A year later he went to an electronic music festival for the first time and was so enamored with what he heard, that he went home and spruced up his original indie pop compositions with electronic elements.
Fast-forward a bit and DeLong has signed to independent label Glassnote and released his debut album Just Movement, elaborately weaving together house, electro, moombahton, indie pop and rock ‘n’ roll.
“I use a lot of the tools that I learned in school, composition and things like that to try hold everything together,” says DeLong of skillfully yoking all these genres.
“It’s also a lot of trial and error. You just have to try something and if it doesn’t work, you try the next thing.”
What’s even more startling about DeLong’s brand of electronic music, is that it is essentially lyric-driven. He uses Just Movement to explore his interest in evolution, identity and spirituality.
“I write lyrics and I have no idea how those lyrics came about afterwards,” says DeLong.
“I write music all the time but with lyrics I have to be in a weird place.”
In this way, DeLong’s vocals take a front seat, making his sound quite different to any other regular dance track.
Explains DeLong: “I love just instrumental music, especially as a function. You go to dance to dance music. But I wanted to take that energy and apply it to pop songs.”
Perhaps what is most impressive about the burgeoning young electronic artist are his lush live performances which border on the theatrical. He has an irrepressible energy as he nimbly moves between all his equipment, layering loops of sound. His setup looks like something out of an intergalactic adventure, with MIDI interfaces, guitar, drum pads, keyboards, laptops and game controllers. And just when you think one person couldn’t possibly do more, DeLong gets behind a drum set to display his manic drumming skills.
“The adrenalin keeps me going the whole time. I’m always tired afterwards though,” he says.
DeLong’s performance at this year’s Oppikoppi was everything it was anticipated to be, despite his laptop crashing mid-set and DeLong asking the audience, “Africa, what are you doing to me?”
And what is DeLong’s experience of the country so far?
“Totally unique and different to any other place I’ve played, but I love it,” he says. “It’s really been amazing.”