Big Black Delta Gives Us Analog Synthpop For A Digital World

(Radio.com) Listen to just about any Big Black Delta song and you're likely to notice at least one of two things almost instantly: singer, multi-instrumentalist and sole member Jonathan Bates' electronically processed vocals and/or the soaking distortion that is Bates' signature sound. He doesn't use them abrasively but it's enough to put his own stamp on Big Black Delta: a "protest," he said, against "perfect-sounding" music.

"Anyone with GarageBand can make [that kind of] record now. What the future holds for me, is to make things that are not perfect and beautiful at the same time," Bates, 34, said. "Maybe overblowing the distortion a little bit because that's how it would sound if you were driving in a Camaro with the windows down at 80 miles per hour. You would have to turn [it] up and the speakers would invariably start crackling… I wanted to give that feeling of intensity."

The sound on "Put the Gun on the Floor" off Big Black Delta's new self-titled album or its lead single "Side of the Road" — currently making a serious run for airplay on Bates' native L.A. alternative radio station KROQ (a Radio.com station) — comes from a mix of digital and analog sound (about 75 percent analog, he said) often described broadly as synthpop or new wave.

"When people say, 'You sound '80s,' I'm just trying to make it sound etched-out a little bit, a little weird," Bates said. "I try to recreate when, as a kid, when I would make tapes, a fourth-generational tape, and you would get hiss and warbling because the two tape canisters weren't in sync." more on this story

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