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DELS has flair. His debut album ‘GOB’, just released by Big Dada on Monday, burns bright and hot with it. It’s in his unblinking flow, in his vivid lyrics, in his tackling of subjects that most would shy from with style, intelligence and a whole lot of fixed-jaw nerve. With Kwes, Joe Goddard and Micachu all on production duties, ‘GOB’ is a lively, colourful listen (download a remix by GOB by Printer’s Devil on the right) that both deserves and inspires open ears, eyes and hearts. In an interview back in 2009, DELS told us about his favourite album artwork. Now his own album’s finally out, we dropped him a few questions about the places that made him in his hometown of Ipswich. Use the map to explore them and read the interview below.
View Dels’s guide to Ipswich in a larger map
A place that conjures up old memories?
DELS: The St Mary & St Botolph church is a place that conjures up memories of joy and pain in equal measures. I was Christened at this church as were my Brothers and Sister. My Grandfathers and Grandmothers funerals took place there. As did the funeral of my good friend Leo Crane. Painful memories but there were a few good memories that I’d associate with my childhood. The graveyard behind the church led onto the school grounds of my secondary school, Thurleston High School. My friends and I used to cut through the graveyard to get to the surrounding fields. We often fought each other on top of a cliff face of used tyres, regularly got chased by guard dogs for trespassing on private land, kissed the girls behind trees and built dens on what we once called ‘Duck Island’.
A place that has a strong influence on the music you make?
DELS: My bedroom in my flat in Ipswich. I wrote nine songs that made it on to GOB in there.
It’s a small confined space which I guess brought out certain issues I was dealing with at the time. Pretty much 80% of my possessions are crammed up in that room. Studio equipment, old family photographs, art books, clothes, random illustrations that I’m working on stuck to walls. For inspiration, I usually put on old films on mute in the background and just let the words fall on to the page. Writing in that space worked for the creation of GOB but I don’t think I could write my second album there. Too many memories are attached to that space now. I think I need to write my second album in another City. I’d be interested to see how being a loner in New York or Tokyo would affect my approach to music.
A place people who have never been to the place before should definitely visit?
DELS: A noodle bar called Mizu. It’s cheap, the food tastes amazing and it arrives at your table really quickly. Not much else I can say on this matter really, just fucking eat.
A place you live or used to live?
DELS: The first house that my Mother and Father had together was a small house on Kipling Road on Whitton Estate. A lot of time was spent running up and down this street humming the A-Team and Turtles theme tune. The house was very small but definitely felt like home. There was a fair share of arguments and fights in that house but it never felt loveless. Both of my parents were big music lovers and often threw house parties, which for me was an insight to the culture of their generation. I always wondered what it would be like to go to a nightclub and hear the music on the big speakers that they often spoke so fondly about. As the years went by, the music and fashion would alter. For me, those ‘blues’ parties were almost like a visual timeline of my parents musical tastes that were changing ever so rapidly. It went from Soul to funk, from Reggae Dub to Dancehall, from House to Hip Hop. I heard it all through the floorboards as they danced below well into the early hours of the next day.
A place you spend a lot of time in?
DELS: I’m not in Ipswich as much anymore but when I do have free time when I’m home, I like to play sports. I get miserable if I don’t exercise regularly so I often meet up with friends to play Basketball or Badminton at my local gym. My friends are a very competitive, rowdy lot and we all battle to win to avoid doing the embarrassing forfeit at the end. Kidults.
A place you work/record?
DELS: My step Dad built a small space in the back garden so that he could play his music loudly without bringing my Mum’s house down. It sort of looks like a mini-house from the outside surrounded by a wooden decking. Inside, there’s a vast amount of Dancehall and RnB sitting on the shelves, random sound system parts and wires scattered everywhere, a big TV so that me and my step Dad can watch Arsenal games in peace. I bought new recording equipment after I signed to Big Dada so that I could record vocals there. I then ended up recording most of my vocals for GOB in that space. I invited Kwes and Elan Tamara to our family home so that we could work on some new music, which led to us finishing ‘DLR’, ‘Droogs’ and ‘Moonshining’ together. We had a lot of fun recording there, such a quiet relaxed environment. So if you see “recorded at Your Mums House” in the credits of the GOB album sleeve, it was all recorded there.