What: Delta Spirit
When: 9 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder, 303-443-3399
It’s common for a band’s debut album to be self-titled, but Delta Spirit gave its band name to the third release.
There have been some roster changes over the years, including the recent addition of guitarist Will McLaren, and the group was still feeling around for their defining sound. But with the third record, they were feeling confident and wanted to really own it.
“It was a really great experience. This was a new one for us,” singer, guitarist and songwriter Matt Vasquez said. “I definitely feel like this was something we had to walk through to become a better band and to kind of solidify some things. We closed some doors in our lives and opened some, and I certainly think we’ve opened more than we closed with this one.”
That’s the state of mind, but if you haven’t heard Delta Spirit before, that might not tell you much. The band’s music is usually described as rootsy Americana — a label the members have been perplexed by — but what they’re going for is simple modern rock. The latest album finds them a lot closer to that sound, particularly because they stepped up the production value and let themselves experiment.
“We wanted to make a hi-fi record,” Vasquez said. “I was writing other songs to get other songs out of my system. I was like, ‘I’ll write all these crazy songs, then I’ll not want to do that anymore.'”
The band recorded in an old church converted into a studio called Dreamland in Woodstock, N.Y., and brought on producer Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio, Smith Westerns). The five members often found themselves clashing on production opinions and wanted someone to focus that energy into something productive.
“We were really looking for someone that would fight with us,” Vasquez said. “Only for production arguments, people get so impassioned.”
The result was something more refined than Delta Spirit has done before, and Vasquez is thrilled with it.
“Anybody can make a good record with a garage band. It’s just about the songs and getting the performance,” he said. “But making something that’s really 3-D and hi-fi … it has a weight to it.”
Now that the band is on tour with the record, Vasquez said he’s finding another side of the songs that could only come out live.
“Every record we’ve ever made we kind of go, ‘We’ve done it! we finally captured that thing!’ But as soon as that happens and you feel that anxiety — good anxiety — and you get pumped up to play in front of people, it’s just so exciting,” he said. “The song is its own animal in that very moment, when people are participating in that moment. That’s the thing. That’s what makes music.”
Delta Spirit has been on tour for a while and it seems like they’ll just keep going forever. The band is still getting used to the growing size of the crowds, and with so much pride in the latest album, they’re holding on to it as long as they can.
“More people are showing up to all the shows, and what a bigger crowd does to us on stage just makes us crazier. It’s so much more fun than to play at that level … We’re always writing, but we’re gonna enjoy this one and let it have its life.”