Back On The Scene – An Interview with Delphine Coma

Interview  Delphine Coma

Delphine Coma photo by Amendoa Lizzbeth Tamburri

Delphine Coma is the ‘beautiful, comfortably unsettling’ post punk / coldwave / darkwave brainchild of Ashe Ruppe (The Elysium Facade, Trance to the Sun, Nocturn) with some inspiring guitar work and lyrics by his partner Amendoa Lizzbeth Tamburri (Rosebuds), strongly rooted in Texas. Last year critically acclaimed debut full length ‘Leaving the Scene’ , released via SwissDarkNights Label, has created much buzz about the distinctive mesmerizing sound that combines traditional goth, dark ambient, dark wave, minimal synth, and post-punk with tenebrous themes of pain, loss, and longing.

We’ve had an in depth talk with Ashe about the success of his debut, the music scene in Texas, and much more. Enjoy!

1  Thanks so much for the interview! What is the origin of the name Delphine Coma?

The name comes from the Oracle Of Delphi, “The hallucinogenic center of the ancient world”. As the story goes, the priestess, called the Pythia, sat above a chasm in the earth, which emitted fumes. She breathed deeply – some believe the fumes possessed hallucinogenic properties – and slipped into semi-consciousness. Her prophecies were opaque, often frantic. This was the Oracle of Delphi : the most famous and most feared window into the will of the gods.  This is where the band name is derived from.

2  How did Delphine Coma come to exist and what are some changes or adjustments  made during the process?

I’ve had and been in a number of bands since the mid 90s.  Leading up to 2012, I had a band on the East Coast and after relocating to Houston, I renamed the band and proceeded as a solo project under the name Delphine Coma. I wrote and recorded all of the music and had various guests contribute. I released a couple of tracks online, that were good, in their own right, but I decided it wasn’t really what I had in mind. The biggest changes came when I decided to just do everything myself, including guitar and vocals, where as previously I had always brought in other guitarists or vocalists.

3  You have both been involved in Texas music for some time. How has the music scene changed in the past 20 years in Texas? Do you feel it has evolved or devolved?

I’m not from Texas, but I can speak on the time I was there. I did live in Houston for 6 years and spent a great deal of time booking and promoting shows for touring bands, mostly. I did attempt to seek out local bands to help generate a live music interest in Houston, but lack of bands in the city and lack of interest by would be attendees caused me to direct my attention back to my own musical project instead.  There was very little interest in live postpunk, shoegaze, coldwave, darkwave etc., and virtually no active bands in Houston in those genres. Amendoa is from Texas and while she grew up in Houston, she has lived in Austin most of her life. Austin has an outstanding music scene, very supportive concert goers as well as cooperative music venues, and a host of great local bands.  As for the “evolved / devolved” question…I know Houston was a hotbed for live music at one point, unfortunately, that was a long time ago. I’ve seen, more times that not, great artists and bands leave Houston so they can thrive in cities that are more welcoming and have an active live music scene. Sadly, most touring bands, in the genres we’re in, tend to skip Houston fairly often when going through Texas and opt for playing Austin, Dallas or San Antonio. As for Austin, you are never at a loss for bands, musicians, venues, or people excited to attend shows.  Say what you will about Austin, but it’s a music city. Dallas and San Antonio are certainly evolving as far as live music interest goes for the sort of music we do.

4  How have the internet, social media, and digital music changed the process for you both? Vinyl or digital? Haha

Well, I’ve been doing music since the late 80’s, so, I’ve witnessed quite a change over the years.  Obviously social media makes it very easy to meet fans and other musicians from all over the world. Digital music made a massive impact 20 years ago, or so.  Before social media and digital music you had to actually play shows and create a fanbase by being good and creating a buzz. Now “bands” exist without ever having actually recorded any music and sometimes, without actually being good.  The digital world makes is very easy for bands, but it also makes it easy for just anyone to flood the internet with music that may have otherwise been booed off stage 20+ years ago. As for Vinyl vs. Digital? Digital has its place for sure, but Amendoa and I would both have to say Vinyl.

5  Your debut ‘Leaving the Scene’ is a big hit, it’s been on quite a few top album lists and radio shows! How does this make y’all feel?

