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American producer and one-man-band Robert DeLong has been on an upward trajectory since he pondered the question, “Did I make you fucking dance?” Australia was one of the first countries to pick up on DeLong’s energetic brand of dance music, lapping his his debut track, Global Concepts.
Since then, he’s toured Australia twice—once, soundtracking Splendour In The Grass and again only months later with Stereosonic. Now, for the third time in under a year, DeLong will return, touring through rural Australia with Groovin The Moo alongside Dizzee Rascal and Disclosure.
DeLong capitalised on the success of Global Concepts last year, releasing a self-produced debut, aptly titled Just Movement. The album further solidified him as a rising star within the dance music playground, though he admits that’s a genre that he still hasn’t fully identified with. Whilst chatting about his upcoming tour of Australia he told us, “I don’t really listen to a lot of EDM.”
It wasn’t the 28-year-old producers plan to be a dance artist. He began his music career as a singer-songwriter in bands before deciding to go it alone. In the early stages of writing solo music, DeLong was crafting alt-style music before he made the transition to dance. “They started out as like indie, synth-pop songs and then they really took shape as EDM songs after that,” he says.
Watch: Robert DeLong – Global Concepts
“I was a computer nerd and played the drums so the music was kind of a natural progression on from that,” he says of his live set. DeLong has in fact become known for his energetic, one-man shows, in which he plays the drums and synths whilst singing. He controls the majority of his sounds through a self-invented Wii-remote that has been hacked to control his MIDI-ready instruments.
His stage setup paints a different picture to fellow producers in genre. DeLong works frantically a behind drum kit, instead of a set of decks. “At the beginning it was weird being on stage alone. But I like it now. I like only having to worry about what I’m doing, rather than other people,” he says.
Speaking with the charismatic American, the conversation often returns to the theme of control. Just Movement was entirely self-created and produced, with DeLong finding it hard to let anyone in on the creative process. “With Just Movement, I’d kind of written all of the songs by myself and developed them so I didn’t really want to hand them over to someone else,” he explains.
Despite taking full control of the debut record, he still can’t listen to it outside of a live setting. “I really haven’t listened to Just Movement since it was released. You listen to the songs over and over again while you’re producing and recording. It’s hard to sit back down and listen to it again,” he says.
With album number two already in its early stages, DeLong is keen to eschew his dictatorial grip, saying, “this time I feel like [collaboration is] definitely something I’ll be looking into.” And he already has a few names in mind, too. “I’d be really interested in doing something with Flume. I think what he’s doing is really cool… Chvrches also, I think [Lauren Mayberry's] voice is awesome.”
Watch: Robert DeLong – Happy
“I hope to have some new stuff for Groovin The Moo,” DeLong adds, indicating fans ought to expect a few changes in his set from his last visit. “You kind of have to change your set everywhere you go,” he says. “Like for Stereosonic last year it was a very EDM set but for Groovin the Moo they probably won’t be into that as much, so I’ll change it up. I dunno, I’m not sure, maybe they will.”
But it’s unlikely he’ll have trouble finding favour with the crowds. Groovin The Moo organisers have delivered their most dance-heavy bill yet. In addition to DeLong, Disclosure and The Presets will deliver sets alongside fresh-faced Aussie producers Peking Duk, What So Not, and Wave Racer.
While DeLong is excited to see the 19-year-old Thomas Purcell aka Wave Racer, he confesses he’s most looking forward to seeing the tour’s heaviest addition: “I’m excited to see Fucked Up. Am I allowed to say that? I’m really into some of that heavy kind of stuff as well as electronic music.”
In Australia for a little under a month, DeLong is expecting to mix pleasure and play. “I’m spending a few days in Sydney where I’ll probably do some writing and maybe work out some hook-ups, and then I’m heading to the Great Barrier Reef too, so I might do some writing there also,” he says, sounding genuinely excited about his return to what is surely becoming his second home.
Groovin The Moo 2014
Architecture In Helsinki
The Jungle Giants
The Kite String Tangle
The Naked And Famous
What So Not