Grammy Nominations 2017
Lewis Del Mar on Living, Working & Releasing Their Full-Length Debut Together
"Lewis Del Mar" is out Friday, Oct. 7.
Lewis Del Mar have undoubtedly been on a steady rise for some time now. Currently, the duo is situated at the peak of a roller coaster ride that's just about to speed off down all the twists and turns that lie ahead -- and they couldn't be more grateful or prepared.
The duo -- vocalist/guitarist Danny Miller and drummer/producer Max Harwood -- have been living, creating and working together for years. The two, who are childhood friends, tell Billboard they are "increasingly similar" and that they make such a strong team because they are -- and always have been -- "friends first, business partners second."
As the Rockaway duo prepare to release their self-titled full-length debut, which arrives Friday (Oct. 7), their excitement and pride in their hard work comes through clearly. They say the record speaks to dualities they have experienced in their own life, contrasting where they were three years ago -- writing music in the basement of Harwood's parents' home in D.C. -- to now -- sharing a bungalow of their own and playing Austin City Limits one day and The Meadows the next. Needless to say, things are looking up.
Their musical future didn't always look so bright, though. After leaving D.C. and the band they were in behind, Miller and Harwood felt as if their fuel was running low. When they first moved to Brooklyn, they both took jobs in the service industry. They would get home late, then spend the evening hours endlessly working on their music though getting nowhere -- a tiring process that left them feeling anxious for forward progression. "We moved to New York to make this happen," Miller says, "and nothing was happening."
One of the lowest points throughout this entire process was when Miller spoke with Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend) -- a regular at the restaurant he once worked at -- about music. He says Koenig asked the simple question of, "What's your band name?" when Miller realized they didn't even have one yet. Eventually -- after deleting most of the music they had created and starting anew -- the duo released their debut single "Loud(y)." While they say they had no expectations for that song, it was received incredibly well and launched them into mainstream awareness.
As for their upcoming debut album, they say they have the same mindset they did then. "It's better to have no expectations," they say, citing the "fickle industry" and its ever-changing landscape. While they may not expect much in terms of the album's reception by others, personally they feel hugely relieved to have the album coming out. Its release marks the end of a long journey filled with grueling hours, stress and self-doubt.
In the future, they say they plan to take far less time when it comes to putting out new music. But for now, the two are focusing on what's next: their first headlining tour. Last weekend, the two performed at both Austin City Limits and The Meadows in Queens, where they delivered a set that clearly captured a breakthrough moment for the two as their music -- the music they had reworked and sheltered for years -- came to life.
These back-to-back festival performances are essentially a warm up, as Lewis Del Mar's tour kicks off Oct. 6. Their future live shows have a high standard to live up to, though, since Miller says the singular best moment throughout this entire process occurred during their set at San Francisco's Outside Lands Festival. He says both of their parents were in the crowd and it was the first time they had seen their sons play to such a large audience -- Miller says they were playing for 6,000 plus people, an unthinkable contrast to the last time their parents saw them play in a 300 capacity venue.
No moment better illustrates the quite literal growth the duo has experienced as of late, which they are entirely aware of. They agree that the last year has been the best -- "We're so grateful to do this together" -- and while they remain eager, and uncertain, of what lies ahead, they are sure of one thing: they will always have each other.