10 Minutes With: Delta Spirit’s Matt Vasquez, on being ‘not dead yet’

Delta Spirit

Beloved Southern California indie-rockers Delta Spirit formed in 2005, released four albums between 2008 and ’14 and, gassed from touring behind their most successful one, “Into the Wild,” went on hiatus in late 2015.

It was conceivable that they would never reunite — if you put a GPS tracker on the five members these past few years, it would reveal that they’ve been spread across the globe. Thus fans were giddy, but justifiably questioning, when Delta Spirit got together for a show in late 2019 and then announced the modest 14-date “Not Dead Yet Tour” that arrives in Los Angeles next week.

During Delta Spirit’s time away, frontman Matt Vasquez has stayed in the spotlight, releasing three lauded albums and two EPs under his full name, Matthew Logan Vasquez.

Buzz Bands LA caught up with Vasquez to get an update on all things Delta Spirit:

Buzz Bands LA: What were the circumstances behind the band’s decision to take some time off — did you guys almost break up?

We didn’t break up, and for a reason. But it was definitely time to stop when we stopped. There comes a time as band you stop and look at each other and ask, “Are we in this?” It’s better to take a break instead of somebody getting mad and quitting.

So fill in the blanks — where did everybody go?

Well, Jon (Jameson) lives in Montréal, where his wife works in fashion and his kids speak French … or Québécois. He played for a time in MUNA. Will (McLaren) is in New York; he’s done session work and toured with Mikky Ekko. Kelly (Winrich) has been in Brooklyn quietly making and producing some beautiful music. And Brandon (Young), he’s the only one still in L.A. He’s playing a lot of drums, including for Sam Outlaw, who once lived on the same block as us in Long Beach. [Laughing] The most impressive thing I’ve learned about Jon and Brandon has been their ability to live the life of a 65-year-old.

And you’ve put some miles in, too …

I’m back living in the Hill Country outside of Austin after living in Oslo, Norway, for 18 months because of my wife’s (ailing) father. I’m a California boy, so I was definitely not built for that weather. But I did do a lot of traveling and touring.

Were the lines of communication between the guys always open?

Yes, and it’s been about two years now where everything has been clicking. We have new music that we’ve been working on since 2018, when we started getting together, discussing, jamming and creating song templates. We’ve been recording the songs in O.C,, Austin and New York. There should be some news after South by Southwest.

We wanted to make sure of our touring plans before anything else. We’re gonna be doing the songs we do well, with maybe a new song here and there. I think the music is more of an update than a left turn … I’m not sure anybody should expect “Ode to Sunshine.”

You were pretty prolific as a solo artist — has it been hard to change gears?

I was busy with solo things, but all I give a shit about right now is Delta Spirit. As a group, we are deeply appreciative for all the people who still love our band after all this time. We want them to see a sincere performance, and for us that meant taking a break.

||| Live: Delta Spirit plays Thursday, March 12 (tickets) and Friday, March 13 (sold out) at the Teragram Ballroom.

||| Previously: Outpost Fest, live at the El Rey, “From Now On,” “California” (video, stream), Coachella 2011, live at LBC Harbor, “History From Below”