Chasing Waterfalls with Deltaphonic

Andrew T. Weekes, Paul Provosty, Trenton O’Neal, and Logan Sellers of Deltaphonic haven’t just played shows together. They’ve jammed, written, and recorded together; paraglided, hiked mountains, and bought motorcycles together; learned Spanish, crossed rivers, and lived on two continents together; made terrible and wonderful decisions, dragged gear into jungles, and organized festivals together. They are bandmates, teammates, adventure buddies, and keeping up with them sounds exhausting. After months of trying to organize a Zoom meeting, with all four bandmates spread along the Ecuadorian coastline, Weekes finally called me up and said, “We’re coming back into town soon—let’s get lunch.” So over a few days in early May we met up at the NOLA Crawfish Festival at The Broadside, Budsi’s Authentic Thai restaurant, and Frenchmen All Day coffee shop, getting to know each other. Suntanned and smiling, Deltaphonic rolled up backstage to the fest with rolly bags, fresh off the plane from Ecuador. They rocked a high energy, 90-minute set, playing before Lost Bayou Ramblers and Sonny Landreth. Their bluesy, rootsy, soulful, heavy-hitting, funky, solo-laden sound brought great joy to the Jazz Fest dads and everyone else in ear’s length. It was clear that these guys love what they do and I discovered that they bring the same infectious onstage charm to storytelling.

How did you all meet?
Andrew T. Weekes: I was doing something that was the pre-era of Deltaphonic, before, with different people. That started about 2015. We were a three-piece band—different sound. For a while, I toured as a duo with this other drummer. I played this hybrid guitar thing, would play bass with my thumb and finger pick. Then I met Trenton. We played a gig together where we had done absolutely no rehearsal and we had a good time, and then Trenton began phasing in to become the drummer of the band. I met Paul playing at Sauvage Fest, just jamming.
Logan Sellers: I knew Paul. There was a point where I was sorta breaking into the scene and Paul was playing with all these bands.
Trenton O’Neal: I knew Paul before too. Everyone knows Paul.

Paul gets around.
Paul Provosty: I get around.
LS: I filled in for Paul, as a sub. I learned all the songs in two days.
AW: Which is quite the feat, and then we proceeded to do Mardi Gras and all these other gigs together.
LS: It was quick. Andrew almost immediately was like, “You should come to Ecuador.” And I was like, “That sounds crazy. I don’t know.” But I was going through some weird shit with a breakup at the time…

I feel like a band doesn’t end up on another continent without at least one bad breakup.
AW: We’ve got a lot, collectively.
LS: Basically, one day, I was like, “You know what? I’m going to Ecuador with Andrew,” so I did and when we came back we started to want both guitars. Paul and I had already played together in a few other bands, so we were linked up already.
PP: Logan and I have known each other for so long, we know how to compliment each other’s playing. We don’t feel like we need to be the singular star of the show. We approach it from, “This is a band. We’re trying to make the band sound good and then take our solos.”
LS: I really like the Allman Brothers. They did that perfect blend of two epic lead guitarists that were good in their own right.

