By Katelyn Sonderman
Robert DeLong is slowing changing the expectations for radio electronic dance music. In a time where most radio electronic music is just a pop song with a new back beat to it, DeLong is producing new beats and taking his audiences on a rollercoaster of emotions. With a sound that is a little dark at times, he wants to stand out from the current scene.
DeLong had been with Glassnote Records for three years with his second album releasing this fall. He’s been touring across the country this summer, and Brandon Miller from Sokol Park managed to snag him as one of the headliners for this year’s Hullabaloo.
At Now! Omaha, we had the chance to sit down with Delong at Hullaballoo, where he talked about fame, music and what he knows about the Omaha music scene:
Now: How has your summer tour gone so far?
DeLong: Everything has gone amazing so far this summer. I’ve toured a lot this summer, doing a lot with different radio festivals, but also hitting some of the major festival circuit as well. Hangout Festival was probably one of my favorites to perform at.
Now: How did you become a solo artist?
DeLong: You know, I never thought I would play solo. I started my career out so focused on drumming, which typically implies having a band to tour with. However, in July of 2012, I started messing around with more electronic music, which allows me to incorporate drums, while doing my own thing. This electronic sound is what got me noticed by Glassnote Records, and allowed for the release of my first album in 2013.
Now: What can fans expect with your new album?
DeLong: I don’t want to be the artist that says I’m going in an entirely different direction. So I’ll call this album a progression, an evolution, if you will. The first album had such a ravy vibe to it, and in this album I focus more on an 80s synth vibe, with drum and bass influence. In this album, there is also a lot more focus on guitar and vocals, as well. The way the album is put together is a lot different. This album is more song based, while the first album was more a mix that flowed together.
Now: How was the writing process for the second album?
DeLong: What’s the saying? You have a lifetime to write a first album and a year to write the second one? Recording is definitely like that. It’s hard work, I’m always writing songs. For this album, I came up with about 40 demos, 14 of which became the album. Since I’m on the road all the time, 75 percent off the time I’m creating a drum and synth beat, and then exploring the beats I like once I can get in studio time. This album was also great because I had the opportunity to collaborate with a lot of producers, something that was a first experience for me.
Now: What effect has Omaha had for you musically?
DeLong: I’m from that era where we all grew up watching Saddlecreek Records and what it put out. I was a huge fan of Cursive growing up and The Faint, as well. My first major tour actually had me touring with The Faint for the first 4 or 5 tour dates. It was an awesome experience, and my first realization that rock stars are just normal people. Todd and the guys were so welcoming. It was a great first experience touring.