The release of their new album sees Delirious? returning to their worship roots. Mike Rimmer went to check out Littlehampton's finest.
The Renaissance Hotel in Nashville plays host to the huge Christian music industry gathering, GMA Week. In the third floor coffee lounge, I'm looking for a friend but can't find him. I bump into Martin Smith who grins a greeting and invites me to sit with the band. Leaving Tim Jupp in Britain, the band have travelled to play a showcase and do interviews and unlike the majority of high profile Christian music acts, they're happy to sit unguarded in a public place! Inevitably fans sheepishly approach the band for a chat and they talk to me like I am in the band. I can't resist playing along and just for a moment I'm Tim Jupp!
Back in the UK at the newly opened Furious? HQ in Arundel, the real Tim Jupp relaxes into a huge comfy sofa and remembers that originally when they'd wanted to release their music Stateside they were told that a worship album would never be successful. "We felt so strongly that the Cutting Edge records (mainly because of what the songs were carrying) had a part to play in the American church scene. We really put our foot down and said, look guys, if you want us to come and work with you, okay we want 'King Of Fools' to come out, but first you must put these Cutting Edge records out' It was a very brave and bold step for the guys at Sparrow to do that. Since then they've continued to be our biggest selling records in America."
Originally, there was no plan to record what the band describe as a "church" album. Martin Smith and Stu G had already started demo recordings of songs that will appear on their next mainstream release. The decision to record 'Glo' provides a unique window on the Delirious? decision making process. Tim explains, "This was a massive left turn when we were going to take a right turn. We got a hunch that we should take a left turn and do something different and then come back to the other thing. I guess how that works is that you get a hunch that you're trying to respond to as an individual and bring it to the party and there it all gets mixed up. Others may have to go back and ask God, 'What are you saying here? What shall we do about this? Do we go this way or that way?' I think we do have individuals who we really respect who we bring into the inner circle and can be open with and talk about the things when we may not have complete clarity. I feel at the end of the day God has given us this vision and we have a responsibility to each other in the team but also we recognise it's a bigger thing than that.
"There's a spiritual dimension to having a part to play in this time and this generation and we do recognise that and we take that responsibility really seriously. That's why we really bash things round a lot, I think, trying to be clued in and switched into what God's saying in order that we are responding in the right way and doing the right thing. I think in terms of looking at Delirious? as being prophetic, that's not just about playing spontaneously at the end of a song for 10 minutes and creating a platform for God to come and heal someone. That is very much a part of it but we recognise the whole bigger picture to the thing in terms of what we're carrying, what can be stirred up corporately, not only here but globally in different nations. We know there's a bigger picture to the whole thing, that's why when we talk about being prophetic, for me the thing that comes to mind first and foremost is responding to God's heart, being obedient and doing the right thing at the right time in the right place.
A lot of people focus on Smith and Garrard because they are the main songwriters and a bit of a double act when the band play live. There's almost a perception that Martin is the spiritual, prophetic driving force of Delirious? because he's a bit mystical. Tim grins and agrees, "Yeah! He is, isn't he? Martin can be like that. He is very prophetic. He is always searching and struggling to know what God's saying on things because we don't want to blow it! We recognise the responsibility and we feel the weight of that and are determined not to blow it. Not only for ourselves but also for other people. If we blow it, we know there are a lot of people looking to us."
The recording of 'Glo' happened in Clarion Studios in Brighton. Jupp recalls, "It's a great place because it's a big, old Methodist church. What that meant was we were able to all set up together because there was enough space to isolate all the guitar amps, etc. It really gave us the opportunity of playing together and having the liberty to be able to take it wherever it went and that happened. There are quite a few songs where we just kept on playing and really captured some of that spontaneity, a little bit like live In The Can', hopefully with the musical maturity of where we're at now."
Tim continues, "Having finished the record we look back now and have
actually had probably one of the most difficult times with personal
things that have gone on since the New Year and we have really felt
the attack more than ever. For this record to come out of those things
that have not been so easy, makes it even more exciting for us. You
think there must be something going on here! Wouldn't it be the most
extraordinary thing if at the end of the day, in some way, something
happened from this record? Maybe this is the one that takes us to the
place of having a bigger platform to do what we need to do in the
mainstream. It might happen in America, it might happen here." He
laughs, "Or it might not be this record at all. Does a song get picked
up and go on some big, hit movie or does it happen some other way
other than having a hit in the UK singles chart? We're open for
anything. That's why we still keep an open mind about this record. Who
knows what will happen?"