True Blood Tunes: Delta Rae

June 12, 2013 by  

Bottom of the River

Delta Rae:Grant Emerson, Elizabeth Hopkins, Ian Holljes, Mike McKee, Brittany Holljes and Eric Holljes.

Group shot of Delta Rae: Grant Emerson, Elizabeth Hopkins, Ian Holljes, Mike McKee, Brittany Holljes and Eric Holljes.

Recently we at TrueBloodNet.com had the great pleasure of chatting up members of the band, Delta Rae. They, like all of us, love True Blood. Imagine their delight at finding out their song, “Bottom of the River” was being used in the season 6 promo reel.

TBN: Thanks for joining us today guys.

Delta Rae: Great to be here.

TBN: So let’s jump right into the big question, how did your song, ‘Bottom of the River’ get selected for the True Blood season 6 promo?

Delta Rae: We honestly don’t know. Our best guess: Magic.

TBN: Fairy or Wiccan? :laughter: Was “Bottom of the River” selected by Gary Calamar? [Editor’s Note: True Blood’s Music Guru] How did you find out about the selection and what was your reaction?

Delta Rae: We found out the day it came out. One of our fans tweeted that they had heard it in the trailer and so then we looked it up on YouTube and totally freaked out. We’ve been big fans since episode 1!

TBN: Wow, that must have been an awesome surprise! Some songs featured on True Blood are tweaked toward its dark theme. Did they use the original recording or did you need to do any changes?

Delta Rae: The song was dark enough to begin with I think, but they did edit it to fit the length of the trailer. They had to squish a lot of the big vocal parts into one short clip!

TBN: Is this the first time your music has been used on True Blood?

Delta Rae:  It is! Hopefully not the last time though…

TBN: We hope not either. In fact, I think “Morning Comes” would be a great human theme song. So, who wrote ‘Bottom of the River’? Was it a collaboration? Can you share your thought processes with us? What were you thinking about, what was the mood you were trying to create?

Eric: It was a collaboration between me and my brother, Ian. I woke up at 3 am with the chorus in my head and I ran to my phone in a haze to record it before falling back to sleep. That has never happened to me before, or since. A few weeks later I remembered that I had recorded it and I brought it to Ian. He got the feeling immediately and we wrote the verses in the same gospel, Old Testament feel. I don’t know where the inspiration for the song came from. We just tried to follow the thread.

TBN: Can you tell us a bit about making your video version of ‘Bottom of the River’? It must be very different from performing live, does that make it more difficult, from an artistic viewpoint, to perform without the audience feedback?

Delta Rae: Making music videos is a very challenging feat because they have so many moving parts, and in our case, we needed to do it in one take so everything had to come together in a single exceptional moment. We made this video about a year before we were signed to Warner Brothers, so we had no money and relied heavily on friends, like director Lawrence Chen, and local talents, like our dancers in DefMo and the Sigma Step team. On a wet and misty night in September, the band, about 20 dancers, and a dozen crew got together at the Duke Homestead (built in the 1800s, and VERY “True Blood”), blasted this creepy song into the darkness and started our stomping march. It was high pressure because we had to beat the sunrise. Overall I’d say performing that song has never felt more natural than it did on that haunted piece of land, freezing and foggy, trying to beat first light just like genuine vampires. When we perform it live, it’s about transporting everyone to that place.

"Bottom of the River" video by Delta Rae

Bottom of the River Video Delta Rae

Delta Rae

TBN: That sounds really spooky. Let’s talk about the group for a minute. Three of the group are siblings, is that correct? Can you tell us how you all ended up as Delta Rae?

Eric: The three siblings have been singing since we were tiny. My brother and I started writing songs when I was about 10 years old and he was 12 and we fell in love with it. When we graduated college we knew we wanted to go into music and we reached out to our sister and a childhood friend from California, Liz Hopkins,  we loved both their voices. We all moved into a house in the woods of North Carolina where we rehearsed non-stop and then started touring on the weekends while all holding down part-time jobs. About a year in, we linked up with our amazing drummer, Mike McKee, and badass bass player, Grant Emerson, and Delta Rae was complete!

TBN: Can you tell the fans a bit about who does what in the band? Do you all contribute to writing some songs or do only a few of you do the writing? What instruments do the band members play?

Ian: Eric and I write all the songs. Everyone participates in writing and arranging harmonies and instrumental parts. Eric plays piano, guitar and sings. I play guitar and sing. Brittany and Liz both sing and play percussion. Grant is on bass, and Mike plays drums and occasionally trashcans. I think this will continue to change as we grow as a band, but that’s what’s happening now.

TBN: That must look interesting on Mike’s resume: Trashcan artist. If you couldn’t be musicians (an ugly thought to be sure), what else would you want to do for a living?

Eric: Yes, this is a terrifying prospect. But here goes. I’d like to be a Filmmaker.

Ian: A writer.

Liz: A teacher.

Brittany: A Farmer.

Grant: A psychologist.

Mike: A music store owner

TBN: What’s the hardest part of the musician’s or singer’s lifestyle? If you could eliminate one aspect, what would it be?

