The Cab Ride Back: An Interview with Ben Ringel of Delta Saints

Recently we caught up with Ben Ringel of Delta Saints to talk about their incredible 2017 release Monte Vista. Along the way, we covered getting weird with music, crazy dreams, long cab rides home in the early morning hours and ” a hell of a way to end the tour.”

GSLM: A lot of people have this stigma that Nashville is country music, but in all reality, and especially in the live format, it is rock & roll. On your new album, you have moved passed an American rock feel towards a psychedelic feel. Talk about what led you in this direction.

Ben: We set out to make a record that we all wanted to listen to. It’s such an accurate snap shot of what we were vibing on. It started out super rootsy, and we as individuals evolved in our musical taste. Over the past couple of years, it’s been fun listening to bands like Tame Impala and Pink Floyd. And because we tried to make it melody based, in the live setting, it gives people something to grasp onto. And then allows for more room to get weird.

GSLM: “Are You” seems very contemplative. Like looking back at the night on the morning after with a bit of clarity.

Ben: I was having these really crazy dreams. I don’t typically remember my dreams, but I’d had a series of really realistic dreams, where you wake up and and you’re emotionally hung over from the dreams. There’s just that moment, where you’re figuring out what’s real and what’s not. It’s kind of like when you get black out drunk…it’s like, did that happen?

GSLM: “In Your Head” seems to be another mental song. It’s very in depth as to what’s going on in someone’s head. The story seems to be that you just woke up and crawled into a car and are mystified by the concept of the sun in the sky. The song also has the feel of first person and second person perspectives simultaneously. When you say, “It’s all in your head”, it is like you’re talking to yourself and looking at someone talking to you.

Ben: I think by nature that I am an autobiographical writer, but I’ve tried to push away from that. Every story you tell does not have to be your own. That being said, this one is very autobiographical. We were ending a European tour and had  a two-night-stand in a German town called Krefeld. It is a 200 person club, that you just pack people into. Fire codes are non-existent. The first night we went out with friends and got late night food, and ended up at another bar. Long-story-short, it’s like 4:30 or 5 in the morning, and I realized my evening was done. I grabbed David (Supica) our bass player and said, ‘Hey do you want to go back to the hotel?’ He said yeah. That song is really just the cab ride back to the hotel.

When you’re up until the sunrise, and you’re watching it, there is something so melancholy about that moment. (Laughing) Man, I’m going to feel terrible. In a couple of hours, I’m going to wake up and the day is going to be done. And hopefully it was fun. That song is very much that cab ride. No one else is in the street. In your head, when you’re in that state, you can very easily go to deeper places in your mind, and come up with ideas, or theories, or fix problems, that you will wake up and you won’t remember how you got there.

GSLM: Those are the times when you get the best ideas for a song. You either have to wake up and write it or lose it forever.

Ben: My wife is a songwriter as well, and thousands of times, we’ve woken each other up in the early morning, humming something into out iPhones. It’s such a strange thing if you’re not a songwriter, for someone to wake you up at 2:30 in the morning, quietly muffling their voice into a pillow, humming this melody.

GSLM: Let’s pretend tour has just ended and you’re sitting around with friends reminiscing. What is your ‘I can’t believe this happened moment?’

Ben: At the end of this last European tour, we got to play a club called the AB, which I had heard about for years. It’s like one of Europe’s Rymans’, as far as history, quality of sound, and production. They have two rooms, a small room and a big room. About a year and a half ago we played the small room and it sold out in a week. After the show, they said, ‘come back and lay the big room.’We walk in the big room, and it is magical. The show is incredible. The lights and the sound are first rate.

Led Zepplin played on that stage. Lois Armstrong played on that stage. Elvis played on that stage. And it’s like, holy crap. What reality is this, that I get to be on the stage where the Rolling Stones played when they were my age? It’s such a wonderful, but also heavy experience. It’s ending up on stage somewhere that helped cut the teeth of so many phenomenal bands that are the reason that I ever picked up an instrument. It was a hell of a way to end the tour.

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