Next Stop: DELTACITY | An Interview
DeltaCity are a Synthwave/Electronic music duo from the U.K consisting of Phil Chrysandrea who oversees the music production and Tony Stavrou on vocals and song writing.
They formed in mid 2017 with their debut album released in July 2018. The music is soaked in a feeling left behind by all the best indulgences of the 80’s, whether it be 80’s music, film scores or computer game soundtracks...they incorporate them all. They like to take the listener on a Journey for sure..so I got in and interviewed the guys on all things city..take a read...
So, tell us the inspiration behind the name ‘Delta City’
Tony: When it came to choosing a name we were trying to pick something that sparked a feeling of nostalgia, something that had an impact on our childhood and also something that just sounded cool. It’s actually from one of our favourite films, Robocop, it’s the name of the utopian city which was designed to replace the crime torn Detroit… Before we settled on this for the name we came up with a few different ideas that linked back to the 80's, some good some not so good but when I ran DeltaCity by Phil it was an instant “Yes!” Unfortunately its also the name of a shopping center in Belgrade which can make googling us a challenge!
What is the creative process like for you guys? On average how long does it take to lay a
Tony: For me personally it can take anywhere from one sitting to 3 weeks to get some lyrics down that I’m happy with, I rarely settle on the the first idea I have when it comes to writing. I write, I re-write and then I start again… I think I’ve probably got a problem.. Ha-ha! I have written songs on an acoustic guitar which Phil will transform into an amazing backing track which I will then record vocals over and then Phil will build the rest of the sounds and riffs from that. But then sometimes he will send me an almost completed track and I’ll write and record from the feeling I get from it or the title he’s given it.
Who are your musical inspirations?
Phil: For myself I’m coming from a hip-hop and underground dance background in music so I loved the 90's urban scene from US hip-hop to UK garage but also loved groups like Depeche Mode and even composers like Hans Zimmer. That gritty 80's synth has always been a love of mine from my first track I ever bought which was Paul Hardcastles '19'
Tony: When I was a kid I was mad on Madonna and Michael Jackson but as my music tastes grew I got into a lot of stuff my brother was listening to at the time as he was a few years older than me, so Depeche Mode, The Cure, OMD, New Order, that sort of stuff. Then through 90's in got heavily into the grunge and indie scene, so my inspirations are probably wider than I realise. But the music that got me into Synthwave was stuff like Gunship, Timecop1983, FM84 and The Midnight who all play a big part in the music we like to make at the moment.
Since the release of ‘Digital Memories’ back in 2018 how do you think your sound has
developed over time?
Phil: I feel the overall production has come a long way since we started. We spend a lot of time researching through You Tube videos to try and get the perfect sound so our music knowledge is constantly growing. With regards to the actual content we try to keep the tracks varied in pace and feel, some dark some upbeat or even inspirational. I personally love the outrun side of Synthwave.
Your newest release ‘Tokyo Recall’ came out in April 2020 and its absolutely fantastic! How
long did it take to pull the album together?
Phil: Digital Memories took about a year but Tokyo Recall was closer to two because being the second album we wanted to up the standard in all aspects of the production, so this took a lot of learning new techniques. It was a lot of late nights and hard work but we loved every second of and plan to do it again and again and again.
If you could open for any Synth musician on the planet who would it be and why?
Tony: Honestly for me I think it would have to be Depeche Mode, I know they are not strictly synth but they are amazing! I saw them live years and years ago in this tiny little venue of just a hundred or so people, I don’t even remember where it was or how I got the tickets but the show was electric! So much energy and Dave Gahan is such a great song writer and an true performer..
Phil: For Myself it would be Gunship, A. Because they have never done a gig and when they do they could probably fill the O2 arena lol and B. Because they started this journey for me.
Video Artwork done by: Genuine Human. Dublin, Ireland
What made the group decide to steer in the Synthwave direction? Was it a genre you’ve
always liked or did you sound just gravitate that way?
Phil: The reason i got into Synthwave was when Tony showed me Gunships Tech Noir video, this video and song blew me away, it made me fall straight back to my childhood and no other music had really done this before. After listening to their first album I was hooked and like johnny 5 would say, “input Stephanie” I just needed to hear more! So I followed the usual rabbit hole of The Midnight (seen them live twice and blew us away!!) Timecop1983, FM-84, Droid Bishop, Sabastian Gampl, Sunglasses Kid.. too many to name.
Tony: I saw Drive like the rest of the universe and thought it was an amazing film but didn’t really know anything about Synthwave. I really got into Electric Youth’s Innerworld album and also started listening to The Chvrches and then one day Spotify suggested I listen to The Midnight and that was that!
Do you guys have Day jobs? I’d say with the music it makes any free moments quite full,
what’s a day off for the band actually like?
