Bill Leeb – Delerium


Interview by Miriam C.

Photo by Eric “Rodent” Cheslak

After 4 years of silence, the influential Canadian duo Delerium is back with the brand new full-lenght “Mythologie” out now via their new label Metropolis Records. Bill Leeb, one of the musicians behind Delerium, took some time for speak with us again about the recent developments and how the British singer-songwriter Phildel (of which we have reviewed her debut here and collected an interview here) was involved.

Hello Bill, welcome (back) to Femme Metal Webzine, how are you?

Doing great! Very excited about my upcoming trip to Los Angeles for our record release party for “Mythologie”. For the first time, we are doing a live webcast on Facebook and several of the singers will be there in the studio with us as well.

Your last album “Music Box Opera” dates back to 2012 and now, after 4 years, we’re welcoming “Mythologie”. Why did it take so long?

This record, without a doubt, took longer than any previous Delerium album. The record actually started in Vancouver with Jared, Craig and me writing some songs sort half-knowing they may be for Delerium. Then I wanted to work with Rhys Fulber again and had also decided to move Delerium from Nettwerk to Metropolis Records.

Instead, what about “Mythologie”‘s genesis?

Rhys and I had initially discussed even doing a mostly instrumental album. As far as the new singers go, I have a friend in New Orleans and we have the very same taste in music and art. She contributed a lot by reaching out and opening lines of communication with Mimi Page, who she had been listening to for a while, and also Geri Soriano-Lighwood. Basically we write and conceptualize the music and then seek out singers that we potentially know have a particular sound for a particular track. We wanted this album to ultimately be a blend of signature Delerium sounds intertwined with a modern, dark edginess of its own. As usual, you can make plans all you want, but the music always seems to take its own course.

For your 15th album, you moved from the label Nettwerk to Metropolis Records. Why did you decide to change labels?

Dave Heckman, the head of Metropolis Records, and I have such a big history and he had said he would love to do a Delerium album one day. After being with Nettwerk for so many years, we both felt that we should start fresh and move into a different environment. Everybody wanted a change and this was naturally an easy move since I have been part of the Metropolis family for many years.

As I said before, it’s been a long time since “Music Box Opera”. How does “Mythologie” connect with the past and how does it differ from it?

Delerium in many aspects has evolved from being very dark soundscapes with ambient overtones and mostly no vocals. Through time we have evolved more and more bringing all of this together writing and actually more songs and adding very ethereal vocals. From “Music Box Opera” to “Mythologie”, the modern electronic production has immensely evolved hence creating a really different and modern sound.

In order to promote “Mythologie”, you have released the single “Ritual”, which features UK singer/songwriter Phildel. Would you mind to share some insights about the song?

I first heard Phildel through some of her music through an Apple soundbite. We reached out to her and asked if there was an interest. Ironically she was planning a trip to North America and also playing a folk festival here in Vancouver. We sent her a couple of tracks and she literally wrote lyrics on the plane on the way over. When she finally made it to Vancouver, we got in the studio and recorded two songs with her, not really knowing if it would be for Delerium or another project. We also enlisted some great remixers for “Ritual”. Matt Lange is a personal friend of Rhys‘ and he set that up since he had worked with Matt before. Alex Kllingle is Vancouver-based and was brought to my attention by Mark Jowett from Nettwerk. Daniel Myer we have a big history with, as he worked with us on Front Line Assembly remixes and has toured with us. Joey from Blush Response also has worked previously with us on some FLA tracks and is a big part of the underground electronic Berlin scene.

The press release states (and I quote) ““Mythologie” delves deeper into new sounds and vocalists than ever before”. Using this sentence as a cross-reference, would you like to explain in detail this innovation?

With technology changing so fast all of the time, it has created a new emphasis on programming. A lot of the baselines and sequences are now created with a process called ducking and side-chaining, which creates an
entire new feel, ambiance and rhythm of the track. But a word of caution, one must be careful not to get caught in the vortex of all of the massive amounts of new technology. But sometimes a voice in its simplest form can
still be the single most beautiful thing in music.

I’ve always wondered how you and Rhys manage to choose the right singer for a specific song. On which basis you decide that a specific singer fits correctly the song?

Usually with Delerium we look for singers with very angelic, ethereal voices. Because we are involved in the music world, we are constantly listening to new artists and new music. The first time I heard of Phildel was through an Apple commercial that used some of her music. Mimi Page is a singer-songwriter that we came across after hearing her on a Sirius music channel. Geri Soriano-Lightwood is a member of Supreme Beings of Leisure and they were one of the very first trip-hop artitsts to gain notoriety in North America. JES is a well-established artist and her song “As the Rush Comes” was always a notable trance song, as we were with “Silence”. And Jaël has worked with us several times before and has literally contributed to Delerium since practically the beginning.

It’s commonly known that the boundaries in music are so fleeting and it happens frequently that ambient/electronic music get influenced by metal or vice versa (see for example Rammstein) and both you and Rhys aren’t new to these experiments. Don’t you think that sometimes the listeners take these labels too seriously?

Unfortuneatly it’s part of the music scene that people do in fact put labels on genres. I think it is mostly so people can identity with different styles of music. As far as Rhys and I go, if you know our musical history, we don’t have any borders or labels at all. We go from sampling 17th century choirs to monks to metal bands. Basically, whatever ever fits our mood and creativity at the time is what we incorporate. That’s what make it so much fun working in the world of technology for us. Our only label is “experimental”.

We shouldn’t forget that you are one of the members of seminal electronic band Front Line Assembly. The latest release was the praised album “Echogenetic” back in 2013. What’s cooking in the FLA camp?

We are currently mixing the very last tracks for Airmech 2. Ironically enough, we started with Noise Unit, but then that evolved into the Airmech tracks. Apart from that, it’s been three years since “Echogenetic” was released by FLA. We would definately like to focus on a new FLA album. For now though, we are whole-heartedly supporting and focusing on “Mythologie” and everything it involves.

So, Bill, it’s time for your parting words – I really thank you for your time – please greet freely our readers and your fans. Thanks again!

We hope that all of our fans will enjoy this sonic journey as much as we have enjoyed creating it and we really hope to see you live somewhere in the near future!

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