Multi-instrumentalist Robert Delong has mastered the simultaneous use of MIDI interfaces, a full drum set, guitar, drum pads, keyboards, laptops and even video game controllers.
Performing live, he loops his music to create fluid electronic dance beats with robust melodies and emotive lyrics. His debut album Just Movement is a vibrant collection of uplifting sounds and friendly pop hooks.
You grew up in Seattle and went to college in Los Angeles. How and when did you decide to do music full time?
Well, I have been playing music all my life. I started out as a drummer. It was in high school that I realized that I was good at it. It just made a lot of sense to me.
How do you leverage video game controllers for your performances?
I use a combination of a game pad, joystick, and sometimes a Nintendo Wii remote. For instance, I can set the joysticks to synths, use the Wii to add a delay on my vocals and shake it around to go faster. The game pad can be a collection of audio samples. There is some computer software to converts it all to MIDI, which makes it easy.
You are signed to Glassnote Records, which is home to Mumford & Sons, Childish Gambino, Phoenix, and Two Door Cinema Club. They haven’t signed a lot of electronic artists. Why did you choose this label?
The decision was mostly synergistic. I don’t see myself strictly as an electronic artist. Glassnote has a very good support network. Rather than compete in the dog-eat-dog world of electronic music, I would much rather be a part of the indie rock scene, which is more of a songwriter’s world. That aligns much more with how I see myself as an artist.
You are performing at a lot of music festival this year, including Coachella. Have you ever attended Coachella before and what are you looking forward to most?
It is super exciting for me because I have actually never been to the festival before. The performance will be fun, but I am most looking forward to seeing all the other musicians. I cannot wait to see all the different live music down there that weekend.
Do you have a favorite live venue where you have performed?
It probably has to be the Observatory in the OC. It was amazing when I performed there. The sound is great, with a very cool room. It is a good spot—pretty much the only one in the area. Their entire staff is super cool, too.
Have you done a lot of world traveling? What is your favorite country?
I actually have not traveled too much. I have been to Portugal once and British Columbia up in Canada. There are a lot more places on my calendar for this year that I plan to visit as I expand my reach.
What do you most enjoy about San Francisco? Do you have a favorite local club?
I have not actually spent a lot of time here in SF. The only performance I had was the Sea of Dreams festival at the Concourse Exhibition Center. I am now starting to make my way into this market. Most of my shows have been either in LA or on the East Coast in New York.
Tags: Coachella, Live Music in San Francisco, Rickshaw Stop, Robert Delong