The Guys Who Take The Piss, Cook Fans Dinner and Record An Alien Themed Album…
When I began my phone call with Michael Tramonte, commonly known as Monte, the bassist of The Delta Riggs, I never expected I would be the one answering questions. Starting out with small talk about football, Monte quickly moves on to much more puzzling questions such as “what’s your favourite flavour of dinosaur?” I knew this wasn’t going to be a normal interview.
I feel this depicts greatly the kind of guys that The Delta Riggs are. They have released three full length albums, become one of the most hyped live acts in the country and worldwide – even having Jimmy Page attend one of their gigs in London, and they still have as much fun as they possibly can.
Take their pre-order options for the new album Active Galactic for example. Not only was the band offering bundles featuring the album along with merchandise, but they were also offering up themselves to have one-on-one intimate experiences with fans. Monte’s offer being for him to come to your house, and cook dinner for you and your friends.
“We tried to do something a bit different. There is so much shit going on in music and so many people [and artists]; you have to have a bit of an edge. We like to take the piss out of ourselves and we don’t take ourselves too seriously so we thought that was a good way to give back and engage with fans. I mean if they are interested and keen, I will come to their fucking house and cook them dinner!,” Monte says.
“I think experienced based things are much better. I am way happier to pay for an experience than a material based thing. If I am going to enjoy it and have a life experience and a good time, I would rather do that instead of having like a signed something with a photo. ‘There’s only 500 of these’ – as if! They made 5,000 and everyone thinks they have number one of 500 but that’s not us, so that’s fine.”
Active Galactic was released in August and shows a new side of The Riggs, which has been massively welcomed by critics and fans alike. With an overall theme of ‘space’ and ‘extra terrestrial’ the boys experimented with different sounds of funk, psych and groove.
“Every record has had some kind of theme to it. We ended up in Roswell in the states last year so we started getting this weird obsession with aliens and space. It’s loosely themed. The subject matter in the record isn’t themed around it but more so the visual out of space/space disco – that was more so the overarching theme of it. It kind of came from the interest in our personal lives about it.”
The band recorded the album at Grove Studios, an intimate house/studio setup in the middle of the Australian bush.
“It was great, we did our first record out there at the same studio because we are kind of a band that has a lot of people around all the time, so recording an album somewhere that’s really hard to find is so good because no one can just drop in and fuck you up. We kind of like taking ourselves out of our normal habitat to do it [record] so that we are kind of ostracised. The studio was amazing as well and to spend nine days in the house was great, as well as the surroundings.”
However, it wasn’t just new sounds and location that The Riggs experimented with while recording the album, but also with instrumentation.
“Traditionally I play bass but on the record I play a bit of Tamborine, Rudy plays bass on a couple of tracks, I play guitar on a couple of tracks, and Elliott plays drums on some of the tracks. We aren’t the kind of band where it’s like ‘you go in and do your part and that’s it’. I mean everyone is around all the time experimenting with new ideas. We kind of moved it around and whoever was the most suited or knew the part the best played it. We aren’t too precious about each of us having an instrument, so I guess that was the biggest experimentation. We tried to move with new sounds. Usually, we just throw shit down but this time we wanted to play for the song and not just throw in a cool part because you want it in there.”
The Delta Riggs are about to embark on their biggest Australian Tour to date, bringing along Gideon Benson (formerly in The Preatures) to play with them. So how is Monte feeling about the shows?
“Super pumped! This is the biggest tour we have ever done. I love going to regional towns and we haven’t been to a lot of these towns ever, or for a very long time. I am really looking forward to it.”
Written by Alex Callan
When & Where: Whalers Hotel, Warrnambool – September 29, Karova Lounge, Ballarat – October 1, The Corner Hotel, Melbourne – October 21 & Torquay Hotel, Torquay – October 22