Interview with Delta Dawn

Delta Dawn are a band who I stumbled upon during my visit to the Great Escape Festival in Brighton last year. This duo of Daniel Powell and James Elder delivered a wonderful stripped back performance that had so many great songs that featured impressive vocals and harmonies. After the set, I was eager to learn more about them.

Daniel and James have known each other since they were young and their talent was noticed back then when their band won the NME unsigned songwriting award and an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the band was soon to end and the guys went down different paths to work on their own projects. Time went by and the guys crossed paths once more which resulted in their new band ‘The Daunts’ which was a short-lived project. However, from this they decided just to focus on working as a duo and Delta Dawn was born.

Before I talk about the sound of Delta Dawn, I wanted to learn more about their world of music. I reached out to the guys to see if they would like to answer some questions and James was more than happy to get involved. We talked about the band name, their songs and more. This is what he had to say:

How did Delta Dawn come together and is there a story about the name?

Sadly there is no mystical meaning to the name or any story behind it. Dan liked the sound of it and we just felt that it fitted the music: the music is super chilled and perfect for sunrises and sunsets…

Which musicians have helped to influence your music and it’s sound?

We love our rock and roll and have played it for years in other bands – Stones, Beatles, Doors etc. – but we also love softer stuff with harmony like Crowded House and Ben Howard. Our music is all about the layered harmonies; we also set out to find a dreamy delay type sound to compliment the harmonies; we got lucky as our producer had some retro echo boxes which are almost impossible to buy now (he had two so we brought one-off him for live work…) so we linked a few pedals together with the echo boxes and that has become a large part of the sound. And no, I am not telling you the combination.

For new fans out there, what singles/EP’s/Albums has you released so far?

We are planning to release two four track EP’s properly this year on vinyl, CD and digital. We have some fantastic artwork in place from a local artist named Gay Forster and she creates these amazing portraits of local characters in the villages we have lived in Sussex. So the music is almost complete and the art is in place. We will keep you posted of when you can lay your hands on it. You can hear some stuff on Spotify now, but that was a taster to see if folk would like it and we plan to revamp it all up in there…

From the songs you have created which is your favourite and why?

For me ‘Carnival’ will always be special because it was the first one we wrote as Delta Dawn and the first time we discovered the sound that has shaped the rest of the songs so far. But across the board I think ‘Runaway’ is special and also I love the tail end of ‘Can You Hear Me Now’ for the brass solo that our producer played in. Rob Quickenden @ Ford Lane Studios is the third member of Delta Dawn in our eyes and has been instrumental with every step.

What can people expect from your shows?

Our shows are slightly different versions the recorded tracks. It is not a lively and raucous affair; but perfect if you are perhaps coming down or hungover and need some soothing sounds delivered via piano, guitar, percussion and harmonies. We are morning music and chilled evening music..

If the world was going to end and you each had enough time to listen to one album, which would it be and why?

Jesus…Dan is in Vegas right now so I can’t ask him; but I am pretty sure it would be a Rolling Stones record for him. I can’t answer that sadly…I love music too much to choose just one record. I would feel guilty about those that I forgot. Ideally I’d be uber 20C and have a playlist option on Spotify; can I have that??

What are your future plans and goals for your music?

We are putting all our energy into building a network where we can sync our music which can in turn fund the creation of more music. We are set to launch a VEVO and will start by releasing live videos that we recorded last week – alternative versions of our stuff- and we also plan to play live more with a larger band.

Finally, is there anything you like to say to any new listeners out there or maybe to fans who are reading this?

Please do stop by our SoundCloud for a listen: and our Facebook for updates about gigs etc. If you like chilled music and harmony, you will like us.

Also, catch us live: Feb 2nd, BBC Club, London, Great Portland Street (guest list only so like our Facebook and message for a spot); March 4th, Tangerine Bar, Worthing; June, The Great Escape, TBC; June 23rd, W/ Turin Brakes, Worthing Pavilion Theatre.

From what I have heard from their previous projects, Delta Dawn is easily the best work that Daniel and James have created. Their aim is to create music ‘which flowed naturally and echoes a mature sound that has come directly from a long and enjoyable battle in the trenches of the music business’. I think they have achieved this with their style of indie folk that has a pop element mixed in.

When you visit their Soundcloud page (click HERE) you get treated to songs that are filled with this infectious atmospheric tone that draws you in which ‘The Deal’ perfectly demonstrates. Their use of guitars seems to fly under the radar at times but when you listen carefully they subtly add so much to their sound.

Now let’s talk about what makes Delta Dawn stand out for me, the vocals. James has an outstanding tone to his voice that is used to perfection to deliver their great way with words. However, when the both of them combine to sing then your ears are treated to something special. When you listen to ‘Runaway’ and ‘Carnival’ then you can hear how good these guys sound together.

If all this doesn’t grab your attention, their secret weapon of killer hooks will convert you. I am not sure what their secret is, maybe its their experience from previous projects but Delta Dawn know how to create an anthem sound that gets you singing along before you know. No song shows this more than my favourite ‘We Are One’. This song stood out for me when I saw them at the festival and still sounds great today.

So head over to their Soundcloud to give their music a listen and understand why I am a fan. If you like what you hear and want their music for your collection then you can grab the tracks ‘Runaway’ and ‘Can You Hear Me Now’ from iTunes or Amazon.

I am looking forward to hearing the EP’s when it gets released. Hopefully I will get to hear some of their new material when I catch them at the Great Escape Festival later in the year. But, if you can’t catch them live then keep up to date with them by visiting or their social media pages at Twitter or Facebook. Don’t forget, if you like what you hear from Delta Dawn then jump on your social media and tell the world about them today!