We talked about interviewing De Lux for LYKA at our first-ever interview with DJ Nobody. We’re proper fans. 6 months later, we’re stoked we made it happen. Read about them here.
Hailing from Glendale, California, De Lux is Sean Guerin and Isaac Franco. The duo are multi-instrumentalists, write and record everything for the band themselves, and the end result is a new-wave disco-punk sound that’s redefining present day dance music. Admittedly that’s an ambitious genre, but it’s tough to categorize a band that’s creating the kind of sublimely original music that we all wish more of existed.
The two met in high school and played in separate bands, but came together to write “Better At Making Time” - the song with the contagious bass line that defined the band’s 80’s infused disco-punk EP, which was followed by their debut full-length, Voyage. They originally planned on only releasing BAMT as a single and promoting it by posting fliers around the city like graffiti art including a link to their song. But the song was so good they decided to take the project a little more seriously as a band and start performing it live. Their early demos got into the hands of Scotty Coats, formerly of Stones Throw Records and currently of Innovative Leisure: the label home to Classixx, Superhumanoids, and Hanni El Khatib, to name a few. As their manager, Scotty was instrumental in launching their career, shopping them around at different labels and landing them at a place that was a good fit, putting De Lux in good company at IL Records.
After playing around with band names, they decided on De Lux, combining a ‘luxe’ suggestion from Isaac, with a French flair from Sean’s heritage. “And we were also kind of going for this 70's diva name kind of vibe, which is great, because we’re not divas at all.”
The duo’s songwriting process usually stems from an accidental take or idea, which they then start layering with one of their funky bass lines, infectious synth sounds or cowbell beats. They mix as they track each instrument, and are fans of their organic first takes. They tend to hone in closer on synth sounds created on their Juno keyboards and youthful life experiences that inspire the lyrical content of their music. Combined with their carefree and spontaneous co-writing nature, they create an energetic jam disco product that gets us dancing every time we hear it.
Sean: “I focus a lot on lyrics and sometimes when I’m stumped, that’s when I like to do things - I go out and not just stay in one room, otherwise I’m just going to be writing about a room. Getting out always helps. It’s funny how [writing and life experience] are connected, like I’ll think of lyrics or something that I want to write about, and then the music is just easier to write.”
A De Lux live show is a different experience than listening to their record - they put on a super fun and energetic performance (LYKA ENDORSED). But becoming comfortable playing their music for crowds definitely took some getting used to before progressing into the show it is today. At first, they were just practicing and getting comfortable with their material and audiences, but today they put on a progressive and lively show that stands out from the mundane LA indie scene. They restructured their songs for a live set up and hired a band to take over the live guitar, keys and drums (their homies from high school and the LA music scene). Sean is an endearing frontman and can be seen immersing himself into the crowd and crawling across the floor as he performs. Ultimately, the focus for their live performances has become whatever is the most fun for them. V. entertaining.
A comparison to Talking Heads and LCD Soundsystem is inevitable, yet both accurate influences of De Lux’s sound. They were also influenced heavily by late 70’s disco, and bands like Arcade Fire and Radiohead. Isaac’s influence of strictly 70’s disco and oldies music, combined with Sean’s indie and more modern taste, is key to their ability to create a sound that many generations can enjoy. They recently opened for the legendary Interpol in Arizona, where a loyal Interpol fan who had seen them 9 times, told Sean and Isaac that De Lux was the best opener he had ever seen.
For being music’s “next big thing” (at least in our book), the band still has yet to embark on a nationwide tour, which they’ll leave for in November. Until then, they’ve been playing local shows and festivals here in LA, where they have been previewing exclusive new material. They premiered a new song titled “Oh Man, The Future” at Echo Park Rising, a nod to to our generation and its technology-driven lifestyle. The new material has us so excited for their next record, which is hopefully coming soon. Additionally, you’ll be able to hear their song “Love Is A Phase” in the sequel to Hot Tub Time Machine, if that's a thing you're going to go see. We're seeing it just for the song (and Craig Robinson).
What has been your proudest moment as a band so far?
I: We sold all of our merch at an Interpol show, haha.
S: And we signed an Interpol shirt! These people bought an Interpol shirt but asked us to sign it with all of our names. That was pretty funny.
What’s been your favorite venue to play so far?
I: The Echoplex was really cool.
S: Yeah, The Echoplex was fun for Echo Park Rising. The Echo is always good, but we’ve been playing a lot of outside shows and festivals this summer. Outside shows are cool, but indoors is way better.
Where have been some of your favorite places to travel to?
S: Yeah, this guy just took us over there, so fun. We stayed at this big house on the beach for 4 days.
I: We also traveled to the Netherlands to play a festival.
S: Yeah, we went to France and the Netherlands. But we haven’t even done the states yet, which we’re doing in November.
Where are some of your favorite LA venues/spots?
I: Sometimes I feel like a little hoodlum and I’ll just go to the nearest park. LA River is pretty awesome at night.
S: A few years ago I started going to Echo Park a little bit more and the venues out there, the Echo’s really cool. I used to go to Funky Sole and dance there a lot, and other little venues like The Smell. We like late night donut hangouts…
I: Yeah, donuts are... awesome :)
What’s your favorite brunch spot in LA?
S: Tiffany’s coffee in Glendale… it’s really good. For like, $5 you get a great pastrami sandwich…
I: Yeah, Tiffany’s!
S: They have boba there too! [LYKA says: Hi, Amanda Pham!] There’s this other place on Victory and Sonora in Glendale where they have pulled pork sandwiches… the food there is amazing.
Bloody marys or mimosas?
S: I don’t drink.
I: I only drink liquor, so… haha