Tim Delaney is just getting started. Of course, getting started can be an end in itself. Delaney would be the first to tell you that. Then the affable Texan would likely point out that every end is really a new beginning, while every beginning is really just the beginning of the end. Which is to say: Tim Delaney is not your typical shallow musician. Truth be told, he’s not your typical anything. Multi-talented and multi-faceted, he’s a fascinating hybrid: Equal parts poet and philosopher, shaman and shapeshifter, madman and genius. He contains multitudes Whitman never imagined. So it’s no wonder his words up top also happen to be the opening lines from his debut solo EP, appropriately titled Where To Begin. And it’s true: It’s tough to find an entry point to Delaney. But at the same time, it’s forehead-smackingly obvious. For Delaney, it all begins — and ends — with the music.
At this point it’s who I am. Music is ingrained not just into who I am, but it’s also my spirituality. That’s how I view all of this. It’s a way of life for me.
It shows. On Where To Begin, the singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, engineer and artistic polymath makes music that looks to the stars for direction. Music that hears colors. Music that speaks to dreamers, believers, visionaries. Imagine the music Paul Simon would make if he joined The Flaming Lips to record the songs that Brian Wilson could only hear in his head. They’d be intimate songs. Bold songs. Thoughtful songs. Gorgeous songs. Accidental songs. Songs that spoke to and from God. Songs of strangeness, charm and squared neutrons. Songs that sing of lipstick prints from a blown kiss, imaginary friends, and the salty-sweet sweat of morning love. Songs that evolve from monochromatic to all the colours in the universe. Songs that suggest medieval folk balladry played while tripping on mescaline on a rainy day in Laurel Canyon in 1967. Songs recorded in a closet with guitar and ukulele, a Crown Royal bag filled with bottle caps and pennies, and a shaker used in a burial ceremony by a tribal priest. Songs that embrace Plato’s Allegory Of The Cave, the sordid history of MK Ultra and the latest conspiracy theories. Songs that begin with a blessing and end with a curse. Songs that whisper in your ear, caress your frontal lobe, embrace your soul, illuminate your heart and recalibrate your being. Songs that are somewhere between prayer, meditation and mantra — for both the listener and creator.
People who are religious will go to church on Sunday and say prayers. That’s how I view music. That’s how I make music. I don’t know what I’m doing. I get a chord progression and I play it over and over and over again. Then I just start hearing voices. It’s a little hallucinogenic in a way. A little insane, too. I mean, I could be saying a prayer or speaking in tongues. It’s basically the same. I’m saying something over and over again until it becomes real to me. Until it means something to me. Until I see it as an extension of myself.
It’s also an extension of his past. His roots. His legacy. Fittingly, Delaney’s origin story begins at the end of another: His mother’s. She was an aspiring country singer in the ’80s. Her dreams literally went up in flames when his abusive father torched her demos. That fire has fueled Delaney since. It smouldered while he lay in his teenage bed with headphones on, absorbing and deciphering the sounds of everything he could wrap his ears around: classic ’50s rock ’n’ roll, the British Invasion, ’60s psychedelia, ’70s hard rock, ’80s hip-hop, ’90s grunge and more. It sparked when he played percussion in the high school marching band, where he says he truly discovered his percussive sensibilities. It could not be tamped out when he went overseas as a Marine and scored a drum kit one drunken night in Korea – It was only $1,000 and the cymbals were fucking killer. It began to flare when he came home and began studying music in school and on the street, playing in bands in his current base of Austin — working a multitude of odd jobs and making pizza dough to pay rent. Now, as he prepares to unveil Where To Begin to an unsuspecting world, that long-cradled spark is about to burst into a wildfire that cannot be contained by one record.
I’ve got a catalog of over 20 songs that I’m going to spend the next five years breaking up into singles and EPs… I’ve got one full-length that probably won’t be anywhere near done for the next three or four years. It’s tentatively titled Smoke and Mirrors and it will have elements of truth, illusion and social commentary inspired by Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. For me, life is a constant evolutionary process. And it’s the message I want to share: Never stop wondering. Never stop evolving. I feel like if you’re living life right you’re going to change — and change your mind about things. Or at least you should. It’s just a part of growing. You need to always be augmenting your reality.
Which is to say: Tim Delaney is just getting started.
Hearing Things 24/7/365
Tim Delaney would like to thank: