MTV Artist To Watch: Robert DeLong

Check out MTV Artist To Watch Robert DeLong.

Meet MTV’s Artist To Watch: electronic performance artist Robert DeLong.

We’re suckers for an innovator, and one-man-band and musical multi-tasker Robert DeLong would’ve invented innovation if he could have. The Seattle electro guru is basically an one-man Rube Goldberg machine, kicking off MTV’s Artist To Watch showcase at New York City’s Highline Ballroom by looping his voice before tying in the crowd’s shouts, keyboard, a laptop, and even an old-school Nintendo joystick.

The EDM mastermind/self-proclaimed performance artist will utilize anything, be it a snare drum, vocal mic, laptop, tambourine, game pads, guitar, and ambient noise — he’s usually got 15 to 20 instruments on stage at once. For all those puzzle pieces, Robert doesn’t employ any backup players — it’s just him pounding the drums, singing into the mic, and spinning dials, all culminating into an EDM, dubstep, electro, and 8-bit symphony.

Read more about Robert DeLong after the jump.

Instantly recognizable in orange (or, in live shows, face paint), Robert’s an authentic mix of his Seattle-meets-Los Angeles background. True, you could immediately compare him to electronic/8-bit acts like Anamanaguchi, The Chemical Brothers, and Moby, but if you listen carefully, you can hear low-key Northwest influences like Death Cab For Cutie or The Postal Service in his melodies.

In “Global Concepts,” a dizzying track with thoughtful, philosophical lyrics and a monster EDM beat, the 26-year-old argues that music and dance are what unites us all, a “concept” he unravels further in his debut Just Movement album, now out on Glassnote Records. The good vibes expand further on “Happy,” an electro earworm that constantly circles back to an inviting set of sunny synths. If you want an up-close look at Robert’s looping prowess, however, check out “Change (How You Feel)” — it’s a tidal wave of dubby beats with a welcoming xylophone overlay, accented by 8-bit blips and beeps.

Now one of MTV’s 2013 Artists To Watch, Robert’s currently taking his dance parties on tour; he’ll hit NYC’s The Studio At Webster Hall in February and then dive into the festival circuit, hitting up SXSW, Coachella, and Governor’s Ball.

+ Watch Robert DeLong perform “Happy” and “Just Movement” live at NYC’s Highline Ballroom, and check out an exclusive interview.

Photo credit: Myles Pettengill