No Help Required

23 April 2014 | 12:46 pm | Benny Doyle

"It’s a little terrifying throwing new material out but it’s a good way to gauge what fits and what doesn’t."

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Robert DeLong has just performed at a gaming convention in San Francisco, which is nothing weird considering he utilises joysticks and controllers to manipulate sounds on stage. But aside from a bit of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, the 28-year-old admits he's not much of a gamer, his unique use of the technology developing from nothing more than a rumour about the potential to MIDI-hack the devices.

“It just grew from there,” he tells. “I just love tinkering with stuff, and a big part of it too is trying to find a way to have a visual aspect to manipulating sounds with computers, because so often you're watching someone playing and you have no idea what they're doing.”

This drive to be extremely visceral is an extension of his upbringing. His father was a jazz drummer in the '60s, and young Robert carried the family torch, playing a range of percussion instruments in a variety of indie bands while studying drums at university. “I like the idea of multitasking and running around doing different stuff,” he remarks regarding his EDM/one-man band hybrid, “And then of course you realise that it's actually fun to watch for people.”

Looking up from the crowd, DeLong seems like a mad scientist when performing. He manically moves between instruments and machines, setting off beats, adding layers, singing harmonies. But after playing approximately 280 shows last year, the LA-based artist no longer considers his gigs merely that, treating them more as flowing performance pieces where sound, light and visuals come together in electrifying fashion.

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DeLong is returning Down Under for Groovin The Moo and bringing with him fresh tunes, testing out the flavours of a second record he's currently working on. “Performing so much, it's pretty obvious which things work and which things don't,” he admits. “It's a little terrifying throwing new material out but it's a good way to gauge what fits and what doesn't.

“But that's what I've been doing for the last couple of months; I've been doing a lot of co-writes and stuff like that,” he says, adding that he's keen to connect with fellow GTM performers Flume (What So Not), Wave Racer and Holy Fuck. “Now, I'm just focusing on integrating some new tunes into the live set and then also releasing a couple of songs here and there, hopefully before Australia but definitely before the [northern] summer.”

And continuing on from his widely successful debut Just Movement, we can expect the same eclectic appeal. “It's all across the board, it's everything from maybe an electronic version of Paul Simon all the way to some pretty heavy house stuff and everything in between. I love the idea of being able to do lots of different stuff and I hope that people go along with what I do.”