You’ve all spanned a lot of genres in your other bands.
PP: I played in a band by the name of Earphunk. It was kinda in the jam band scene, kinda funky, with New Orleans flavor. We played all kinds of festivals but then the band ended and I got sober and I met Andrew, so I was already coming off of this feeling of being defeated from losing my band, and then meeting Andrew was this way to rise and start a new band.
AW: We didn’t know if this was forever, at the time.
PP: We could feel it was the real deal. Once Logan got involved, it felt like all the close homies. Me, Trenton, and Andrew went on a tour and that’s when we three became tight, but Logan added that extra element, filled in the sound. Now, I play with Flow Tribe, I play with Deltaphonic, I play with Big Mike And The R&B Kings (that’s the Bourbon Street Chicago blues-style band I play with) and I play with some other people around town.
LS: Deltaphonic has a new song called “Tip the Band” that is a very new version of a really old song that I wrote with my first band, Stone Rabbits. Me and Paul have a band called Lembo.
PP: Lembo is our electronic duo group. We have a song [“Havera”] that has, like, a million plays on Spotify. We lucked out and this song went viral.
PP: We’ve produced rap tracks for Trenton and he raps on it.
TO: I have a track called “Parayd” that Logan and Paul produced that I got [Golden Eagles Second] Chief Joseph Boudreaux [Jr.] to rap on. I play with [Boudreaux] in The Rumble. I was already with Deltaphonic when that happened, so I already had a heart project, but then when that came, now I have two heart projects. It’s super weird. Before that, I was doing a lot of New Orleans jazz. This band is really free. You get to be who you are in the group and there’s so much here, musically, between all of us.
LS: I think R&B is where we line up the most.
TO: Sometimes we have long car rides and it’s funny where the songs line up.

Who’s the main car DJ?
AW: It’s equitable, but after enough hours, none of us want to do it anymore.
TO: Paul’s good at it. He’ll be like, “Look at this new thing I found.” So will Logan. Andrew will be like, “Look at this old new thing I found.”

Photo by Sabrina Stone

What’s the most embarrassing band you’re collectively into?
TO: For me and Andrew, it’s Randy Travis.
AW: Weird country. Golden era country.
TO: Somebody cursed Andrew’s land. They threw a Randy Travis CD onto the property.
AW: We were about to go on our first tour together. I was living over here in the Marigny. I was gardening and I found this Randy Travis CD under the dirt, cleaned it off, and took it on the road. We were traveling in this police car, which we used to travel in. Crown Vic. Total cop car. We were playing this place in Idaho, Ketchum, in Sun Valley. It was a pretty fun gig and the club manager guy was like, “Look boys, I love you. Don’t worry where you’re staying tonight. Stay with me. We’re gonna drink as much Fireball as possible.” He lost by drinking the most. He left and we’re standing outside the club. It’s snowing and cold. There’s police SUVs oscillating back and forth. So we get in the cop car and drive it like 10 miles an hour, and the peak of the song Forever and Ever, Amen comes on, where he’s just shouting all this nonsense.
TO: Randy Travis is the reason I don’t believe in love.
AW: And right as the song peaks, I give it just a slight bump of gas (I’m giddy with delight). And the car just spins out, full 180, into an ice bank and is kinda fucked up, and the song is still playing, forever and ever.
TO: We’re just sitting there, crooked in our seats.
AW: But then we get out of the car and flee the scene and go to sleep.
TO: The moral of the story is, “Don’t buy sketchy cop cars from people you don’t know” and, “If you listen to Randy Travis, it’s gonna get real, real quick.”

We know who plays which instrument in the band, but who plays which role? What’s the band dynamic?
AW: We are all really good friends, I would say.
LS: I would say that Andrew’s the ring leader.
TO: Paul’s responsible for a lot of sound stuff behind the scenes.
PP: I’m the guy who does random things on the computer, like mixing, or maybe I might set up sound.
AW: We all have this ridiculous, really absurd, super dark, satirical, incredibly offensive sense of humor that reflects our world view, which isn’t necessarily horribly negative, but it’s very real and no bullshit about how things function.
LS: It’s liberating in a way, ‘cause we aren’t tripping out in a way that bands usually do. We know we’re gonna make good music and that’s it.
AW: There’s nothing that I like less than when everyone in a room is posturing and it’s this weird ego jerk-off fest. I just want to talk to people if they’re cool.
PP: Not only are we great friends, but I always get the sense that after we play a great show, we all feel really good and stoked on the band.
LS: It doesn’t just feel like a gig. Instead of just playing music, we take it upon ourselves to make the most of where we are. If we’re gonna be in a certain place because we’ve got a gig there, we’re gonna go see everything in that place.
AW: We’re gonna go to the waterfall.
LS: We’re gonna hike the mountain.

