EXCLUSIVE: Delicate Steve Talks About His Psychedelic Guitar Stylings Praised By NPR And Paul Simon

first_imgLive For Live Music: Delicate Steve, are you a delicate man?Delicate Steve: Yes.L4LM: If you had a dime for every time somebody asked you that, would you be a wealthy man? Delicate Steve: Yes!L4LM: Well, now that we have that settled, the first thing that caught my attention when listening to your band, as I’m sure goes for most people, was the absence of lyrical content. Was the decision to be entirely instrumental made intentionally or has singing just never been something that you’ve done? Delicate Steve: I don’t think of myself as a lyricist, so I’m just playing to my strengths as a guitar player who is interested in making songs, writing songs, and producing pop music. I know that I’m good at the guitar, so I decided that that would be the focus of the music instead of trying to write lyrics.L4LM: In regards to that topic, would you say that when you listen to music, you’re more immediately attracted to the beat of a song rather than to the lyrics?Delicate Steve: No, I like lyrics, I would say that’s what I like most. I’m definitely paying attention to singers when I listen to music.L4LM: That’s interesting to me. But you probably wouldn’t say that one is more important than the other, would you? Delicate Steve: No, you just need to have a lot of strong elements in the song and that could come from anywhere. It could be the beat, it could be the melody, it could be the lyrics; but a good song has to have at least one of those things happening.L4LM: When you made the decision to venture off as a predominantly instrumental band, you had to have known that it would be difficult to break into any sort of a mainstream market. Did that notion ever intimidate you? Or was that never a concern of yours?Delicate Steve: Well, I was just making this music in my room, so I wasn’t really thinking of anything external. So this was just sort of what I would do if I was uninhibited by thoughts about where it would end up or how it would do in the world. So that’s how the first album came to be.L4LM: How old were you when you made the first album? Delicate Steve: I think I was 22 or 23.L4LM: So you were just making music to make music, it wasn’t intended for anybody but yourself? Delicate Steve: Not exactly. It was for friends, and it was for bands that I was inspired by.L4LM: Were you playing shows anywhere at that time? Delicate Steve: Not with this music until after it was recorded.L4LM: Once this music was recorded, and you started performing live and writing new music. Did you notice any changes in your creative process as you were probably beginning to take certain external factors into account? Delicate Steve: It’s changed; it’s definitely different now. I take into account where I am, which isn’t just in my bedroom anymore. It’s in the world in some way. I like to be conscious, as much as I can be when I’m making music, so I’m not just thinking about myself.L4LM: Do you think that you’ve ever compromised your creative independence when writing a song in order to guarantee success?  Delicate Steve: No. It’s easier to do whatever you want; it’s harder to make something that you think will be successful. If you’re not bound by that, then you can make anything, and no one is going to yell at you. In some ways, it’s easier to experiment freely than it is to make a pop song. So in some ways, I think it strengthens my creative muscle to try and make music that other people will want to listen to.L4LML: I imagine that many bands who compose songs without lyrics can have a difficult time engaging an audience. I have to say that for myself personally, at the two shows that I attended of yours, the lack of singing went almost entirely unnoticed, and I think that’s because I felt like, in a way, your guitar was doing the singing. Is that a reaction that you often receive?Delicate Steve: Yeah (laughs). I don’t know, I don’t know how it looks to other people, but people do say that.L4LM: Is that a reaction that you try to provoke in people?Delicate Steve: No, I don’t think I need to try so much—that just sort of feels natural for me to do all that stuff when I’m up there playing.L4LM: Do you think you play your guitar differently or more eccentrically than someone who would be singing and playing at the same time? Delicate Steve: I think that I play my guitar differently and more eccentrically than most of the guitar players that I see, if they’re singing or not, just because of how I grew up, and what I think is cool or not cool. I combine all those thoughts in my own head, and I’m kind of doing what I think is really cool and what I’m not seeing a lot of in the world.L4LM: Many musicians use their lyrics to express themselves, whether it be in relation to a personal experience or a more global topic. Is it ever frustrating that you can’t share those opinions or stories with your audience?Delicate Steve: No, I feel like I’m doing that when I’m playing. I think people are getting a sense of who I am through my music, even though it doesn’t have words. It’s just like when people listen to groups from around the world and even though they can’t understand what’s being said, they can still connect to it.L4LM: Are the musicians that accompanied you on your most recent tour considered to be the official band (Max Jaffe, Jon Wiley and Jessica Pavone), or are those members continuously rotating?Delicate Steve: It’s the official band right now. It’s changed over the years, but those who are playing now have hopped on over the past year or so.L4LM: The title of your album, This is Steve, is seemingly blunt. Is the meaning behind that name quite so obvious or is there a bit more of a story behind it? Delicate Steve: I would leave it to the person checking out the music. In one way, it serves as a glimpse into who I am as a person through this music, and I felt like this third album was the time to call an album This is Steve.L4LM: Do you think this album is the most accurate representation of yourself as an artist? Delicate Steve: They’re all different mirrors, but this one was set up in a way that was the most welcoming in some way. L4LM: Any exciting things on the horizon for you and your music? Delicate Steve: I’m just keeping busy all the time in New York—producing bands, working on music with a bunch of different artists, and playing guitar. I just want to be known, so I just want to keep doing my thing, and the world will catch up eventually. Sometimes I get a little impatient, but I also know that I’m doing something special, and that I’m not going to stop anytime soon. So I’ve just got to harness my patience and just keep making music. L4LM: One final question, under what circumstance does Harsh Steve come to town? Delicate Steve: Harsh Steve is always there; he could come out at any minute (laughs). Everyone has got a harsh side, so not more than anybody else do I have one, but I’m definitely capable of those emotions. Steve Marion, better known by his stage name Delicate Steve, is a musician who’s been around the block, performing on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert and having worked with big names like Paul Simon, Tame Impala, Dirty Projectors, and more. However, the eccentric guitarist has been in a state of evolution throughout his career, as evidenced by the musical progression across his albums, with his latest album, This Is Steve, coming out earlier this year. Growing from writing his fully instrumental songs for himself and friends in his bedroom to writing in consideration of the followers he’s been rabidly gaining, Delicate Steve continues onward and upward with guitar-driven, psychedelia-tinged pop rock songs leading the way.Live For Live Music was recently able to chat with the guitarist, who gave us a taste of his musical philosophy, stage personality, and future industry aspirations. Read the interview below, and check out more information about Delicate Steve along with his upcoming tour dates on his website here.last_img

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