“We kept driving through these amazing, panoramic landscapes that were beyond anything we’d ever seen,” says Innocenti, of their first US tour. “That can’t help but have an effect on you, especially when you’re experiencing it first hand, for the first time.”
‘Stranger Than Fiction’ is Deluka’s upcoming release following their agitated electro-rock album ‘You Are The Night’. A heaving mass of foreboding beats, brooding basslines and sultry vocals; their latest release sounds as heavy as the skies it was written under.
To bring space and span to the sound they’ve created, they enlisted the help of noted producer Dan the Automator (Gorillaz, Kasabian, Dr. Octagon), and set about refining the songs that will comprise their sonically-addictive second US album. “Dan brings a whole other level to the tracks,” says Kovacs of their recent session in San Francisco. “If I listen to the tracks that I’ve done of ours, then listen to his, I definitely hear a similarity, but just a whole different scope.”
In the time the band has spent traversing oceans and continents, simultaneously refining their unique compound of searing guitar lines and expansive beats, nothing had impacted them quite like the American West. Roused by the expanses they encountered, Deluka set about making an album as epic as the rock formations of Utah, and the sky over Colorado. Nowhere is that more evident than on “Stranger Than Fiction.” Innocenti’s vocals approach like a storm, giving way to jagged, driving guitars, keeping pace as she spins a tale of the space between people. “That was the one song I knew I wanted to make,” Kovacs says, "As big as a desert sky, deliberately and unapologetically over-the-top", "like turning landscapes into soundscapes" agreed Innocenti. “Born From a Broken Heart” is as much a mission statement as a song, with Innocenti’s vocals at once barbed and vulnerable. With an infectious melody threaded through guitar lines taut as tendons, Innocenti reimagines the notion of a broken heart, seeing it not as terminal, but as regenerative.
But before this latest effort or the many before it, their story reaches years into the past, when a 15-year-old Ellie Innocenti played a show at the Jug of Ale, and Kris Kovacs sought her out after it. “I saw this small girl onstage, and then this huge voice came out of her,” Kovacs recalls of his initial impression. Up until that point, Kovacs had immersed himself in the world of bedroom recording, from layering sounds into a boombox that he'd been given at Christmas as a child, to computer-based recording, a harbinger of the massive sonic textures he would weave throughout Deluka’s records. It was one of these sound collages that he passed to Innocenti, a ten-minute loop of Kovacs’ creation that he asked her to write something to. She came back two days later with the first Deluka song – only neither of them knew it at the time. “We were just kids hanging out,” says Innocenti, though she recalls feeling on the edge of something else. “A lot was unsaid,” she says of that first interaction. “A look in the eye, and I think we both knew what we wanted to achieve – we were quietly scheming a scheme.”
None of the members could predict the role the Jug of Ale would play in the band’s origin, as sooner or later, they would all meet there. “That venue got us educated. It was a place to discover, to develop our own sound,” says Innocenti. Of the most important discoveries made at the Jug of Ale was: one another – each member has seen the others in various outfits, essentially conducting years-long vetting process to arrive at Deluka’s present line-up.
Just as the physical space of the Jug of Ale played a role in the band’s formation, a certain placefulness would become central to the creation of Born From a Broken Heart. For a year, the band lived out of their van touring their first album You Are The Night. That album, created after the band relocated to New York on the twin successes of their song “Sleep Is Impossible” being featured in Grand Theft Auto and their subsequent record deal, was mired in electronic compression – the likely effect of attempting to navigate through the concrete canyons of the city.
Listening back, Innocenti and Kovacs can't help but hear a different band. "We hadn't found our sound," says Kovacs of their previous album. "We've learned a lot since then." Their latest album is the sum of hours and miles spent on stages and roads, refined by years of effort and innate talent. Stranger Than Fiction is a sonic almanac, the aural map of a band who went deep into the west and came back themselves.