latest favourites are audiodeluxe, a husband/wife duo from near Glasgow who have been making music together since the 1990s, but are a new discovery to me.
Dez and Sammy were kind enough to answer my questions on music and parenthood, and I always find it very inspiring to find a band who are making music just for the love of making music.
Before you read on, why not check out their video for ‘Treasure’ below, listen to some more of their music on Soundcloud, and head over to Bandcamp and buy the 3 EPs they have available (EP3 is my personal favourite).
Were your parents music fans? What influence did they have on your own musical tastes?
- Dez: The least said about the ‘music’ I was subjected to, the better!
- Sammy: I grew up surrounded by music; my dad was a singer-songwriter and he was an avid listener to a huge range of genres. Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeplin and Donovan were staples in my house when I was growing up. As children, my brother and I produced our own little songs that my mum would encourage us to perform. My brother and sister’s musical talent was encouraged by both parents and they are now accomplished artists; my brother makes an excellent living from performing and producing and my sister is a wonderful singer-songwriter.
Did you play any instruments as a kid, or if not, when did you start playing music?
- Dez: I started playing guitar when I was around fifteen/sixteen – the day after seeing the Manic Street Preachers play [mime] ‘You love us’ on Top of the Pops. I bought a Les Paul copy for £10 from a guy at school. All the other instruments I play followed on from the guitar over time.
- Sammy: I played the recorder in primary school and I was pretty adept at the ‘Eastenders’ theme tune! I also had a go at keyboard and drums when I was at high school but quite honestly, the discipline required to stick at any instrument alluded me. I knew I had quite a good voice and it was easy for me to use it so that’s where it all started for me.
You have been writing and performing as audiodeluxe since the late 1990s. Were you in any other bands before that?
- Dez: No, just jamming with friends while learning to play the guitar.
- Sammy: Not unless you include the stuff my brother and I did. It’s the stuff of legend in our family but (perhaps wisely) will never see the light of day.
You were signed to an early internet record label, PeopleSound, back in 2001. Can you tell us a little about that experience?
- Dez: Peoplesound was supposed to be the future model for record labels. They were more like a distributor with an A&R department; you sent them your finished Album/EP and they decided whether it suited their label. Our work did suit and they used the CD we produced as a master. It was reproduced with all the artwork and promoted on their site and to various radio stations around the world – and they took a percentage of the sales. It was a good deal until Sony (if I remember correctly) bought them and pretty much shut them down.
- Sammy: Yeah, I thought that it was a good idea at the time as it suited us to make music as and when we wanted. I got a kick out of seeing our CD for sale.
Have you been writing/recording/performing as audiodeluxe pretty consistently since then, or have there been periods of inactivity? If so, why?
- Dez: We’ve been consistent in our own way as this was never meant to be a career for us. We write songs and play gigs at our leisure and up until our children were born I was in our home studio most nights playing the guitar or making sounds/samples. I would then call Sammy to hear what I’d came up with to see if they inspired her to write lyrics and turn my tunes into proper songs.
- Sammy: Oh, l’m busy with the business of life and the music doesn’t get my full attention unless Dez lures me into the studio with one of his amazing new creations!
You’re a husband and wife duo. How do you feel a creative partnership with your spouse differs from a creative partnership with anyone else?
- Dez: Neither of us has been in a band with anyone else so it’s a hard question to answer. We’ve been together a long time and have similar influences when it comes to music but there’s also enough differing musical tastes to create a bit of friction – which is good because we’re not fans of overly happy music.
- Sammy: We were creative partners long before we were married so I don’t necessarily think that’s a massive thing to consider. That said, I honestly couldn’t work with someone on something as important as this unless they totally ‘got me’. We argue a lot about the music and I think you can hear that spark when we perform.
How many children do you have, and what ages are they?
- Dez: We have two: our eldest is three and a half and our youngest is five months.
- Sammy: Yep, we have two little babies so it’s not always easy to find the time for making music. That said, I am always singing and making up little songs for the children. Our eldest is sometimes like, “Mummy, stop singing pleeease”.
Do you find it hard to find the time to devote to your music since becoming parents?
- Dez: Having a five month old means there’s pretty much no time for music at the moment; a situation I was shocked at with our first as it felt like it would never end. But second time round, I realise it’s a brief but all-consuming time that you should just settle into and try to enjoy.
- Sammy: Haha, wise words there from Dez! I am going to be a bit hippy here and say that because you give your ‘all’ to your children, it can be quite difficult to have the spiritual and emotional energy to be creative. That and wading your way through baby sick and nappies can hamper one’s artistic tendencies sadly.
Do you feel like the music you make has been influenced at all by becoming parents?
- Dez: Again, I’m not sure. I’m a bit of a musical magpie at the best of times; I’m always listening to music and collecting the ideas I hear and like. If you hear a xylophone (Baby TV’s instrument of choice) crop up in a one of our songs in the near future you’ll know the answer is ‘yes’.
- Sammy: Yeah, but every experience shapes you, doesn’t it? Having the children means that you see the world differently so maybe our music will be less egocentric in future.
You’ve recently gone down the route of releasing your music through Bandcamp and promoting it via blogs and fanzines, what made you decide on that approach?
- Dez: This approach suits us as we can do it at our own pace; we can upload tracks and release EPs as and when we finish them and hopefully this gets our music to the ears of the largest audience possible. Also, since taking this route we’ve found that there’s a lot of music lovers running stations and blogs in the same manner we make music – doing it because they enjoy it and not because it’s a job. Dealing with people like that has been far more pleasant than some of or past experiences.
- Sammy: It gives us a chance to share our stuff with like-minded people. We are not interested in being famous or (gasp!) making money from what we do. Instead, we see it as a life project and a legacy to leave for those who come after us. We are the antidote to the ‘X Factor’ generation.
Beyond the three (excellent!) EPs you currently have available on Bandcamp, do you have more ready for release?
- Dez: We don’t have anything finished at the moment but I do have the majority of two, possibly three, future audiodeluxe tunes waiting for Sammy to write lyrics for.
- Sammy: I am very prolific when I want to be; I just have other priorities at the moment. Music is there for me and not the other way around. I think that a lot of other people would benefit from that mindset to be honest.
What else does the future hold for audiodeluxe?
- Dez: Hopefully, a few gigs to play the songs from our new EP and see how they fair live.
- Sammy: World domination from the comfort of our sofa. 😉
My thanks to Dez and Sammy for sparing the time to answer my questions, hope you enjoy their music as much as I do!