Lewis Del Mar: "You just have to jump off the cliff!"
A New York duo winning over new fans wherever they go…
Published: 1:35 pm, September 30, 2016
Life-long friends Danny Miller and Max Harwood have got into a lot of trouble (and broken lots of bones) together. Having known each other since the age of nine, even as teenagers they were fulfilling the rock’n’roll lifestyle. “We were skateboarding and Max broke his arm on his fourteenth birthday. We went home to his house and smoked weed and played music for like a day-and-a-half before going to hospital. He was playing the drums with a broken arm until then,” Danny laughs.
Fast forward twelve years and the brotherly pair live, record and tour together, based out of their home studio in Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York. “In some ways it’s insane,” says guitarist and singer Danny. “So much of the groundwork of writing and recording this album has been just the two of us. It’s a very intense relationship.” But it’s a set up that works well, continues drummer and producer Max. “Although we have different creative opinions sometimes, on the whole there’s a larger frequency that we’re both on.”
Since releasing their bedroom-recorded single ‘Loud(y)’ in 2015 - a commentary on coming of age in an over-saturated society - they’ve toured with Glass Animals, Miike Snow and Foals. “There’s a really cool art to their show,” they say of supporting the latter Oxford rockers in Chicago. “It was really good for us to experience that, because we’re still figuring out how to translate our recordings into a proper show.”
Another milestone for the duo was performing on The Late Late Show with James Corden. “It was great,” says Danny, “he’s a fan and the nicest guy in the world. To call Corden a ‘fan’ would be an understatement, having tipped the duo for greatness. Introducing them on his show, he said: “These guys are incredible, they are going to be the biggest band in the world.” Although the performance was a huge success, they didn’t know what to expect of it beforehand. “I just don’t think anything can really prepare you for playing on national television,” says Max. “You just have to jump off the cliff!”
And their next landmark is just around the corner, with a self-titled debut album released this month. Written in Rockaway Beach and Columbia, “It’s really just a narrative of Max and I’s marriage,” Danny jokes, “the ups and downs, the good and bad, the sweet and sour.”
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Duality plays a major part in their music, as well. “We try to combine sounds and textures that don’t necessarily go together,” Max explains. Looking at their Spotify playlist ‘planes. trains. automobiles.’ it’s clear their musical pallet is wide-ranging, with tracks by Tom Misch, Caribou, Liss, The Velvet Underground, Wolf Alice and James Blake all featured. “It’s early 2000s Shakira meets early 2000s Nelly,” Max jokes, describing their sound. Danny eggs him on, enthusing: “More like early 2000s Ludacris and a little bit of Nelly Furtado.”
As for their impact in the UK, Lewis Del Mar have sold out every show so far. “We fucking love it in the UK,” they agree. “I think the culture is very nuanced in a beautiful way,” says Danny; “whereas everything in America feels very brash.” Their London gig, at The Lexington, was insane. “People went nuts,” recalls Max; “that show was super crazy.”
Manchester’s Soup Kitchen also made a lasting impression. “We played there for Dot To Dot and that was really fun. Those are our favourite places to play - dirty basements. I just love being so close to the fans, it creates a mutual energy,” Danny says excitedly. “There’s no other feeling like that in the world.” Max sums it up best, though: “If they’re feeling it, you know right away.”
Lewis Del Mar’s self-titled debut album is out 7th October.