Phil: I’m an Area manager for O2 by day. Music as a career has always been a dream of mine but to be honest we do this cause we love it! I do spend time with the family on my days off, I have a beautiful wife and two daughters (reading this back I sound like a proper old man lol) music is my no.1 activity outside of this and we spend most evenings on it in some way shape or form.
Tony: Yeah I’m a carpenter which I still really enjoy most of the time, although working in
construction can take it’s toll on the body after a while so the thought of making music for a living would suit me just fine!… I have a family so it can be a bit of a juggling act between getting together with Phil for studio time, writing songs and making sure my wife and kids remember who I am.
Any gig or event news you can share with us for 2021?
Tony: Unfortunately not at the moment. We’ve not really ventured out into the live side of things yet, we were supposed to be concentrating on getting all that sorted once the album was released back in April but the whole lockdown thing put a stop to that. But we’re hoping that now we’re part of an amazing label called TW1 Records which has some great artists on the roster, maybe there could be room for some joint shows at some point in the not so distant future!
Of your entire musical journey to date what do you think has been your fondest memory?
Tony: I think doing the live stream for Synth vs Covid that was organised by a very talented group called “Obilque” was a high point for me.. Following Morgan Willis’s set will always stand out in my mind..
Phil: There have been just too many when I think back! One was doing a remix competition quite early on for Gunship and although we didn’t win they picked their top 6 remixes and set up a Soundcloud to play them on and we featured on it! As this was the group that started my journey that was really special. Also the Synth vs Covid gig that Tony just mentioned and another is first time Digital Memories got played on BBC introducing, I’m not afraid to say that I shed a happy tear when that happened because I’ve been producing as a hobby most of my life but for the first time I got mainstream radio play, that was special.
If there was 1 thing you would change about the music industry right now what would it be?
Phil: There is a lot going for the music industry at the moment, it’s more accessible than ever to find great artists and actually make music. I would maybe say that there should be an even farer way to distribute money or showcasing new talent as so many artists that are not known are usually 100 x better than some super famous stars. Sometimes it can feel unfair but I think we all have the opportunity now to shape our own destinies. It will always take hard work and dedication, there is no quick and easy way to get there for most I’m afraid!
Tell us about the inspiration behind the artwork and title for ‘Tokyo Recall’
Tony: I think Phil sent me a basic version of the track with the title “Tokyo Dreams” or something. I started playing around with ideas and wanted to write about a feeling of having false memories, about remembering being in Tokyo specifically, remembering peoples faces, remembering living a full life but in reality never actually setting foot on Tokyo soil. Then I started thinking about the film Total Recall and looking up the meaning of that title and things just slowly started to merge together.
It actually ended up being one of those songs that has a life of its own, it kinda wrote itself and I just held the pen.. The artwork was put together by my brother who lives in Canada at the moment. He used to be a freelance illustrator for years but for one reason or another stopped drawing so I think he was really thankful when we asked him to do the Bill Paxton image which was the cover for the Fallen Fighter single and then when we asked him if he wanted to do the album art for Tokyo Recall he jumped at the chance.
The image which set the mood for the cover was taken by a photographer called Steven Roe, I came across him on Instagram and just really loved the feel of his photography. He was kind enough to let us use the image which my brother then went to work on deconstructing and adding his own style and ideas. The Tokyo type is actually hand written by my brother which I really love, I mean I like digital graphics but sometimes hand draw stuff can be really beautiful..
Is there anyone you’re listening to right now you’d love to collaborate with?
Phil: Most of the Top tier acts like Gunship, Michael Oakley and Timecop1983 but it’d also be great to do some collabs with some female singers like Nina, Roxy Drive or Dana Jean Pheonix… We have recently joined forces with TW1 Records which has a great pool of talent like Neon Arcadia, Palm Lakes, XYLE, Xennon, The Motion Epic and Spectral Knight who we actually done a remix for recently featuring some amazing vocals by Alex Dew. There are also others like System Glitch who won the Michael Oakley Comp we entered, or Nightrider and Oblique who performed on the Synth vs Covid with us. We’re basically open to collab or remix with anyone that resonates with us!
(Does that sound to desperate?) Lol
Can you tell us a bit more about any current projects you may have and what we can look
forward to from Delta City in 2021?
Phil: We want to finish this year off with some new music and maybe some more collaborations or remixes. We are already working on new material, we are back working with Matthew Gertz who sings on Shadow Warriors from the album to produce some covers of 80's classics but with that DeltaCity glow! We also want to get some more video content onto our You Tube channel to showcase some of the songs from Tokyo Recall. As for 2021 we really want to get some live shows up and running, this is something that we are both really excited about pursuing!
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