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In part two of the Whole Notes interview with Burlap To Cashmere lead singer Steven Delopoulos, he talks about how his cousin’s near-death experience impacted him, how his faith has evolved and how the band has dealt with bouncing back and forth between different audiences and markets:

Bonham: How did John’s near-death experience test your faith?

Steven Delopoulos (second from right) and his Burlap To Cashmere bandmates (Photo by Chris Phelps)

Delopoulos: I’d lost a grandfather within the past five years and had experiences of illness and then my cousin got hurt. That’s a tough question and a very deep question and it’s not simple to answer because faith is an evolution. It’s really something that, when you get tested like that, it’s hard to see what that is and put it into words right away. God is not that simple, yet God is that simple. God is love, period. God is love. And how do you experience love when a family member is hurt? It doesn’t test your faith. You’re not thinking on those terms. You’re just thinking, “Is he gonna live? Is he gonna die?” You’re thinking about how you’re going to comfort his sister Nicole. You’re thinking “How do I comfort his mother Jean?” You’re thinking these things. You’re not thinking, “Wow, my faith is being tested.” But looking back, it’s been part of this evolution of coming back into a faith-based program for me personally. I can’t speak for the guys. I can’t speak overall and put a stamp on it. That wouldn’t be fair to the guys. But for me, that was definitely a turning point. But there have been lots of turning points for my faith and my growth in my faith.

Bonham: That’s something that takes years to assess, I would think.

Delopoulos: Exactly. Exactly. But yeah, faith is a big part of the way I write. It’s sort of a reflection of Christ within. It’s a reflection of experience. But it’s not an intellectual decision. It’s just something you feel and it’s something you express. When you’re in a situation where a family member’s gonna die, to be honest with you, the last thing you’re thinking about is prayer, even though I did pray. I mean, all I saw was horror. Sometimes that’s okay. It’s okay to go through that process because then you really do grow. You grow from pain. You grow from fear. But you never want to go there again. It was a lesson. Thanks for reminding me.

Bonham: Early on, you guys were thrust into the Christian market having come out of the club scene in New York. Now that you have this deal with Jive and Essential, are you more comfortable with the idea of going back and forth between the Christian and general markets or has the audience ever been that big of deal?

Delopoulos: That’s a great question. It’s definitely a paradox. Dealing with it the first time around when you’re younger, it’s hard to understand it because there’s this agenda. With any marketplace, there’s an agenda. The thing about my writing is I’ve never had an agenda. I’ve never had an agenda as a person. As a band, Burlap To Cashmere has never been about an agenda. But there’s always been a story. There’s always been something mystical behind it that all we can do as human beings is listen. So if you go back to the Old Testament, a lot of those prophets were not perfect people. They were not perfect people. David was not a perfect man. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but he was a mess. They all were. But what made them different from the rest was that they listened and they expressed from what they heard. I think what makes this band a spiritual band and the reason why we do fit into the evangelical, Christian circuit is because we’re not too far off the tree. I’m a Greek Orthodox Christian. I hopefully do as much listening as my evangelical friends do and hopefully express it. To answer your question, we don’t have an agenda. We don’t say that we’re this or we’re that. We try not to wear any labels at all.

Bonham: How has your music evolved over the years?

Delopoulos: That’s a good question. I’m the writer of the group, so I can talk about the songs then and the songs now. The songs now were coming from folk-based music and the songs now are still coming from folk-based music. A song on our first album, for example, “Chop Chop,” let’s say, it was like a Harry Chapin rip-off sort of song and then we have a song now called “Love Reclaims the Atmosphere,” that’s a Simon & Garfunkel-esque song. It all comes back to the guys I used to listen to. So no, it’s not different. It’s more organized. It’s more focused. And I think it’s more true to who we are as much more mature men.

 

Bonham: Do you feel the same excitement from the old days?

Delopoulos: You know what’s funny? We’ve sort of become this novelty act as far as our brand name goes because of our live shows. Thank God! People come back and they keep wanting to see us. So it’s great. We do play some of the old material. We’ll play “Anybody Out There.” But a lot of it is about the new material. The energy is still there. My cousin on guitar can still play all those rhythms. I’m still the writer and singer. So the essentials are all there. I think people who liked our first record have grown with us in maturity. I think they’re going to listen to this and they’re going to get it. They’re going to get that it’s not that different. But it is more mature. We’re organized chaos whereas back then it was pure chaos. Now we’re drinking decaf before shows.

Bonham: Now that you’ve decided this might be a long-term career, how will you go about making that happen?

Delopoulos: It’s definitely about having good help and organization. We are looking to make a career out of this. We are looking to serve the country and play for whomever we can. One of my favorite things about doing this is connecting with fans because they really became family. That’s what I look forward to. I remember being on the road and just having strangers say, “Hey, we’re going to make dinner for you. Come over. You can sleep on the couch.” We were making lifelong friends. That’s what it’s about. In this era and in this time, as much as technology is advancing, everything is really becoming about human connection. To make a living as an artist, it’s about hitting the road, playing shows, connecting with people and that’s it. That’s what I love to do. That’s what Johnny loves to do. That’s what Teddy loves to do. That’s what we’re going to be about. We’re going to be about reconnecting with fans and potential friends. We’re very blessed.

Click HERE to read Part 1 of the Whole Notes interview with Steven Delopoulos.

To stay up on the latest Burlap To Cashmere news, visit the band’s official website HERE.

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