On "Global Concepts," the first single off his Just Movement album, Robert DeLong wonders aloud: "Did I make you f---ing dance?"
It's a question most electronic artists wouldn't feel the need to ask ... after all, dance is the reason they're doing this in the first place — there's a reason folks call it "EDM," after all. Then again, DeLong isn't your typical electronic artist. For starters, he's signed to Glassnote Records, home of Mumford & Sons and Phoenix, and though he cut his teeth in various punk acts over the years (ala Skrillex), he didn't ditch those musical sensibilities when he began messing with a MIDI. So, really, it's perfectly natural (if not in his very nature) to wonder if his music really does inspire people to move.
"There's a process to it, really. You learn over time what makes people want to dance — tempos, things like that — and, in a lot of ways, I feel like I'm still learning," he told MTV News. "And I think this album definitely encapsulates my philosophical progression ... it's a cool thing in that way. It's a lot of different things that range from almost folk, all the way up to straight house music to things that are a little bit dubstep. It's kind of all over the place, to be honest."
And the fact that he uses a phrase like "philosophical progression" tells you plenty about DeLong and his music. After moving from Seattle to Los Angeles, he began tinkering with various electronics, releasing scores of songs via SoundCloud before honing in on his sound and inking a deal with Glassnote. Just Movement reflects his pragmatic approach — an album of pop hooks and heady electronic flurries that runs the gamut from refined studies in minimalism to dance-floor uniting thumpers — and, he gleefully mixes and matches live instrumentation with samples during his high-energy live sets.
And now, as one of MTV's Artists to Watch for 2013, he's going to have plenty of chances to put his musical hypotheses to the test. After years of toiling away in the laboratory, he's finally ready for his shot at the big time.
"The songs were all written over the past four years, and I'm super pumped to get it out there. It's exciting that people will be able to listen to this thing," he laughed. "My goal for this year is to play as many shows as possible, and I think it's definitely going to happen. I'm just excited to see what happens, excited to meet a lot of people, play a lot of shows. We'll see how it goes."
Head to MTV's Artists To Watch page for more on our picks for 2013