After making a break for it to Los Angeles from Washington state, Robert DeLong found himself submerged in the electronic music scene. But underneath the eccentric rendition in his style, the artist maintains a pedigree that can be traced back to the suburbs of the Emerald City.
Steven Blush, author of American Hardcore: A Tribal History, described the music scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s in Seattle as crucial in its “vibe and ethic.” This same counter culture were those who initially caught a wave of alternative reality, further continuing to inspire generations to come behind the city’s rainy curtain. While more notably, after the grunge era ended with the suicide of Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain, in April 1994, the ball began rolling for the modern indie scene.
It was here, in that same confused phase of late 1990s Seattle, the now L.A.-based multidimensional musician first discovered his roots.
Popular for his play with video-game peripherals, such as a Wii remote connected to a MIDI interface, and use of a drum equipment, keyboards and laptops, DeLong’s music is created by looping it to combine dance beats with his authentic indie melodies and lyrics. Labeled as a “2013 Artist to Watch” by the likes of MTV, Billboard and VIBE, the singer/songwriter/producer/programmer/drummer released his debut album, Just Movement, for Glassnote Records on Feb. 5.
Self-described as a “one-man futuristic dance party with beats as cerebral as Orbital and club-ready as Calvin Harris,” the up-and-coming musician has landed spots at big circuit festivals, such as Ultra Music Fest, Coachella, Governor’s Ball, Sasquatch, Firefly and 12 separate showcases at last month’s South by Southwest music festival.
“It’s a honor to be included in all of these things,” DeLong said. “Ultra was a lot of fun, and I’m really excited to play Coachella. Every time it’s a new challenge.”
As of recently, the musician’s success has not just been categorized through the level of gigs that is booked, but by the success of his album and how the breakout single “Global Concepts” has earned strong play on SiriusXM’s Alt Nation radio channel.
DeLong said Just Movement went gold in Australia as well.
“It took three or four years to write,” DeLong said of the album. “So it’s great to finally release officially with a record company. I’m just excited to see people responding positively to it.”
However, long before signing to his record company; before landing slots at musical festivals across the nation, the kid chasing a dream first headed south to the City of Angels nine years ago with a toolbox of Wii-motes, keyboards and drums to develop a live show.
Although DeLong’s performance, and combination of music style, are not ones to be called traditional, he still relies heavily on composing all of his music in a traditional songwriting sense, he said.
“I think my sound is sort of a unique fusion of the indie songwriter world,” DeLong said. “I draw a lot of my inspirations by listening to different things, taking my favorite ideas and trying to mash them all together.”
Watch the official music video for “Global Concepts” below.