The label of “pop noir” has followed the band Del Bel for years, but it’s a descriptor that Tyler Belluz still admittedly enjoys. Belluz, the band’s composer and producer, concedes that their music can be tough to characterize at times because of their melting pot of styles, from trip-hop to classical and jazz, but the common thread is their undeniable ability to cultivate a vibe and atmosphere. Slow, simmering and considered, Del Bel’s sound unfolds like a black-and-white film noir mystery, gradually revealing layers in a way that draws listeners in with each beating drum, echoing guitar riff or brassy horn. Leading the charge are the jazz-inflected stylings of Lisa Conway, whose voices perfectly bends to each song’s twisting notes.

On April 7, 2017, Del Bel released their third album, iii, which finds the band expanding their already rich sonic universe, this time inviting Toronto rapper Clairmont the Second into the fold on the opening track, “Do What the Bass Says.” Belluz first discovered the hip-hop artist through Toronto’s Wavelength Music Series where he was struck by his “raw energy.” “I thought it would be extremely interesting to not only involve someone at his emerging status, but also see how he would tackle writing rhymes to a band that has never had such a collaboration before,” Belluz explains. The results were a glowing success, and Belluz hopes to work with Clairmont again in the future.

With members of this seven-member band scattered across the country now, it’s hard to plan live performances, but that’s only one of the many things Belluz has planned this year. By the end of 2017, he hopes to hash out a first round of demos for the next album, where they can “hone in on the next inevitable sound,” and release a new music video.