Berlin-based, Irish native delush is back with new material, and it’s the first taste of a forthcoming debut album that’s set to arrive in 2019.
The “conscious pop” ballad, ‘Don’t Let Me Win’, features an ambitious video that the producer and vocalist has pulled off beautifully with the help of Australian director Greg Blakey.
Check out the new visuals below and get a fascinating insight into the mind of the homegrown artist as Aoife Donnellan catches up with him to discuss the new release.
You were ‘discovered’ after releasing only one single, how has your sudden rise to recognition affected your creative process?
After leaving for Berlin I created a lot of music before I created delush. With every project I was connecting more with what was most true for me. With every revolution I was getting a finer sensitivity for letting the genie out. It was a really long time in the making. With delush I finally felt, ‘I know now who I am and what my purpose is, and I finally have the ability to realise it’.
I feel that once you reach the limit of what you can do on your own, that’s usually when you attract fellow soul warriors to take it to the next level. It felt like a perfectly natural progression. Everyone in my crew pushes each other to live our power fully and trust ourselves ever more, so my creative process is exploding. My creative life is a playground. Having the support of a crew also means I have time and resources to try lots of things. I guess that wouldn’t have been possible before, so I wish that for all artists. That doesn’t mean it’s not really fucking hard though – trusting yourself completely can be hard. ‘Don’t Let Me Win’ was incredibly hard to produce. It is so bare that anything a little bit off would ruin it and it took many attempts to get everything the way I wanted it.
Living in Berlin, an epicentre for creative individuals, does your Irish identity impact how you create your music?
These days I love being in Ireland and I would love to spend more time playing here. When I was starting music though I left Ireland partly because I felt like I didn’t identify with much about Ireland. So much of it upset me. That said, I feel like we are blessed with a fairly straight access to the genius that is within every human being. Maybe because we had to to survive – we had to channel a lot of suffering in this country. I like to think that while our differences can and should be celebrated, we would create a better world for ourselves if we identify ourselves as being firstly part of the planet.
Playing in Whelan’s seemed like a spiritual homecoming of sorts – what do you hope the Irish audience took away from your music?
[Laughs] I have never got so many messages after a show. It was beautiful. So many people wrote to us that all concerts should be like this: way, way out there but ultimately beautiful. I hope that people took inspiration and encouragement to live their power fully and I feel that was the case. I also felt that I wasn’t ready to play there before now, and I don’t know if Ireland was ready either, so it felt like a beautiful experience from that point of view as well.
A big part of your creative energy comes from wanting to people to be free to truly express themselves, why is free expression so important to you?
Think of all the people in this country and around the world who only have love to give but are afraid of giving it. Think of all the people who are truly in love and can’t express it. Think of all the people with poetry, music, art, feelings words to share but don’t share it. Even amongst the creators, there is so much that is not uttered, for we are scared to be ourselves! We are scared to be seen or we feel we don’t have what we need to do so! But being seen and accepted and loved for who we truly are is maybe the biggest joy that can be experienced. I hope that my music or anything I do can help people express themselves truly. I know it’s hard, it’s really hard and it’s scary. But it’s really, really worth it. If you are reading this, take the chance with more and more people, starting with those you feel love you most unconditionally. If it doesn’t go well, take time and try again. But everything I say is only an invitation. I prescribe nothing.
You are a member of Welcome To The New World, what is this collective and how does it influence your music?
We are a collective of artists who want to contribute to the personal and cultural revolution.
We generally try to enable artists making brave, true art that contributes to a deeper understanding of oneself, or a wider understanding of where we are in whatever ways we can. The collective challenges and invites me to be brave and create to the highest level. In turn, as a builder of the collective, I do the same for others.
The themes in your music, which you classify as “conscious pop”, have both personal and political motivations as you ask listeners to try to let go of “the insecurity of lack”. Do you think being as an artist in this political climate requires a move away from individualism, toward a global understanding of selfhood?
Absolutely. Ultimately, everything is one. However, one is two for a reason.
Imagination is a huge driving force in creation – not only on a micro-level with individual pieces of art, but on a global level. By imagining something we help to create it.
I choose to use my imagination to help create a world I would like to live in: that is a world in which we have moved beyond the insecurity of lack – which plagues us. In parts of the world millions of people struggle to actually survive from a lack of food or water, and in other parts people buy shit they don’t need because they still lack something. In the material plane and spiritual plane I would love to see our planet move beyond this so we can enter the realm of play. The global powers that be direct our imagination only to catastrophes, triggering our fear-based reactions. To transcend these cycles we must also imagine what we want to create, not just what we want to avoid. Imagine if the whole world entered a state of play?! That would be unreal. I’m going for that world.
The reason we’re here – the new video is visually stunning. What inspired the underwater imagery?
Greg Blakey, a film director and fellow member of Welcome to the New World came up with the concept. We wanted to symbolise a dysfunctional relationship. We can all last for a certain amount of time in a relationship where both parties don’t have their own internal ability to heal. If the couple is co-dependent and sharing one source of love, attention and validation, then once things get stressful and both are clinging for that limited supply it can get nasty really quickly. The metaphor of one oxygen tank and going deep underwater was genius from him. It helps that it looks incredible on film.
Your video seeks to “reflect the times in life where we try to win arguments we have no business winning” which is a beautiful reflection on masculinity, international politics, and personal understanding. How did you go about lacing the imagery with these intentions?
Ultimately I come out on top in the struggle in the video by overpowering her with my strength and taking the last of what was rightfully hers to begin with, which she kindly offered up to me. But what is gained? I am alone, the oxygen is still gone, I simply made our last moments miserable. The whole situation is dysfunctional and reflects this culture of lack. Many countries are fighting so that they can do as little as possible to improve the health of the planet. When they succeed in these negotiations, “achieving” more leniency in reducing their nations right to pollute, they see it as a success, despite the reality that they are committing to play a bigger part in our overall destruction. It’s incredible how much our own ego can sabotage us and our relationships with others when we don’t keep it in check. This is the astonishing destructive power of the ego.