If you claim to be a music-lover and have not yet seen Robert DeLong perform, we’re notifying the police immediately to have you arrested for ‘1st Degree Ear-Neglect’.
That’s an offence we invented just now to scare you into getting along to witness RDL in all his audiovisual splendour. Your offence also carries the sentence of having to download and listen to all of his amazing shit right away.
Mr DeLong is a master of creating phenomenal sounds in ways that no one has ever thought of doing before. And he doesn’t let little things, like having to create a new musical genre, instruments, and live performance techniques, stop him doing the shit he loves.
Over the last few years Robbie’s managed to leave a trail of splattered brains all over the world, from blowing peoples minds on the daily. He has built a name as one of the most innovative and passionate performers in the world today, with legions of face-painted fans in every corner of the globe, and has managed to sell a shit-ton of records along the way. He also happens to be one of the nicest human beings you’ll ever meet, and one of my good mates.
He answered these questions from his home in Los Angeles, California, as I sat asking them in a trailer park in rural New Zealand. He sweetly informed me that he was currently wearing my salmon-coloured pants, that I’d left at his place a couple of months ago. I think all interviewees should wear my pants while we talk from now on, just to really connect on a deeper level.
DeLong has been making us fucking dance for a while now with his genre-bending electro/acoustic/experimental radness, and he’s been back in the studio recording a whole bunch of new stuff recently, the latest of which just dropped a couple of weeks ago!
‘Long Way Down‘, the new single from the new EP of the same name, is succulent. DSM has had a few sneak previews of what’s to come from the RDL camp over the last year,we can’t wait til he releases the whole shebang!
Robbie took some time out of the studio and touring this week to give us an insight into the mind of this tech-hacking musical genius, touching on everything from his creative inspirations, to his plans in the case of a zombie outbreak.
So buckle-in, ladies and gentlemen, for Robert Delong’s Top 3’s*…
*Often there aren’t exactly 3 for each category. Deal with it. ‘Musician’ not ‘Mathematician’.
Robert DeLong’s Top 3’s
Musical equipment Robert DeLong can’t do without:
1. Laptop and headphones
2. Drumsticks and practice pad
3. My ear-brains
I like to use anything else laying around as musical equipment, if possible, so sometimes a microphone and an audio interface are also helpful, but most of my music starts in the computer.
Things that piss Robert DeLong off:
1. There aren’t many things that piss me off…
2. But being interrupted by my phone when I’m jamming out on a new tune in my workspace really makes me irrationally perturbed.
3. One would think I’d just turn my phone off, but I do like the drama.
Songs to run to:
My favorite music to run to is mostly techno and drum and bass.
3. And anything by EastColors are some of the best zone-out running music, though sometimes the driving psych-folk of The War on Drugs is the jam, especially when you are running through downtown LA at 8 am (I wake up this early about once a month, however, so those sessions are far and few between.)
Ways to chillax to the max:
A plate of some sort of fried fish, a pool, a comfortable chair with shade, some chilled-out house music at conversational volumes, the ocean nearby (if possible), a Mexican beer (or 6), a joint of some OG Bubba Kush, and a pair of cheap sunglasses is the recipe for total chillax. Sounds nice.
Other musicians you’re digging right now:
1. Australia’s own Kite String Tangle is doing some cool, chill and emotive indie-pop-electronica that I’m digging.
2. Mystery Skulls from LA is making the post-justice indie-pop house jams for today that are rad-sauce.
3. Drumcell is making some seriously dark and oppressive LA techno that is mind-bending and heavy.
Actions you’d take in the case of worldwide a zombie outbreak:
1.Drive fast towards the canyon of Azusa, California.
2. Bring a tent and some ways to make fire.
3. Hope for the best.
That or stand in line to get assimilated by the zombies, because if you can’t beat them, might as well join them…
Anywhere in Australia, Amsterdam, LA, Upstate New York, and Seattle are my favorite spots, in general, to play.
“Honestly, though, whichever place I am at that day is my favorite place to play, as long as the crowd is getting down.”
Three Things That Inspired RDL to Do What he Do and Be Who he Be:
1. Drums– My dad was a drummer so I was raised in close proximity to a drumset. I think I generally think of music in terms of rhythm, first, and I think drums are foundational to rock music and dance music. Being a drummer also means you have a certain overarching perspective of dynamics of a whole song, so I found producing to be a rather natural evolution for me.
“Also, I treat all of the various electronics I play with as sort of pieces of percussion, and the idea of a “classical multiple percussion piece” was sort of the inspiration for my current setup.”
2. Science– I am continually inspired by the idea that you can dissect almost anything that you could do or think in empirical terms, which can then lay the foundation for analyzing a thing’s function and then extrapolating that function to experiment in new ways.
“More directly put: I find that taking a clinical experimental approach to creativity allows me to try new things that I couldn’t if I were to base my creative process solely on intrinsic feelings.”
Analysis of these feelings leads to understanding some fundamental ways I understand my creative output, which in turn opens me up to broader creativity. I read a lot of popular science, especially related to evolution, and I try to analogize the things I am reading to my current projects and my own process. This sounds highfalutin and pretentious, I am sure, but science is undoubtedly an influence on my work.
3. Going out to see/hear live music– I spend a lot of time going out to experience bands and DJs, and find much inspiration in seeing how people (including myself) respond to performers and new music, in different settings.
“So many times I will hear something live that I might have thought would be lame or cheesy, and get so inspired that I immediately go home and try that lame-cool idea out.”
Being a performing musician means that you are, in essence, creating an experience with some specific function, and so understanding how people respond in different settings is paramount to connecting with audiences, I think.
Things coming up in the world of Robert DeLong in the coming months:
1. I just released a 4 song EP named after the first track, “Long Way Down”
2. I am busy at work on an album that will be released sometime early next year.
3. That and getting my live show super-dope and ready for the inevitable tour-until-I-die schedule that will be coming upon release of the album.
See you all soon!
Check out all things Robbie here at his pretty little internet page
here on youtube
&/or do the follow of @delongmusic on Instagram!
And even though this is kinda ancient now, it’s one of the first ways I really fell in love with how Robbie does his thang, so check it out!
All images © Robert DeLong 2014, All rights reserved.