When I first heard Lewis Del Mar’s single “Loud(y)” on Spotify, it stuck out among the influx of indie pop releases that had been filling up my playlists. The duo’s jarring combination of acoustic-driven indie with tribal influences and glitchy samples left me addicted, yet confused. I didn’t fully understand it, all I knew was that it was refreshingly innovative, and they were showing crazy growth on Spotify. (In fact, we hailed them as one of the top 10 emerging artists to watch at SXSW 2016.)
At the time, Danny Miller and Max Harwood were best friends, trying to translate the influences of their childhood into a musical project that they could hang their hat on. This is reflected perfectly in the name they chose for the project, Lewis Del Mar, which is “a play off the fact that their father’s share the name Lewis, and family roots in Spanish-speaking countries (‘del mar’ means ‘from the sea’),” according to the blog Respect Your Youngers. Columbia Records realized their vision, signing them to a record deal, and the rest has been history.
Lewis Del Mar
After releasing their debut album ‘Lewis Del Mar’ in 2016, they have been touring aggressively and gaining fans across the world. We caught up with them at the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama to talk about their growth:
You have seen such huge growth in only two years. You were featured at SXSW in March 2016 and were starting to emerge, and since then y’all have really blew up. Looking back on when you were writing those songs, did you ever think that you would hit this much success this fast?
Danny: I don’t think so, no. I don’t think you ever prepare or envision something like that happening. We always had a lot of confidence in what we were doing. We certainly believe in each other and our abilities to create the music that we want to create, and that feels right to us. But that was sorta like where we drew the line, we didn’t really think about it much outside of the little world that we created for ourselves.
And I think that that’s sort of what this year has been about for us, learning how to transfer the intimate nature of our relationship and our creative process to a larger scale, where people understand who we are and what we do and care about. Because it’s a very personal thing, and before this experience it was something that we were living off in our own corner of the universe, and it’s really just that the corner’s grown, you know?
Max: Trying to figure out how to share our corner with the world.
Danny: In a way that feels genuine and right to us.
You put a lot of thought and creativity into your staging. On this tour, you have a huge screen behind you with videos projected onto it during your set. I met your lighting director last night and he was talking about how involved you were in the creative process. How important is it for your vision to translate in a live setting?
Max: At this point we are about building a world, so the live thing is just an extension of our music and of ourselves. We put a lot of effort into making sure it visually represents what we’re trying to say with our music.
We very meticulously chose a lot of videos for the projector that’s behind us that we think blend the various influences, whether that’s the Latin American influence, or the industrial city influence, it’s just all representing that visually.
Danny: Yeah, we found some really amazing clips from foreign films, like this film Black Orpheus, and we have an old Comme des Garçons commercial in there.
Via @victoriatags on Twitter: Is there any particular album or song that you haven’t been able to stop listening to recently?
Max: You know what I had [stuck in my head]? That Y La Bamba track.
Danny: “Ojos Del Sol”
Max: They’re from Portland, Oregon, and they’ve got this beautiful song. It’s just the most gorgeous song, I just got goosebumps thinking about it. And it’s recorded so beautifully, it’s a beautiful feeling.
Danny: I’ve been listing to a good amount of Bryson Tiller lately. Also this new record by Rex Orange County, he’s from the UK, I love that record, it’s called Apricot Princess I believe [Listen on Spotify].
Anyone else that y’all are working with or writing with?
Danny: We’re sort of expanding into that recently.
Max: We’re touring with Anna Wise, and she is just a beautiful person and a beautiful artist. Having her on the road has been so inspiring and a pleasure. I would just encourage everybody to check out her music and what she’s doing.
Danny: She’s a collaborator of Kendrick Lamar, and a really close friend of ours, and everything that Max said.
What have been the highlights of this tour?
Danny: I think on the most basic level, the shows have just gotten a lot bigger. We just played our biggest headline show in Chicago, there were like 900 people there. That felt to us like entering into a different level and layer of what we are doing, where the message and the things that are important to us and the things we are creating are beginning to translate into other people’s worlds.
That’s certainly a very humbling feeling, but it’s also just a very interesting dynamic, you know? We really feel like what we do is such a reflection of who we are as individuals… We have some fans, I would say the people who are making up 75% of the audience, that are really really really dedicated to what we do, and that’s been an amazing thing to witness. To witness people that have really connected in a personal way to your music.
I mean it’s funny, because in a sense that’s the goal, right? I shouldn’t be so surprised by it. But we are and it’s empowering. When you get off the road and you’re at home or in the studio, you can spend so much time imagining and projecting these ideas of what you want your career to be and how you want to be perceived, but at the end of the day, when you’re on stage in front of people, all that stuff is just residual nonsense. It’s like that is the basis of the essence of the connection that you can have with another person. So we try to each night just take a minute and completely clear our consciences and respect that space as being very sacred. That interaction with other people.
Catch Lewis Del Mar on Tour:
May 24 – Trees – Dallas, TX
May 28 – BottleRock Festival – Napa, CA
May 30 – Chop Suey – Seattle, WA
May 31 – Star Theater – Portland, OR
Jun 02 – El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
Jun 03 – Belly Up – Solana Beach, CA
Jun 06 – Valley Bar – Phoenix, AZ
Jun 08 – In The Venue – Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 09 – Bluebird Theatre – Denver, CO
Jun 11 – Del Mar Hall – Saint Louis, MO
Jun 15 – Firefly Festival – Dover, DE
Find Lewis Del Mar on the internet: