Delorentos have enjoyed the most successful spell of their careers since the release of their third album Little Sparks in January of last year. Endless touring, both home and abroad, has expanded the band's scope throughout Europe, into Russia and the United States and, to top it all off, the Dublin band picked up the Choice Music Prize earlier this month for the best Irish album of 2012.
John Balfe caught up with the band's guitarist/co-vocalist Kieran McGuinness to talk about their latest tour and the most successful single month of their career thus far.
When did you get back from Moscow?
Just last night, it was incredible. My lips froze there on one of the days, so I couldn't talk. It was insane - the coldest I've ever experienced.
What sort of temperatures are we talking?
Minus ridiculous. I didn't have WIFI a lot of the time so I couldn’t check the temperatures but it was insane. Everyone there even said that it wasn't normal for Moscow, how cold it was.
Going back to the Choice Prize for a moment, when Delorentos were announced as the winners there was a really overwhelming sense of positivity in the room. Did you feel that? And what did that prize mean to you personally and as a band?
We couldn't believe it, people were so nice to us! I've been told that the time in your life when you receive the most love is when you have your first child and it bowls you over, but this album has kind of been like that. From the start, people have been incredibly good to us about the album. We had a great year with it, it brought us loads of places and here we are: Choice Music Prize. It's unbelievable.
What was the feeling of winning like?
I didn't know what to say. I said "holy shitballs" on the radio, Paul McLoone wasn't happy about that. The first thing we wanted to do was thank our parents and that was bittersweet because Ross's (McCormack, drummer) mum had passed away a couple of months ago so we wanted to recognise her. We've had a crazy year with the success of the band, but emotionally as well.
And the very next day after the Choice...
No, no, not even the next day. Five hours after that announcement was made on stage we were in taxis on the way to the airport to go to New York. Half of us drank until the plane and the other half tried to get four hours sleep, so there were some different reactions on the plane! We were getting phone call after phone call, I mean our phone bills are going to be unbelievable. There we were, standing in New York getting phone calls from aunties and grannies..
How were the Russian gigs, was it a big culture shock over there?
Huge culture shock. Couldn't figure out directions, male or female toilets, or the food. [It's an] incredibly beautiful place and has a crazy atmosphere all to itself. It's crazy. We landed in New York and there was snow, we landed in Toronto and there was snow, we landed in Moscow and there was snow but when we went to Memphis and Austin we were burned out of it with the sun. How do you pack for that?! All of this coming on the back of the Choice Prize, it's just been the maddest month ever.
And what sort of reaction did you get from fans in Russia?
A brilliant reaction. We didn't know what to expect. We were playing shows with David O'Doherty actually, it was Irish week. We went to see his show and the audience would laugh, but they'd also clap at the end of every punch line. They'd clap like it was a song! He was bewildered by it.
It was a great place though, very much like some of the cool bits of Paris and the cool bits of Germany.
Was there any sense of the shackles that communism put on that country?
Not really. There's a weird look of the buildings. Half of them are very ornate, almost Roman-style, and then half of them are brick squares with little holes in them for windows. The whole thing was amazing. We were incredibly tired by the end of it but the tiredness disappeared because it was such an adventure.
Another thing I wanted to touch on was that I understand you're working on acoustic renditions of the Little Sparks tracks?
We've actually finished that, we just have to figure out how to release it. We recorded an acoustic album, reworkings of all the tracks on the album and a couple of reworkings of some of our well-known other tracks as well. We haven't figured out how to release it but we're going to try to be generous with it anyway.
You're playing the Barn Dance on Good Friday. How familiar are you with that festival?
No idea! Sounds really exciting. It had to be, for us to play on Good Friday it had to be something really exciting. I think it's something that could really work, and it's a really good line-up as well. It'll be craic, so we're looking forward to it.
Now you've got the ground beneath your feet again, what are the plans going forward for the next few months?
We going to be playing a lot of gigs and we're going to be writing songs. We have a lot of stuff to do in a lot of countries, like Spain. We're hopefully going back to Moscow and also Germany and Holland. The main thing is that we're going to be gigging and writing and we're going to try and do those things as well as possible.
Delorentos are among the bands playing Barndace IV on Good Friday. Tickets are still available, more information here.