Record Overplayed
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Delays interview | Middlesbrough Empire | May 2003

Gregory’s Hey Girl

Interview and Photo by Dawn

Onstage, Delays frontman Greg Gilbert is a diminutive figure clutching what looks, in comparison, to be the largest guitar in the world. But dismiss any thoughts that his stature might risk him going unnoticed; just wait until he opens his mouth. For someone of such a slight build, the blond Southampton bloke has been blessed with one hell of a voice. His goosebump-inducing vocals soar through the room and glide effortlessly between angelic falsetto and spine-tingling growl as, together with bassist Colin Fox, drummer Rowly and brother Aaron on keys, he leaves the Empire crowd completely spellbound. Their short but stunning support slot, comprising charmingly melodic guitar-pop, showcases precisely why Delays ought to be hailed as the next big thing and why forthcoming single Hey Girl deserves to be the anthem of the summer.

Backstage after their captivating set, Charlie Chaplin fan Greg sits curled up on a chair, quietly strumming on his acoustic guitar as he talks to us; in contrast, Aaron fidgets with an array of nearby objects whilst asking almost as many questions as he answers. Meanwhile, Colin and Rowly seem only too used to the blond siblings’ interview antics, being content to let them take the lead and interjecting only with the odd witty comment. Or, in Rowly’s case, to pledge allegiance to Manchester City, lest he be tarred with the same Saints brush as his three bandmates.

So just who are this Southampton quartet who are supporting Clearlake on tour and attracting attention from the likes of The Times? “I’m Greg and I’m pretentious”, offers the smiling singer with tongue firmly in cheek whilst the remaining trio ponder over how to introduce themselves succinctly.

“I’m Colin and I think too much”, states the laconic bass player as Rowly prepares to take his turn: “I’m Rowly and…”

“I don’t think enough!” jokes Greg. It’s evident from our time with them that the Delays boys are a happy-go-lucky bunch, constantly smiling and swapping good-natured, amusing jibes, even at this late hour.

As the laughter dies down, Rowly tries again. “I’m Rowly and I’m living the dream!”

“Spot on!” grins Colin, as Aaron quips, “There’s your headline right there!” And finally, the keyboardist himself? “Aaron: Hard-working people’s person.”

The band formed at school and, according to their press release, came together due to a shared love of The La’s, Twin Peaks and Maradona. Would anyone care to explain?

Always ready with a witty response, Aaron jumps in. “Well we were all walking down the road with Twin Peaks, a copy of The La’s album and a Maradona t-shirt.” Well that was a strange twist of fate, wasn’t it?

Moving swiftly on, the band’s debut album - provisionally titled On – is due in August. So far, songwriting duties lie with the Gilbert brothers. "But we're coaxing the others", smiles Aaron.

"We're plying them with beer to get the songs out", grins Greg.

"I'm a hidden talent!" laughs Colin.

"There's a rumour that Fox has got a song to change the world, but he won't play it to us", says Aaron.

"It's not ready yet!" explains Colin. "But it will be!" No chance of a sneak preview then? “Oh, no, no, no!” he smiles. “Absolutely not!”

And what about that voice? “I could go higher, but that would be ridiculous!” smiles Greg.

“That would be dolphin territory!” adds Aaron – and he’s probably right.

Revelation of the night belongs to drummer Rowly for his admission that the first album he bought was Black Lace: "It was so I could learn the moves to Superman before the next school dance!" he protests. "First time they played it, I didn't know the tune and I was..."

"A social leper!" offers Greg.

"I was way behind everyone else when they were spraying and walking!" is Rowly's heartfelt explanation.

Although praising it, The Times described Delays’ music as ‘unfashionable’. A fair comment? “We’re not really thinking about it too much,” says Greg. “It’s not like we sat down and said ‘let’s be pop’; we’re doing what we naturally want to do. There’s so many bands at the moment sounding the same and how many of them aren’t being honest?”

And should the music career fail, at least one band member has another trick up his sleeve. During our chat, Aaron demonstrates a hidden talent by creating a rather impressive swan from a discarded metal coathanger found in the dressing room. He names it Pete and proudly presents it to Di, before making me a sculpture of my very own using only an empty Coke can and a black marker pen. “It’s what I used to do before I joined the band”, says Aaron, a deadpan expression on his face as Greg adds, “He can still fall back on it.”

So that’s Delays for you then: Not only musical magicians, but prize-winning sculptors in the making…

Huge thanks to the lovely Delays boys, to Mike and to Mark at Wild. Hey Girl is released on July 7th, with the album due in August. Visit www.theDelays.co.uk for more information.


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