Written by Teyquil Skelton
As I chill out in the comfort of my quarantined apartment, feeling isolated and a bit alone, I was given the opportunity to speak with one of Australia’s most hard-working talents around, lead singer/songwriter Eliza Klatt of Eliza & the Delusionals.
After a few bumps in the road during our technical hardships in trying to connect with one another, we eventually found our way and connected. No matter what, we were determined to talk even if there was a 15-hour time difference between us.
As the conversation began, I opened up briefly by talking about my woes and how the quarantine had me feeling a bit discouraged but willing to find a positive opportunity/outcome out of this lockdown. It was about finding my own awareness and acknowledging the simplicity, the normality and the small things in life that mean so much.
Klatt took the quarantine lockdown as an opportunity to write new songs and create more music in her downtime and I thought that was a great idea and a fantastic way to kill time. Klatt and the band were on tour with the alternative rock band, Silversun Pickups. Sadly, the tour had to end due to the COVID-19 coronavirus and the pandemic.
“The tour kicked off a little before the pandemic and it was great,” Klatt mentioned. Soon after, there were reports about the disease but nothing too heavy. Over a period of a short time, reports became more publicized and more constant. So much more, that they had to call the tour off and immediately return back to Australia.
Klatt also mentioned that during the tour they were meeting fifty or more people a night left and right and wasn’t worried too much about the situation. Klatt was under the impression that if you just wash your hands consistently, you’ll be alright. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and the rapid destruction of the disease became more aggressive as time went on. The band kept hand sanitizer nearby and on their way back home they wore masks to protect not only themselves but each other and everyone else present on the plane. The band knew that this was terrible but when SXSW got canceled it became apparent to them that it was more than just a terrible ordeal, it was a freaking nightmare that is now a reality.
As we switched gears, I began to ask her about the new single “Just Exist” and inquired about how it made her and the band feel about it being number one on SiriusXM Alt Nation for several weeks. Klatt replied, “that changed our careers completely.”
Klatt wasn’t even aware that it was happening but somehow host and programmer Jeff Regan of Alt Nation, heard the band’s song on Australian radio during the graveyard shift, which is usually around the time you might hear it, said Klatt.
Klatt started saying that Regan really liked it, so he started playing it and it got well received by listeners, which resulted in a spot on tour with Silversun Pickups. “Mental” is the word Klatt used while describing how amazing it was to actually play for a crowd on tour and hear them singing your song back to you.
Klatt also stated that they all haven’t had the chance to fully process the moments yet, due to getting ready for the show. When the band landed in America, they met their session drummer who was an American, who drove them to get equipment from Fender, took them to rehearsal, and then off to the first show. Nothing within that time frame left them any space for reflection of any kind during their travels/ living out their dreams.
As Klatt explained that the days were constantly moving, it was a whirlwind of non-stop action, from working almost 30 hours or more in a week, plus their 15-hour flight to America. Klatt felt that the whole thing was nothing short of amazing and I could hear the joy in her voice.
Klatt and the band did do some headline shows on the way back to L.A. before their two-week break and got a chance to visit and play in San Antonio and Arizona. When they got back to L.A. finally, during their time off, they got the chance to process all that was happening and had happened while writing new material and doing sessions. The band was stoked and ready to head back out, but unfortunately, the virus hit hard, so immediate changes were made for their flight back home. Lucky enough that the band did make it as Klatt noted in our conversation that the airlines had put a stop to international travel going in and coming out of Australia. Though Klatt is glad that they made it back to Australia safely, some parts of them are still mourning the cancellations of upcoming shows and seeing fans out and about.
In 2017, the band’s very first single “Deeper End” was nationally released. I asked Klatt if she was a little fearful of releasing their song out into the ether of unfamiliar territory and Klatt replied, “no, just nervous and excited more than anything else and just eager to hear how people would respond [to our band.]”
“Slow Burn” is the term Klatt used to describe how it took a little bit of a time for people to catch on, but from Klatt’s perspective, as long as she and the band liked what they’ve created and put out that was all that mattered. I asked Klatt, aside from music, what is a regular day like when she and the band are not recording, rehearsing, or writing? Klatt replied, that they all live differently and so for her, it’s writing. So basically, Klatt finds the fun within the work she produces through her lyrics. Also, now that quarantine is in effect due to the virus that has the world crippled globally, what better way is there to spend copious mounds of time doing?!
As the conversation extended, I asked her what musical backgrounds did the others bring that helped emerge what the band is today? She said they each possess a different style of approach. For example, Klatt touched on what Tex likes a lot, which is country music. Klatt stated she’s into indie pop/folk stuff, then Tex became interested in what he was hearing. Each member brings their own thing to the band, as Klatt says it’s their own flare and that helps make Eliza & the Delusionals special, one of a kind, one of many, a rare breed in my opinion.
Eliza & the Delusionals are connected to that 90’s alternative groove so when I asked Klatt what were some of her influences from that era, she was proud to mention strong front-women like Shirley Manson of Garbage and Gwen Stefani of No Doubt.
As the conversation reached its conclusion, my last question inquired about the band’s next move going forward once the quarantine surpasses. Klatt replied, that they’ve put out a brand new EP called A State of Living in an Objective Reality and once it’s safe to travel back to the states, Klatt said they’ll be back on the road ready to perform.
Philadelphia is one of the cities that’s on the bill and I can’t wait to see them live doing what they do best. When in a pandemic state, a quarantine shouldn’t make one feel trapped mentally and emotionally. Especially, when bands like Eliza & the Delusionals make it accessible to escape from the worries through the music they create. Take a chance, step out on faith and let the music speak to you. At the moment, it’s one of the most precious things we have and nothing is more inviting than embracing what moves us most and sets us free.