You’re an adventure band!
[Nods of agreement]
LS: I have some friends who haven’t ever met the band but just know me and my other bands and now follow Deltaphonic, and they see all the shit that we do and I wonder what they actually think ‘cause we do some crazy things.
TO: I start talking about the things we do and I realize I don’t really notice all the things we do until after it’s happened.
AW: Until you’re explaining it to someone and it sounds insane. If you were to rank our accomplishments in terms of money, it wouldn’t be very exciting. But in terms of experience and bucket list, we’d be top of the heap.
TO: Yeah, we went paragliding right before I came back home and now I feel like I’m gonna go skydiving because of that. We saw almost the entire country of Ecuador on this trip and experienced an earthquake.
AW: It was pretty funny ‘cause a week earlier, we were taking this bus from Quito back to where we live, which is like a 16-hour horrible bus, and on movie number three, it’s the most terrible scenario of earthquakes, some movie called San Andreas with The Rock. They love The Rock down there.
TO: They can smell what The Rock is cooking.
AW: Meanwhile, the bus driver’s up there tweaking out, playing the same three songs over and over, just this high-speed cumbia. We’re watching this “what if” disaster Hollywood scenario of California just being absolutely obliterated by earthquakes and tsunamis and shit. And a week later we’re getting into Guayaquil to play, which is the other big city in Ecuador. And as we pull in, I’m like, “If there’s one thing I can say about this place, it’s not where you want to be during an earthquake.” And the next morning we’re pulling out of this parking garage, more hungover than God. As we get out, there’s water and stones falling off these buildings and people running and screaming. Trenton had a look on his face I’d never seen before. I just got out and stood on the ground and it was like standing on a waterbed.
TO: We all survived.

What is your band house like in Ecuador?
TO: We live in a hilarious way.
LS: Andrew lives in a shipping container.
AW: It’s a completely improvised structure.
TO: Attached to a mansion, basically.
AW: It has beautiful wood floors and a shower with a million-dollar view of the ocean, off of Puerto López. But it’s built in conjunction with a shipping container, which they then built my bedroom in. As I was leaving, the outer wall was starting to fall ‘cause of the rains.

So you don’t live together in a clubhouse, like I was envisioning?
LS: We have, at times.
TO: We’re too big now.
AW: Ever since the pandemic, I refuse to pay annual lease rent, ‘cause I’m moving around, so I’ve cobbled together a variety of pretty comfortable but bizarre living situations. We created Maracuyero [EP released in December 2022] in the garage of the mansion that my casita is attached to, when it was being built. It was some really raw shit. We had just enough mics and computers to make it happen but there was no running water at the time. It was all cement dust and we went to use all these mattresses to iso the drums and then we would throw them down on the ground and sleep on them. We were living off of crates of beer and water and motorcycles.

Motorcycles are cool and exciting but they seem more obligatory down there.
LS: There’s a lot more people that have motos than cars there.
TO: You see four-person families on them.
PP: Your first moto over there is like your first car here ‘cause cars are too expensive over there. They’re not like street bikes, they’re more like dirt bikes.
AW: They’re all the same vicinity of power but some are better for off-road and some are shittier. The level of safety just goes down so hard, but that’s what everybody takes for granted. So, you’ll lay the bike down and have a life-changing terror experience and then be riding again.
PP: For example, the place that me and Logan stay is called Ayampe. It’s about 25 minutes away from Puerto López, which is the closest real city and where we recorded the album. I’m heading there, already sketched out, ‘cause the roads are terrible and I’m going down this hill and this driver behind me is driving really erratically, so I go around this one little pothole and when I go around it, he goes around as well but somehow he loses control and I see in my rearview window that he flies off the side of the mountain. And I was like, “What just happened?!” It felt like a Dukes of Hazzard scene, so I called some help. Turns out he had landed in a ditch, made his way back up, and told me this whole story, in Spanish, that he lost his brakes. And he was in a button-down and everything, just going to work. And he said, “Well, I had a choice. I was either gonna hit you and kill you, or I was gonna drive off the mountain.”

