Robert DeLong on Creating a Compelling Live Show

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In Robert DeLong’s brand new video for “Don’t Wait Up,” released earlier this week, the Los Angeles-based electronic musician was filmed in Joshua Tree with his arsenal of gear that includes keyboards, guitars, drums, MIDI controllers, video game controllers, joysticks, a gaming steering wheel, Wii remotes and gamepads. While the video shows how much the guy can do by himself, the video ties into the artwork for his forthcoming album, In the Cards, slated for release in September on the Glassnote imprint.

The photos for the album were shot mostly in Mohave Desert, and DeLong says the video was shot in Joshua Tree to keep with the aesthetic of the album design. While there’s desert imagery, there’s also tarot iconography, as DeLong says In the Cards is based around the idea of dealing with fate.

“I think the album has a pretty strong and consistent thematic arc and connection to the whole tarot thing,” he says.

DeLong says In the Cards is kind of progression from his last full-length, 2013’s Just Movement.

“The other album has a lot of rave-y elements,” DeLong says. “This is less of those but still very dance-y. Each song is kind of its own self-contained thing. I’ve tried a lot of different things songwriter-wise. It kind of goes through a lot of different styles. I have some songs that are like R&B slow jams all the way to house music to kind of crazy punk drum and bass stuff. So it’s kind of all over the place.”

DeLong says Just Movement was a hundred percent him from start to finish but with In the Cards he collaborated with songwriters and producers, and he says it was cool to bounce ideas off of others, something he hasn’t had a chance to do in the last few years (DeLong was in other bands before going solo).

While DeLong would sometimes lock himself in the closet while working on his debut, making In the Cards has been a different process.

“I’ve been on the road for a lot of it so a lot of the initial writing stuff happens in the car or airports or wherever and then I’ll come on have a day or two off and be able to dig and write some stuff around it and then go back on the road,” he says.

DeLong says he’ll be playing three or four songs from In the Cards at the Westword Music Showcase, and he’s got a new video show with a number of cameras all around his music gear.

“You can kind of see intimately with all this stuff, and then it’s all tied together with these graphic visuals,” he says.

He says his live shows are a just a lot of him running around and creating loops and then going to the next station and playing some parts off it.

“Hopefully it’s fun for everybody. I think it’s sort of a visually dynamic show because of that.” 

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