PHOTOGRAPHED BY BEN MILLER
Robert DeLong was a musical futurist, effortlessly fusing electronic dance music with traditional songwriter sensibilities. He was born into the Seattle suburb of Bothell, WA amidst the aural cacophony of the mid-1980s. Here he discovered his penchant for rhythm through the drum set.
Upon graduating high school, Robert packed up and moved down the coast to Los Angeles, where he immediately began drumming for multiple indie rock and folk bands. All the while he secretly developed his audio engineering and digital production chops, while continually writing songs.
In 2010, Robert began performing the tunes with MIDI interfaces, drum pads, keyboards and a laptop, eventually integrating game controllers, wii-motes, and a full acoustic drum set. Audiences immediately responded, and his show morphed into an audio-visual dance party experience, complete with live VJ, face painting, and a cult following known as the “Tribe of Orphans.”
After residencies in the OC and LA, opening for the likes of Dillon Francis, Starfucker and Porter Robinson, and successful performances throughout LA and at SXSW that garnered unanimously positive press, Robert was set up to lead the world into the next genre-integrating era, being hailed as “The Future of Music.” Unfortunately his success was his undoing: on May 15, 2012, Robert was struck down by a cyborg sent from the future to keep him from proliferating positive messages through his music. He is survived by his two laptops and the extended Tribe of Orphans.
Q: Why do you make music?
A: It’s easier than physics. Also, it’s like voluntary mind control.
Q: Did you think your life would be like this 10 years ago?
A: I thought I would be an astronaut by now.
Q: Family Matters or Full House?
A: Family Matters.
Q: Who will play you in your Bio Pic?
A: Will Smith.
Q: Hometown and State?
A: Bothell, Washington.
Q: Touring or Recording?
A: Both, at the same time.
Q: What kind of kid were you?
A: The kind that knew Q-Basic.
Q: Your Biggest Regret?
A: Not learning how to skate.
Q: The home of the brave?
A: More like home of the bro(step).
Q: 2Pac or Biggie?
Q: The biggest influence on your music?
A: Popular Science & Partying.
Q: The Future?
A: I’ll tell you later.
Q: What do you hate?
A: Nothing, but even that is pretty cool.