It’s one expectation that an artist’s voice will careen out the speakers of your choice technological conduit, but it’s a different day when that same voice, who you danced in dead grass patches to and pressed the gas pedal faster down I-95 to, spills out your phone. From out of my iPhone 4 came the indelible rich tone of Robert Delong, famed EDM, moombahton (a fusion of reggaeton and house music), and indie music artist. The following is a real conversation.
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Sarah Schumaker, Shows I Go To (SIGT): First off, I should ask, How are you?
Robert Delong: How am I? Oh, well, I am great. I just turned 30 so that is something I guess isn’t it? Not quite sure how I feel about it, something exciting I suppose.
SIGT: Happy Birthday! It is exciting! I mean at least Jennifer Garner in 13 going on 30 thought so. Do you feel like Jennifer Garner?
RD: Do I … do I feel like Jennifer Garner?
SIGT: Yeah, isn’t it every man’s dream to be a lead in a romantic comedy?
RD: [Chuckles graciously] Yes, yes, of course. I feel like Jennifer Garner.
SIGT: Ok, down to business. How has tour been so far for you? We’ll see you at The Social here in Orlando so soon! Do you have anything special planned for us? (Win Tickets to Robert DeLong at The Social Orlando Here.)
RD: I don’t know about anything special, but it is the last date on this tour so it will be a good time for sure. It’s been jam packed but fun so far. We’re only 8 days in, so it’s been a short time. The shows have been fun, though!
SIGT: Do you find that tour helps or hinders you creatively?
RD: It’s inspiring to me. I have my headphones and my computer and I can create in different places. With tour, there are different environments, accents, everything is something I can pull from and use.
SIGT: Now, you’re originally from Seattle, Washington. That is a huge music mecca. Did you ever feel any unfair expectations coming from that area, or did that drive you?
RD: I loved it. It was such a positive scene. It was huge inspiration. I drew great inspiration from the artists that came from there; Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie. I wrote a lot of melodies there but left Seattle in 2004. I think L.A. helped me find my sound stylistically.
SIGT: Your album, In The Cards, was released September of last year … [It’s] Incredible, by the way. How was the process of making that album, your sophomore album, different from Just The Movement?
RD: It was a totally different process because there were no expectations with the first album. I learned a lot of new skills and methods along the way, and then touring afterwards with that first album really helped. I just honed my process, really. There was about 4-6 years between everything, so I really had time to make it the way I wanted. It was a lot of self-editing but also working with producers which was new and exciting.
SIGT: Some of my favorite words of yours are from “Isabel Street” on your EP Long Way Down, “I hop on a plane back to the states but thanks everybody for giving me something nice to do.” I love that because it’s like you’re breaking that fourth wall and acknowledging your audience and that you’re being listened to. Do you ever feel any outside pressure while creating your music now? Like a need to produce a certain kind of content?
RD: No, not necessarily. I mean it was just me in my garage making sounds for such a long time and I think I always just go back to that mentality and with what feels good and what feels worth releasing. I put it out when it feels like a whole, finished product.
SIGT: There is always a stigma in the EDM world that a song either has good words or a good beat, and you’ve found the perfect marriage between both. Does one come before the other when you’re writing before they come together?
RD: It’s a pretty linear process. It can go either way when I’m working, whether that be I make a beat and hear lyrics, or vice versa … sometimes I’ll play something on a guitar and just start producing it out. I don’t think it’s one over the other, or one before the other, it’s all really woven together for me.
SIGT: Your album cover for In The Cards has the four symbols for Tarot cards on it. Is there some sort of affinity there or hidden meaning for you?
RD: My roommate was actually the one who had those in our apartment. When I came home one time, I was just fascinated by the whole concept — that something could be fated. I don’t think it’s something I necessarily believe in or hold a lot of stock in but it’s very interesting that a person can look at these cards laid out in front of them and invent their own meaning. Everyone brings something different when they look at the cards so it’s all very in tune with that particular person and their feelings. A lot of the Tarot world deals with the inevitability of death, that’s something we all have to face.
SIGT: I think the same can be said with your music and music in general. We all bring our own baggage to a song and use for what we need it to do for us.
SIGT: So, you have a tour run coming up later in the Spring with X Ambassadors, exciting! Any other big summer plans, what’s next on the horizon?
RD: I do, yes. I’m playing Coachella this year, which I did in 2013 as well and that’s always a good time. I’ll be playing other summer festivals too. I’m just staying busy and exposing myself to as much as possible. Music, traveling, exposing myself to new fans.
[He sneezes twice]
Ah! Sorry I have allergies going on right now.
SIGT: That’s definitely making it in. BREAKING: Terrible Allergies!
RD: [Laughs] Yes, they’re pretty bad at the moment. But I am writing new songs and making music always so, yea, stay tuned.
The phone call has ended and immediately my head crashes forward, my eyes forced to squint close and I sneeze too, right on cue. Coincidence? Could this be a sign I’m in the right place, doing the right thing? Entangling my fate perfectly with someone else to push the universe forward in harmonious unison. I look around me and remember I am sitting by a middle-aged tree, the wind rippling through my blouse. Oh, yeah, I’m outside. Perhaps it wasn’t in the cards. Or, perhaps, just maybe, it was.
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Robert DeLong Interview by Sarah “Sweaty Septum” Schumaker.
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What you’ll get for $8.99/month:
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For questions and support, please contact email @showsigoto.com or call (407) 250-SIGT(7448)
Please support our friends who support us! Tell them Shows I Go To sends love! 🙂