Provosty (on the laptop) and Weekes recording Maracuyero in Ecuador
(Photo courtesy Deltaphonic)

Do you all speak Spanish?
PP: All of us speak it. I learned it in two years. Andrew studied Spanish Literature.
LS: I did all the Spanish I could take in high school. I didn’t really start to learn though, until I went and got a girlfriend from Chile, which is a different dialect of Spanish that’s hard to understand, so that helped me improve a lot faster.
TO: As you can tell, Ecuador has enriched us. I love Ecuador. We could just keep talking about it.
AW: Unless you navigate us to specific questions, we’ll just defer to absurd tales.

I think that’s the goal of this conversation.
TO: We go places that people are scared to go, aren’t willing to go…
AW: I have this thing, when I evaluate people where I ask, “If you were to be dropped off by a cargo plane, into the Congo with $20 and a ticket out in two weeks and no cellphone, would you A) be the kind of person where you’d become best friends with some random person and have a whole adventure and make the flight or just not want to leave; or would you B) freak out and have terrible things befall you?” That’s a litmus test that I imaginatively pass on people. What would you do?

I would like to imagine that, in that scenario, I would magically become friends with some jungle creature there and they would teach me their ways.
AW: Good answer. That’s pretty much our whole business model. One of my life goals is to have been to more countries than my age, which I take very seriously.
LS: I had a random friend that went to the Virgin Islands and the bartender at the bar he was at said that we were her favorite band, and it was completely random and unprompted. It was at Sapphire, the last club we played there.
AW: What happened in the Virgin Islands is a great way to understand the Deltaphonic ethos. The Virgin Islands has basically no music industry, except for some local Caribbean music, but I managed to cobble together enough gigs that it was worth doing, if we did it with austerity. So, I have a friend that lives there. We arrive. We get his truck. Everyone drives on the wrong side of the street there and it’s encouraged to drink and drive. So we toured around in this tiny pickup truck with six of us in it… And so much shitty gear that we cobbled together from friends there. And we’re staying in this dingy, DIY place and then, from playing, we met this really rich guy from New York who just really loved partying with us and he had the crème de la crème villa on the mountain with an infinity pool. So we oscillated from one island, where we lived in a trap house, to the other, where we lived in a villa, driving around in this truck, going to the most beautiful beaches in the world, on the wrong side of the road. And as we’re trying to park the truck at the villa (the roads there are incredibly steep and we had to back down ‘cause some maintenance guy was there) we knocked the muffler off of my friend’s truck and had to cut it off with a sawzall so we could make it to the gig on time.
PP: This is just a window into our lives.
LS: Joe, the New York guy, jumped in to help.
AW: We all love Joe. Something about our ethos really turned him on so he just wanted to day drink with us, and night drink with us, every day until we couldn’t anymore—‘til we couldn’t, not him. And on our last day, his son said, “You guys made him smile, like I’ve never seen.”

Sounds like you can’t be at all precious about gear when you’re traveling.
LS: Here, we like having really nice gear, but basically, in Ecuador, your shit gets fucked up within days ‘cause of the humidity and the trucks.
AW: We all like this prime, nice shit and our guitars all set up just so, but Paul can and will build a Frankenguitar with weird parts that he ordered online, and set it up so it’s real sexy. And then immediately we will take it somewhere and fuck it up so hard—leave it in the sun, in the bed of a truck for days.
PP: For Logan’s birthday we brought generators out and basically created a jungle party, literally, in a place that does not have natural power. We brought out all the gear we could scrounge up in Ecuador and threw an entire rager in the jungle. We brought lights, had a ton of friends to help us move stuff, trucks and everything.
LS: It was epic. Best birthday party ever.

