Diving into Robert DeLong
's musical world can be a little overwhelming, as we learned when we recently invited the electro whiz-kid by our place for a quaint, holiday version of Bands + Brews in the Baeble basement. When all the gear started rolling in, I must admit...I was a little worried. Drums and keyboards and cage-like hardware contraptions filled our tiny subterranean jam space (where would we put our opener, Panama Wedding
?). There were also two very large flat screen monitors going up to provide the visuals that would accompany his furious live performance. It was all very impressive. It was all very daunting! But, as someone close to Robert later told me, when he rolls into to ANY
space, he doesn't mess around. Doesn't matter if it's 1000 people or 10. Robert is doing it his way...and aren't we thanking our lucky stars he did.
Next week we'll release our capture of Robert's incredible, one-man show. Before performing though, we had the chance to catch up with the Seattle native. We were mainly curious about how all his electronic hocus-pocus started. Turns out he mixed an initial love for the drums with the fact that he could, "play game controllers pretty good, as any kid of the late 80s would."
Those game controllers are a real big part of RDL's world. "The Robert DeLong project started as too many controllers on a table, a couple of microphones, a couple of drums", he told us. "Now it's out of control". That means in addition to the drums, keyboards, sampler pads, cameras (yes cameras...for those giant flat screens I mentioned), and microphones, Robert carries an array of Wii, Sega Genesis, and old computer joy sticks, all hacked for maximum, musical possibilities. "Years ago I discovered you could hack these things and use them as midi controllers...basically the same thing as knobs and sliders. It's a lot more novel and it's a lot cheaper too".
Such 8-bit inspired origins combine with more modern elements on his new 4 song EP, Long Way Down
, which is now available via Glassnote
. As DeLong told us, "'Long Way Down' is the single and it's more of a hip hop thing. The rest of them are more dance tunes." The dance thing DeLong refers to is something he gets a lot, admitting one could describe some of what he does as EDM. "But it's a lot more songwriter and performance focused than I think most electronic dance music is." Still, DeLong adds, "you can definitely shake your ass to it".
Indeed you can, as you'll see in the release of our Bands + Brews Session with Robert next week. Until then, check out a little snippet of the action and our interview with the rising star.