The Delta Saints might be a band based out of Nashville, but rather than going the country route, their flavor is filled with a lot of soul and bluesy vibes. Their latest album, “Bones,” which dropped in August of this year is a testament and continuation of that sound.
During the summer, I was able to correspond with the lead singer, Ben Ringel, via email for a short Q&A regarding their new music, the process of making their latest album and how Nashville has influenced their art.
First off, do you mind introducing yourselves and your role in the band?
My name is Ben Ringel, and I am the lead singer of The Delta Saints. The other fella’s are David Supica (Bass), Willy Burns (Keys/Organ/Synths), Dylan Fitch (Lead Guitar) and Vincent Williams (Drums)
You all met in college – can you tell me a little more about that and how you decided you wanted to do this for a living?
This band has just been an evolving experiment. We didn’t really have a plan when we first started. We weren’t thinking that it would become a career. Hell, we weren’t thinking about anything other than just drinking beer and playing music in David’s apartment at that time. When we graduated college, the band had grown to a point where we could approach it in more of a full-time way. It definitely evolved into a career over time.
Being a Nashville-based band, how would you say that the city has influenced your musical style or the kind of work that you produce?
Nashville is a great city but it’s brutal to be a musician in. Because there’s so much talent, you have to bring your A-game every time you play, which was a great lesson to learn. It’s literally a trial by fire. I think that Nashville really made us focus on our craft, and on being better musicians. Being surrounded by people who are better at your craft than you are really pushes you to become better. I think more than any actual musical influence, Nashville has really effected us in that way. Also, Nashville has had a killer rock scene for a long time, and was relatively unnoticed until the last few years.
What was it like working with Eddie Spear of Third Man Records fame?
We are incredibly lucky to call Eddie a good friend. Ed is one of the most talented individuals that any of us have ever met, and is like a 6th member of the band. He dug into the meat of each song, while also being able to keep an eye on the bigger picture of the album as a whole. He would also travel down the rabbit holes with us, searching for crazy sounds and helping us flush out ideas. The guy is a beast.
How would you say your latest record, “Bones,” is different from what you’ve done in the past?
Pretty much the whole process was different. We did most of the actual song writing while in the studio, which really helped keep us out of our old patterns. It was all about this “in the moment” creativity. Eddie was crucial in making us develop a new bag of tricks, which is one of the main reasons this record is such an evolution for us. We really dissected the music that we were making, and rebuilt it into something that I think is more relevant and modern. That was one of the main points that we wanted to achieve with this record, to make it modern and more along the lines of music that we are listening to now.
What was the process like of working on your latest album?
It was incredible and terrifying. Again, being forced out of your old habits is uncomfortable, and then being too to develop new habits on the spot is jarring. I really think that we came out of this record being much better musicians and better songwriters. In the past, we would have written the songs, played them live for a year or so, and then gone in and recorded them. With this record, some of the tracks that you are hearing, are literally the first time that we ever played/sang these songs. It was an absolutely incredible experience, that we’re all excited to do again.
From the tour dates on your website, it looks like you are quite the world travelers. What have those shows been like? Are there any stand-out moments for you?
We’ve had some amazing experiences over the past eight years of touring. The shows are kind of all over the place. Last night we played in front of 15,000 people at a festival in Nashville, whereas last month we played to 100 in NYC (Editor’s Note: in August). It really depends on the city. Europe has been pretty incredible. Getting to play inside buildings that are 700 years old is always a very humbling experience. It really is a romantic experience to hear your guitar echo off of old stone walls that have seen so much.
What have you learned now that you wish you would’ve known when you guys first started out?
Get an expensive lawyer. That’s just general knowledge. Contracts can be tricky and having someone who actually speaks the language is worth more than what you’re going to have to pay them. Also, touring is 10% performing and 90% sitting in a van. Make sure that everyone gets along during the 90% or the 10% is going to suffer.
If someone has never listened to your music or doesn’t know what you’re all about…What song would you have them listen to that best depicts you guys as a band and sums up your sound?
I’d have them listen to “Bones,” which is the title track off of our new record. I think it represents what we’re doing pretty well.
What are a few things you guys still hope to accomplish as a band?
I think we’re just focused on growth as a larger idea. We want to be able to look back one year from any given point and see growth. That’s always been an idea that we’ve had (since we decided to actually get serious about this). We’ve been able to judge our success by the hotels that we stay in. Last year it was La Quinta. This year it’s mostly Hampton Inn’s. I think we’re doing okay.
The guys are also currently on tour. Catch them at one of their stops!
Nov. 17 Espacio Vias — Leon, Spain
Nov. 18 Porta Caeli — Valladodid, Spain
Nov. 19 Sala Caracol —- Madrid, Spain
Nov. 20 Sala Garaje Beat Club —- Estepona, Spain
Nov. 21 Music Hall —– Bareclona, Spain
Nov. 22 Rock City —— Valencia, Spain
Dec. 3 The Bottleneck —— Lawrence, KS
Dec. 4 Rose Music Hall ——- Columbia, MO
Dec. 5 Duck Room at Blueberry Hill —– St. Louis, MO
Dec. 7 Zydeco ——- Birmingham, AL
Dec. 8 Aisle 5 —— Atlanta, GA
Dec. 9 Jack Rabbits —— Jacksonville, FL
Dec. 10 Local 662 —– St. Petersburg, FL
Dec. 11 BackBooth —— Orlando, FL
Dec. 12 Vinyl Music Hall —— Pensacola, FL
Dec. 31 Marathon Music Works —– Nashville, TN