delphy sprung into existence after members kevin stokes – guitar/vocals, rob mayes – bass/guitar, and tracy thompkins – drums, decided to change their name from dolphin due to the number of london based bands with that word in their name. delphy comes from the song title of a mayes penned song ‘julie delphy’s eyes’, a song about mass obsession toward the elite few, in this case an imaginary case of american youths obsession with the french film star. the band had already called themselves delphy before they discovered that there is no h in the stars name, thus the band are named after a spelling mistake and shall probably never get the chance to meet the french film star because the play in a band with the same name or have a song to do with her.
in may 1997 delphy perform the first in their last set of london gigs, drummer thompkins having to return to the us because her visa to stay in the uk had run out. the band were hoping to finally get one of the many a and r representatives from the contacted record labels to actually show up at a gig so they could get on with the business of making music. they played probably their best london show at the bull and gate at the end of may 97, followed by a slot in early june at camden’s dublin castle. both gigs were well attended but not by the record industry. one final show was played at the finsbury park powerhaus, and the band entered the studio to record 5 new songs written while drummer thompkins was in the band. 4 of these tracks would appeal on the bands soon to be released ep.
the band decided to perform a tour of the east coast of america due to thompkins having to return to the states and mayes wishing to take a break from the uk. many people who saw delphy play their london show commented that they had an american edge to their music. stokes vocal style was a slightly left of centre sound, having an appealing human quality to it but the band did originally receive comments regarding the non commercial nature of his voice. during the bands uk phase mayes had penned most of the bands songs, also dealing with all the band management. thompkins pushed for the band to drop singer stokes and pick up a more commercially minded singer in the states, but mayes decided to stick with the line-up for the american shows.
in august of 97 mayes and thompkins were in new york and mayes arranged the manufacture of the bands self released mini album heatseeking, to be used primarily as a demo for american record labels. the cd contained 4 songs from the most recent sessions with thompkins on drums, and one song each from the sessions with pete thomas and steve birss. a nine date tour was arranged for the end of october and early november, and stokes was to join the band for the dates. the band performed the series of nine dates on a shoe string budget starting in new york and taking in boston, philadelphia, washington, hoboken nj, and hokassen, thompkins home town.
the virtually unknown band played successful sets to the hugely impressed audiences who had happened into the venues more or less by chance. the tour ended with gigs in boston’s tt the bears and lastly at influential new york venue brownies, where a couple of a & r types were to attend. the band were in luck this time as a us music lawyer, (the american equivalent of a talent agent), attended the gig, and suitably impressed by the bands performance agreed to act on the bands behalf in securing a record contract. he considered a us $200,000 deal a probability. the band were pretty buzzed after their successful performances and the interest from the lawyer. stokes had to return to london to continue his day job as studio engineer but on a high after the successful tour was committed to continuing working with the band. a second series of american concerts were needed to secure a record deal via the music lawyer and these were tentatively schedule for the american spring in april, allowing the band to recoup some energy, mayes and thompkins journeying to new zealand to continue work and rest, stokes to london to resume his sole source of income.
a highlight for mayes and thompkins, (both committed fans of the pop of british band the cure) was meeting robert smith after their november 97 philadelphia show, after thompkins in a particularly american turn decided to ‘stalk’ the band to their hotel from the concert. smith was presented with a copy of the bands cd which contained a contact email address for the band. a month later the band received an email from smith congratulating them on their music and enquiring about the bands future plans. a few weeks back into the grind of london life and stokes had all but forgotten the buzz of their american tour and opted out of doing anything with the band for another 10 months, preferring to concentrate on his paying career as studio sound engineer, effectively killing the bands chances at securing a deal off the success of their american tour.
mayes and thompkins returned to new york to recruit a new singer and hopefully continue with their music, but the stresses of new york life and finding a replacement for stokes necessitated mayes leaving for london, effectively cancelling the band. delphy have further 12 completed unreleased tracks including probably the bands standout track the mayes composed and aptly title ‘cave me in’ from the bands sessions with thompkins drumming.
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