Where the name comes from is something they’re going to keep to themselves. Just to retain a little mystique, just to keep something exclusively for themselves, it ain’t the greatest secret in the world but in a world full of people who know everything about everything, it’s hard to keep anything in the dark.
Dark isn’t a word that could apply to a band whose music is so fresh it feels like a cool shower on a summer morning. It’s an experience not felt in the music of many Irish bands mostly because cool showers and summer mornings aren’t the staple of this economic beacon of Europe. We travel in search of such lustful feelings, so have Delorentos. As if to highlight what their music is about they travelled to Tuscany for a festival during the summer. Cool showers, warm mornings, sultry, soulful and fulfilling, Tuscany fits the bill more than Ireland ever could.
Delorentos aren’t on everyone’s lips at the moment but that’s no big deal because they’ve never really set tongues wagging in Ireland. Definitely not in the beginning.
It’s an irony that isn’t lost on guitarist Ronan Yourell. The name Yourell has French origins but despite curling black hair and a fresh face unspoiled by late nights he looks, and is proud to be, Irish.
“I don’t think we wanted to trade on being Irish. I’m very proud of being Irish but we want to trade on our songs and our performances,” he says after recapping on the intricate adventure which brought him and three of his mates from Malahide in North Dublin to adorn the sleeve of an album.
To begin they had to start somewhere else. Chicago to be precise.
“There’s this guy, Thomas Dunning, who was running these nights in Dublin. He’s from Chicago and he was mad into the alternative music scene over there. He had lots of friends who were in bands and he saw that local bands couldn’t get local gigs. He started a Hoot night in Chicago and then started them in Dublin. He would have themed nights where bands would play songs with, say, girl names in the song titles. He’d invite bands and you’d do two songs each. We did a few of those, they were our first gigs. There was no Delorentos music at that stage. We played Independent Woman one night by Destiny’s Child. When I did those, I wasn’t thinking of doing anything more.”
An Irish band without a name, much less some music to trade on, was born, sort of, via the philanthropic nature of an American pissed off by the scene he witnessed. Were it an Irishman viewing the same landscape the reaction might have been to just get pissed.
Dunning’s themed musical nights earned the four a flight to the Windy City.
“He (Dunning) asked us to go over and play, this was three years ago. I’d never been to America before so it was a really exciting thing. We stayed with one of the band members from Lambchop, we stayed in her house and looked after her house and cat. We had written a few songs of our own at that stage. We played in this venue, it’s quite a cultish place. We played and did our couple of covers and then another night we got on a bill and we played our songs for the first time.”
“It was so new and the opportunity was so exciting that I didn’t really think about it at the time. We got back from there and when we play 99.9 per cent of the time, the reaction has been good. Every time you play and you get a good response that spurs you on.”
When they played Tuscany they were spurred by a diverse mix of fans, including bands from Denmark and Italy, and couples in their 50s and 60s. Yourell doesn’t know what audience they attract.
If they appeal to such a wide and divergent audience it probably has a lot to do with the feel of their music as much as its sound. This isn’t just raw energy freewheeling, cascading and spiralling into something to live your life by. Sensibility is part of the mix, there’s a tenderness witnessed on songs like Eustace Street (“take anything but leave my heart alone) and Stop (“take a minute or two and realise life is less without you”) which is neither cheesy pop effort nor a bitter indie band distancing themselves from the world by the depth of their feelings. They are a composite mix of thoroughly enjoyable, take it or leave it music that appeals to the fan in search of a quick tune fix as much as to the fan looking for something beneath the outer veneer.
I did a straw poll among my friends, many who flick radio stations to find what’s in the charts. They don’t buy albums or take music serious enough to invest time and money in it yet they all liked the singles of Delorentos, in particular, Stop, which you could only hear on an independent Irish station, Phantom, which only broadcasts in Dublin and online. It takes as much effort to find the station as it does to find Delorentos in comparison to the easy availability of the Irish top ten everywhere else.
Yourell admits he’d listen to anything. He can appreciate the Scissor Sisters as much as he can be enamoured by Lambchop. They trade on their music and their performance, not the nationality on their birth certs which is just as well because that nationality didn’t do them much favours in the place they were born.
Like their visit to Chicago their rise through the ranks of lowly gigs in Ireland was a climb of chance. They formed in 2004, Ronan and bass player Neil were in college at DCU doing the same course, and while they juggled a degree, the band got mixed up in a competition they didn’t know they’d entered.
“We spent a year finding our feet. We got a few opportunities. We ended up, through a funny misunderstanding, playing at a band competition in UCD. We couldn’t get college gigs at the time and it was called the Student Music Awards. We thought it was an awards show for the students and that they needed a band to play at it but there were actually a few other bands playing, it was a competition. We got through a few rounds and into a competition for bands in the UK and Ireland and ended up winning the thing.”
Getting gigs was a difficulty they overcame in weird ways, first through an American living in Dublin, and then by virtue of winning a competition they knew nothing about. If that isn’t quite chancing your arm, it’s certainly got nothing to do with convention. Music, at least the type Delorentos are aiming to produce, has nothing to do with custom. While the title of their album, In Love with Detail, suggests they’re perfectionists, the feel good nature of their best music, is reflected in the happy go lucky nature of their personalities. And when happy go lucky becomes brazenness they’ve had even more success.