Delta Rae: The travel in a van for hours and hours can be rough. It’s close, uncomfortable quarters and not everyone smells great all the time… but I still wouldn’t eliminate that time. We laugh a lot in the van, and get to think and read and see the country. You can’t eliminate the worst parts of this lifestyle because then the best parts wouldn’t feel as hard won.

TBN: I won’t ask for any smelly names… What is your favorite song that Delta Rae does?

Delta Rae: It changes daily. I’m really excited about some of the new songs we’re performing. They’re not on an album yet, so you have to come see us live!

TBN: I’d love to. I’ll have to check your website for the schedule.  [Editor’s note: www.deltarae.com] What is your favorite song or musician, outside of Delta Rae?

Delta Rae: Impossible question. Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel, Jeff Buckley, Stevie Wonder, Coldplay, Tom Petty, RHCP, James Taylor, Mumford & Sons, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Kings of Leon, James Taylor, Brandi Carlile, Michael Jackson, to name very few…

TBN: There are a lot of great musicians on that list. What’s the most rewarding part of the musician/singer lifestyle?

Delta Rae: The shows. Connecting with people who have been moved by the music is an incredible gift.

TBN: What are your plans for the future? Do you want to expand into writing for other bands or, say, movie or TV scores?

Delta Rae: We’re playing a lot of great festivals this year and then we’re in the studio working on album 2!

TBN: That’s great news for your fans! I can’t wait to hear what’s coming next. So, there will be new music soon.

Delta Rae: YES.

TBN: You said you love that audience feedback at your concerts. Are you appearing anywhere in the next few months?

Delta Rae: We are almost literally appearing everywhere 🙂 Bonnaroo, Firefly, ACL, Voodoo Experience are the big festivals we’re playing and they’ll be extremely fun. True Blood fans would love Voodoo Experience. It is in New Orleans, which is one of my favorite cities we’ve explored, and last year at the festival we lost our minds watching Metallica.

TBN: Voodoo Experience in New Orleans! You can’t get more “True Blood” than that. [Editor’s Note: Fans can check out where Delta Rae will be here: http://www.deltarae.com/tour/upcoming]

TBN: Do you have a website you’d like to share with the fans?

Delta Rae: We would love for people to find us all over the internet! [Editor’s Note: They are EVERYWHERE:  www.deltarae.com ; https://twitter.com/DeltaRae ; https://www.facebook.com/deltarae ; http://instagram.com/deltarae]

Demons in the Bottom of the River video by Delta Rae

Demons in the Bottom of the River video by Delta Rae

True Blood Fans

TBN: What was your first impression of True Blood?

Brittany: I remember having heard about the show for a little while before it came out and I was SO excited to see the first episode. I majored in ancient Mediterranean religion, which is just a fancy way to say Paganism, and I eat fantasy novels for breakfast, so this show felt like it was made for ME! I was hooked from the first moments and once that theme song played, I knew it would be one of my favorite shows of all time.

TBN: Who is your favorite True Blood character?

Brittany: My favorite characters are Lafayette, Alcide, and Jessica. It’s changed from season to season, but that’s where I’m at now.

Ian: Jason is my favorite.

Eric: Eric Northman

TBN: Have to stick with your namesake! If you could be any type of character from the show, which type (vampire, human, werewolf, witch, fairy, shifter, etc.) would you guys want to be.

Brittany: Fairy or shifter. I’ve wanted those powers since I was a wee babe.

Ian: Shifter.

Eric: Shifter.

TBN: Do you visit fan sites to read about yourself or interact with them?

Brittany: Right now most of our fan interaction happens on Twitter and via Facebook, we answer almost every message we get. Liz and Grant run the band Twitter account, and they are REALLY good at reaching out to fans and answering any questions fans have!

Eric: I answer almost all the Facebook messages, which is very rewarding because fans write us beautiful and personal notes. Occasionally, I email them to the whole band, because they remind us all that the music we are making can have a big impact on people’s lives.

TBN: We like to turn the tables a bit when interviewing. Is there anything you’d like to ask your fans?

Brittany: I’d love to know what fans enjoy most about our live show. We always want to give fans what they’re after and enhance the show, so tell us your favorite things and we’ll try to do more of them!

TBN: We know you twitter as a group (@DeltaRae), but do any of you have a personal twitter you’d like to share with the fans?

Delta Rae: Yes please!

Brittany: @BrittanyHellyes

Eric: @EricHolljes

Ian: @IanHolljes

Liz: @BatSparkles

Mike: @MikeMckeeDrums

Grant: @nosremetnarg

TBN: Thanks guys.. almost done. Just one more True Blood question. Will you be watching the True Blood premiere?

Delta Rae: Of course!!! We all will. Probably won’t be able to catch it on TV, unless we get really lucky and our hotel rooms have HBO… but we’ve got HBO-Go and will be watching as soon as it’s available!

TBN: Beware of Twitter if you don’t get to see it live — spoilers will abound! Thank you for your time and the great music!

We’d like to thank Delta Rae for taking the time to answer our silly True Blood questions. Best of luck on their new album! But just for True Blood fans, Delta Rae is giving us a few CDs to hand out. Keep tuned to Twitter where we’ll give the details during the Season 6 premiere!

Photo Credits: Delta Rae

Feel free to leave comments below and we’ll forward them to the band!

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