It’s a shock, quite honestly.  I wasn’t sure people would even bother listening, frankly, but I’m humbled by the response.

6  Sisters of Mercy and Peter Murphy (Bauhaus) come to mind listening to your music. What bands influence you?

All the usual suspects, I suppose.  Marching bands, rubber bands, wrist bands.

7  Are your lyrics and emotions drawn from your life, observing others, or fictional?

The lyrics are very much drawn directly from my own experiences.

8  The pain, loss, and longing really comes through. Is it cathartic?

Sure. The only problem is, when those feelings become recorded lyrics, they are there to stay. While there may be temporary catharsis by releasing them from my subconscious, once recorded, they are there to stare me in the face forever.

9  How does the lyrical writing process occur?  The songs are very coherent. Do you come up with one  that inspires the others?

 It’s not easily explained.  I’m no poet or writer, per se.  Lyrics don’t come naturally for me.  It’s always been a bit of an odd ritual, of sorts. I tend to have to be in the right, or possibly wrong mood to attempt my process.  Once I have the music completed, I record a vocal track where I’m, quite literally, speaking in tongues and drawing from deep down. I generally record a single vocal rough of what sounds like absolute gibberish…Then I sit down with paper and pen and decipher what my subconscious brought to the surface. It’s like exorcising demons.

10  Which song is the most personal to you? Why?

They are all quite personal, actually, but if I had to choose one, I’d probably say “Comatose”. It’s absurdly long, clocking in at a nearly 8.5 minute long funeral march. It has sparse lyrics that float in and out, it isn’t “dance-y” and isn’t a very accessible song for most people. The lyrics that surfaced came from a fairly dark place and repeat like a mantra.  When it came time to press the album I refused to cut the song down to a more “easier to listen to” 4.5 minutes, even though, I’m sure, it’s a song often skipped over on the album. The song “Touch” comes in a close second, and is probably my favorite track on the album. This was the last song recorded for the album and, seemingly, wrote itself. Amendoa had just entered the picture and with the use of her Jaguar bass guitar and a “two heads are better than one” approach to writing lyrics, it became a very personal song for the two of us.

11  There is a lot going on instrumentally in your music. The guitars are outstanding. How do y’all create all the different sounds and textures?

Thank you for the kind words. As far as guitar sounds and textures go, I have a palette of effects I’ve created over the years that have become my “go to” guitar sounds.  My bass sounds are pretty much the same ones I used 20+ years ago.

12  What is the significance of ‘Broken Glass’ and ‘The End is the Beginning is the End’ being instrumental?

There’s no significance. “Broken Glass” didn’t call for vocals and I prefered it as an instrumental. “The End…” actually has a vocal track that floats throughout.

13  Tell me about your special guests and how you chose them.

Domokos, from the band FUTURE BLONDES and I had talked about collaborating for quite some time. When I was working on “Comatose” I asked him if he wanted to put a bass guitar track down and he did.  He and I have collaborated on a few other tracks and plan to do so in the future as well. Amendoa and I started dating just as I was completing the album. She helped by lending her well seasoned DJ ears for some of the mixes and by lending me her beautiful Jaguar bass which inspired the bass line in the song “Touch”. I asked Amendoa to play a guitar track on the song and we collaborated on the lyrics for that particular track as well.

14  Who are the bands you would most like to play with?

That could be a long list, and hopefully will be a long list starting this year. I’ve held off playing live with this project for some time but we are planning to start accepting offers this year rather than having to continually turn them down. I’ve already had the pleasure of playing alongside many of my favorite bands over the years and Amendoa and I have both worked with a number of bands over the last several years in booking, promoting and DJing. If you make great music and aren’t jerks, we want to play with you.

16  Is there anything else you would like to say about Delphine Coma or ‘Leaving The Scene’?

We are extremely grateful for the response we have received around the world with the debut album. It’s far greater than we could have ever imagined.

17 What are your plans for the new year?

As I stated earlier, we plan to start accepting shows. We are currently working on a new album and a series of videos for “Leaving The Scene”. There are also a number of exciting collaborations and releases in the works for this year as well.

18  Congratulations on your success! I am looking forward to seeing y’all play in Houston. Good Luck.

You’ll have to go to Austin when we come through.  Cheers!

Keep up with Delphine Coma :