When: Monday, October 24th
Where: The Prophet Bar
Times: Doors: 8:00 pm | Show: 9:00 pm
Tickets: Advanced: $10 | Day of: $13 | All-Ages
For Fans of: Broken Bells | Skylar Spence
Rockaway Beach, a working class neighborhood in the shadows of New York City on the periphery of Queens, is a community that sits within earshot of both the crashing surf of the Atlantic and the rumbling whir of New York City’s “A” train. A sublime intertwining of the industrial and natural exists, an environment that fully embodies Lewis Del Mar’s sonic landscape.
Lewis Del Mar is two lifelong friends, Danny Miller and Max Harwood. Inseparable creative companions filled with zeal and confidence, recently epiphanic twenty-somethings. The two have been on a continual musical journey together, a DIY mission that found them ingloriously wading against the current for years. Through a tireless pursuit including self-booked tours and uncomfortable nights on friend’s couches and floors, they have now arrived at the destination they’ve unknowingly sought for years; a 400 square foot bungalow. A humble and unimposing shanty isn’t the haven of most artistic dreams, but it is significant in the amalgamation of this duo’s years of trial-and-error self discovery.
Relocating from the outskirts of Washington, D.C. in search of something new Danny and Max side-stepped the hallowed indie grounds of Brooklyn and found refuge in Rockaway’s desolate, gritty beaches. “Originally,” explains Danny, “we were just coming out here to surf. But, we fell in love. We realized that it personified the vision we had for our music.”“We had to live it to make it come to life,” says Max. The two did little else other than live, write, and record in the tiny living room of their dusty bungalow, a half block from passing ocean-freighters.
Lewis Del Mar’s music is complex and challenging all the while refreshing and comforting. A difficult achievement but one the band seems to do effortlessly without regard for genre. “To be a mix, is still to be,” says Harwood, a statement that resonates in every crevice of Lewis Del Mar’s hybrid creations. An outlook that packs their music with an ever present confluence of inspirations, resulting in riveting tension. The guys proudly crafted a decade of self-taught knowledge into bedroom-recordings of live drums and acoustic guitars cascading against sharp Latin percussion samples and synthesizers; a tug of war seemingly one pull away from spinning into chaos.
With parents that relocated often for careers in global health care and community development, Max learned to play the drums in Ukraine and studied music in Panama and Chile. He and Danny, whose father is Nicaraguan, found common ground in their global panorama. Of their musical upbringing, Danny says “we are the composite of our surroundings. Growing up I always played acoustic guitar because a radio tower near my house interfered with the signal of my guitar amp.” Max adds “We played in basements with friends. As kids we just wanted to jam and play live. It wasn't until later that we got into producing and self recording.” A sonic contrast was introduced when they discovered the seminal Beastie Boys album Paul’s Boutique and artists like J Dilla and Madlib; innovators of sampling. What started as experimenting with samples of latin percussion tones evolved into hours spent capturing the rhythms of daily life in NYC; iPhone voice notes of subway sounds, the crank of a turnstile or even laughter bellowing onto the street from a nearby pub. A collision of formative influence and present-day environment, they found a cohesion uniquely their own.
In July of 2015, after almost two years of meticulous collaboration in a vacuum, Lewis Del Mar was catapulted onto the blogosphere with the independent release of their first single “Loud(y).” The reaction was instantaneous and overwhelmingly positive. Indie Shuffle, Pigeons & Planes, Consequence of Sound, KCRW and CMJ all hailed the song as one of the best of the year. “Loud(y)” made iTunes “Best Songs of 2015” after only two weeks on the platform and landed top 5 on the Spotify Viral charts. Of the band’s very first live performance, The New York Times gave a glowing preview claiming “Loud(y)” was a “clattering profane mixed-media anthem” and questioned if the band’s debut performance could possibly stand up to the veracity of the recordings. A sold out performance that left a line of people around the block provided a resounding answer.
An impressive feat for a band that didn’t publicly exist 6 months prior. There are many layers beneath the headline of “Band To Watch.” An often unseen process of incredible hard work, countless dead end pursuits, and the occasional self doubt. Humility and passion are brimming in Lewis Del Mar’s music, there is a uniquely human element to their sound and message. Undeniably relatable while it continues to keep you guessing, peering curiously around the corner to get a glimpse of what’s next.