What are the risks of making your lives in such unchartered territory?
PP: Where we’re at is like three-and-a-half hours from where you fly in, so we’re kind of in the middle of nowhere. There’s just one highway. All the roads are dirt.
LS: Before the highway, it was all isolated jungle near the coast.
AW: Eventually, if you stay in the woods there, you’ll get some sort of insect-borne fever thing, that I’ve gotten. You’ll get the chills and sweats and weird things happen… and then you’ll get it again. It’s just kinda part of the deal.
LS: I’ve gotten all the food sick.
AW: Even health is magical realism there. The oldest man in the town is rumored to have been bitten by the most poisonous snake. And when you ask how he survived, they’ll say he just sat under a tree for days and was healed.
TO: Our biggest risks are with Andrew putting Elcuator, the festival, on. It’s a few towns over.
LS: And a few rivers in.
TO: Into the jungle.

Weekes and O’Neal with New York Joe
(Photo courtesy Deltaphonic)

I want to hear everything about how you began your own festival, Elcuator! But, also, is it Andrew’s fault that you all ended up living half your year in an entirely different world?
Band: 100%. It’s totally his fault.
TO: He’s a cult leader. You die for the guy.
PP: Andrew’s like, “Paul, you want to climb your first mountain?” It might be really tough but there’s gonna be so much gratification.” And so you break out of your box and climb your first mountain.
AW: I have a friend who went to Ecuador on some endless surf road trip and found the area where we’re at. I went down some years ago. I’d always been doing this music party thing, which is the root of Elcuator, where we would go out to some place that was incredibly hard to go to. One we did it at 10,000 feet on this mountain—the fourth highest peak in Colorado. We would drive these trucks through the worst rocks ever, up to this high place and then we would haul vintage amps another thousand feet up these rocks. We’d have 30 to 40 people up there, completely cut off but with the best view ever and then we would just rage for three days, camping in the wilderness. We would do that for years, since I was 16. I thought this model would translate nicely in South America. In the past few years we’ve attempted to escalate it to be a legit music festival of sorts so we have really good sound and lights and stuff, but it’s still a savage party in the middle of nowhere.
TO: With fire dancers.

What could go wrong?
TO: The day before [this year’s Elcuator], it rained the whole day.
LS: Me and Paul were driving our motos and absolutely got pwned by the worst weather imaginable.
TO: This is an outdoor festival and you don’t plan for it to be flooded and people to not be able to get there. You plan on it being the best party anyone has ever had.

I don’t watch much reality TV, but “Can you survive Deltaphonic?” is something I would binge the hell out of.
TO: She really gets it. You have to be strong mentally, physically, and emotionally. You need a sense of humor and a good immune system.
AW: You have to be able to haul all the gear, wake up earlier than your body wants you to, haul all the gear again, drink the whole time, drink more, sleep where you can, when you can, then get up earlier again and drive for eight hours on an island road, on the wrong side of the street, with a local you just met, so you can all crash that night in his trap house, while discussing island tings, in Spanish.
TO: And you gotta believe in the music, because if you don’t, why are we all doing this?
AW: And we put the most pro emphasis into when we get together to do the recordings, lots of time and suffering into that. And all of these stories and adventures are reflected in the songs. There’s nothing in them that’s made-up showbiz shit. It’s all reflections of hilarious and ugly things that have happened, usually fused in a slightly hilarious but dark fashion.
TO: There’s the sales pitch.

Last thing I have to know: With all this time spent in Ecuador, have you been to the Galápagos Islands?
[Everyone pulls out their phones in excitement.]
AW: We’ve been to Isla de la Plata (Silver Island), the poor man’s Galápagos.
TO: There’s blue-footed boobies!
LS: They’ve got birds that look like that.
PP: They poop on the island and it makes it look like the island is made of silver, and that’s why they call it that.

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Deltaphonic will be at d.b.a. on June 22nd (back from a Netherlands tour), and Tipitina’s on July 7th. For more info, check out
Top photo courtesy Deltaphonic

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