Robert DeLong is the real deal. A musical prodigy, he was exposed to his craft from an early age – and garnered his interest through his father who was a drummer. He recalls writing his first song at the age of four – and started playing drums at school by the time he ticked over into double digits. A few self-described ‘terrible’ punk-rock bands later, the man is heading to Australia. RK talks to him about his return down under and the slew of new music he has been recording ahead of his show at The Causeway, Friday, May 9.
“I have been working with a lot of old ideas that have been lying about,” chimes DeLong. “I’m also working on a variety of new tunes and doing some collaborations and co-writes. I’ve let myself become quite wild in some of my experimentation too and have been pushing in a variety of new directions, trying out everything from pop-centric disco-house to Prince-inspired minimal electronica.”
Indeed, hailing from the USA – the land of ‘terrible music and great music’ – DeLong explains that on balance he feels that the explosion of EDM has been a good thing for the scene. “Now there are kids digging deep into the infinity of sub-genres of dance music and creating some interesting hybrid stuff,” he says. “Initially people were able to embrace the most pop oriented dance music sound, they are now more willing to engage in some of the stranger worlds of dark techno or future garage and so on. And with that, I think the burgeoning underground electronic scene is becoming quite interesting.”
Likewise, DeLong is considered somewhat forward thinking in his approach to his music and the technology behind it. So much so, that he has been known to do things that could rightly be considered well and truly outside the square. “Right now, my setup is basically a metal rack made out of conduit piping that has a keyboard, MIDI controller, drumpad, joystick, gamepad, Wii-remote, wood block, ratchet, snare drum, timbale, small cymbals, headphone mixer, two microphones and computer screens attached to it,” he professes proudly.
“The live versions of my songs are often self-made remixes where I perform and loop various elements. My current set of music involves a number of songs not featured on other records and every song flows into the next, creating a sort of DJ-like continuous dance experience. In addition, we have Go-Pros attached throughout my rig and my video engineer mixes a live stream of my performance in with video content created for each tune, which I cue via MIDI from my computers. Riding it all out makes me realise how out of control this thing is – maybe I should have played flute!”
Finally, he describes with some excitement that he is heading back to Australia for his third trip. “Previously I was here for Splendour In The Grass and Stereosonic. This time, I think people can expect to hear a bunch of my songs, but in some crazy re-contextualisations they might not expect – as well as some new tunes. Also, I have some DJ sets planned over the course of this trip. This is always a fun time to hear me play some techno, deep house and tech-house tracks that I have been digging along with some unreleased tunes I have made.” Bring it on.