Latitude: 52° 31..49 N
Longitude: 13° 24..42 E
March 2009. Meeting point: Frank Dellé's favourite spot.
Dellé relaxes at his favourite Italian restaurant having his pizza. With his studio not even two minutes away, and home close-by. “In my life I travel so much that I find it very pleasant in Berlin if everything is nearby and in easy reach.”
That makes sense to me. We sit there chewing on our pizzas. Silent and pleasantly relaxed.
‘Relaxed' would also come immediately to my mind if I were to describe Dellé, although thereare indeed enough reasons for him to feel at least some stress or pressure. At last he is at the final stage of his first solo album “before I grow old”. I break the silence and formulate something along the lines of how is it, that unlike Demba and Pierre, he never really planned a solo album.
“I also didn't..! Look, when we all took a break in 2007, after 10 years at full-steam and three unbelievable concerts at Wuhlheide, I had full and profound emotions inside me. I had the chance to experience diverse and intense joyous moments, and within such a short time…,those weeks were simply indescribable.”
Dellé, who was at first not in favour of the Seeed pause, became a father in July of 2007, one of those moments in life that changes everything. And while his colleagues Demda and Pierre worked on their own solo-projects, Frank dedicated his time to his family, using the time to travel. He spent three months together with his wife and his almost one-year-old daughter in America, at which time his thoughts were not in beats, staves choruses or refrains, instead, in terms of baby food, diapers and vacation planning. After endless highways, hotels, and amazement at the awe-inspiring landscapes of the USA, the road trip ended in New York. The family had finally found a home again, in the Big Apple: a fixed home base.
“But sometimes you know it just grabbed me, and when my wife took to the city I simply had to fire-up my computer to work on song structures and ideas that were in my head. But up until then was really pause, no consequential thoughts on music or so.”
Well.., almost, Mr. Dellé! There were always, time and time again, moments in which the theme was indeed a solo album.
“The first person who encouraged me to go for it was undoubtedly Marco Baresi, the drummer from Gentleman's Far East Band. He was the one, who as early as in 2007 tried to persuade me to make a solo album. For that I'm very thankful, because Marco really pushed me in that direction, “Do it man!” as he would say.”
The decisive impulse came from collaboration with the producer Guido Craveiro. As part of the “Police in Dub” production, Dellé contributed his talent to a single track. When it comes to Reggae, Craveiro's is one of the best addresses in Germany. As fate would have it, it was only a matter of time before Dellé and Craveiro would have found each other.
“Through the collaborative work on the Police dub plate there was a ‘coming together', and a vibrant exchange of beats and song ideas by e-mail. When I was in New York I received an email from Guido, with beats that I had created, and further developed by him. The stuff was fabulous; I just had to kick back and take it all in. ‘King man, I asked myself, if yu don't mek yu roots album now, when den?'
When my wife came home from a walk in Central Park, I told her that I'd make an album.”
Again in Berlin, the exchange of ideas, staves and refrains by e-mails between Dellé and Craveiro developed into real battle of the beats. “Turbo DSL Production” was the name used by both. “The first thing one would do upon arriving at the studio in the morning was to check the mails that were sent from Cologne the previous night. Then newly re-worked material was again immediately sent back. Craveiro's input added yet again more of the right drive. The beats and songs got better and more intense as our work progressed. From that point onwards, I knew for sure that we were on the right track.”
And that is how in a relatively short time an entire album comes into being. An album of which Dellé is proud. He doesn't say it that way, but as he eats his pizza and speaks of the work on the album, and of Craveiro, it's noticeable that he's satisfied. Satisfied that it's good and that it feels right.
For Dellé “before I grow old”, in itself stands to represent the active advancement of his musical and personal life story. The dream of compiling a reggae album in English. A dream that has been his constant companion for 25 years, since he formed his first reggae band in 1984.
“I'm simply thrilled about “before I grow old”, and I look forward to performing live with a tight band in clubs. The summer can come when “before I grow old” is released!"
Without a doubt. We sit and enjoy an espresso after a good pizza.