“I would abolish all sample lien and intellectual property laws. I know this is a controversial statement, but I think that if artists were free to release music outside of the bounds of legalistic nonsense and were compensated based on the quality of their output rather than on the quality of their lawyers. This is where true progress is made, evidenced by scenes like early hip-hop and acid house where stuff was just being released outside the bounds of copyright law. The way the algorithms work currently puts some unfortunate limitations on our ability to be creative” most artistes would side with Deliriously Serious on this.
With a creative relationship spanning almost two decades, Deliriously Serious has grown from an acoustic rock duo rocking house parties in Las Cruces, New Mexico to a sophisticated genre-bending project that includes an ever-growing cast of frequent collaborators across multiple continents. Besides the culture and atmosphere of the American Southwest, genres like Rock, Dub, and Hip Hop make up the melting pot of Deliriously Serious.
The duo shed more lights on how it was growing up, and their musical journey in a recent interview with Mister Styx of Musicarenagh. Get the full story below:
Follow Deliriously Serious on
What is your stage name
Is there a story behind your stage name?
We have this good friend that promised to pick Dan up one day and never showed up. While he was waiting, Dan wrote this angry poem “I am delirious, completely seriously serious“. This was the summer after high school, and I was doing a lot of four track recording in my bedroom.
Dan came over one day with his notebook, and I showed him a song but I was working on. He recorded vocals for “Deliriously Serious”, one of the first songs we ever recorded together. Somehow it that our group’s dynamic and became the name that stuck.
Where do you find inspiration?
Typically it finds me. I usually don’t have a lot of time to sit down and write, so ideas will come to me as I am going about my day. Every once in awhile, I’ll have a long drive or a solitary task that allows me to concentrate on allowing that idea to blossom. For Roadrunner, I had been living out of state for several years and had really been thinking about moving back to New Mexico, where I’m from. I started out with the idea that I was the road runner, and for some reason I have been chased away from the place where I grew up (“road runner, roadrunner, what you running from?“) It sort of evolved into this classic gunfighter ballad that paid homage to the spirit of the Southwest.
What was the role of music in the early years of your life?
Music has always just been something that I’ve done. Ever since I was a little kid, making up songs or lyrics for parodies. I started out playing bass in some bands in high school, taking music theory and that kind of stuff.
That’s actually how Dan and I first started hanging out, he invited me to play bass in a band where he was singing/screaming in. It was this trippy metal band called Random Red Circles. We used to tape record our jam sessions and drive around town listening to them.
Are you from a musical or artistic family?
We always had music at family events and parties when I was growing up. As soon as I was old enough to play, my parents and uncles would encourage me to join in, playing guitar or singing.
Who inspired you to be a part of the music industry?
I’ve always been inspired by the DYI ethos a punk rock. That’s why I love Ratatat so much because they represent that same value of putting freedom and creativity at the forefront of the process. Fugazi was a huge influence on me, both in the evolution of style as well as in the approach to making music as a business.
I’ve also been hugely inspired by early hip-hop producers, just poor kids in the inner cities who made amazing art with the antediluvian technology that they had available to them. The fact that you don’t need nice stuff in order to make badass music has always been a huge guiding force.
How did you learn to sing/write/to play?
Man, I’ve been writing songs for as long as I can remember. I definitely got more serious about writing in high school. Dan and I were both in a creative writing class and did a lot of slam poetry through high school in college. It was a great context to work on the performance aspect of lyricism.
Coming up with ideas and then presenting them to a group of people in a live setting. Over time, I’ve just refined the process and matched it to the flow of musicality that’s always present in my thinking.
What was the first concert that you ever went to and who did you see perform?
The first proper rock concert I ever went to was when my mom’s cousin and his homie took me to see Tool when I was 15. I have been to little indie punk shows before that, but I’d never seen laser lights like that before. It wasn’t too long before I started playing my own shows.
How could you describe your music?
It’s sort of a Southwest sizzle of acoustic rock meets soundsystem culture, with a healthy splash of hip-hop and harmonic vocals.
Describe your creative process.
We work remotely, as Dan is in Sweden and I’m located in New Mexico. So we’re really a virtual band kind of like the Gorillaz. We let our alter egos run rampant in cyberspace and see what they come up with. In actuality, we start with a basic song and I’ll put together some orchestration to go along with it.
I then send the tracks to Dan who performs some sort of sonic sorcery to get them sounding up to par. After that he’ll compose some vocal melody and lyrical components and record them. Occasionally he’ll ask me to add some other small pieces.
We also reach out to our delirious collaborators to add guitar, horns, vocals or whatever additional flavors that are necessary. After tunes are mixed and mastered, our graphic artist whips up the visuals and it’s off ready to release.
What is your main inspiration?
My life. I use music to process the experiences that I’m going though and the thing that I’m hoping for in my everyday interaction with the world. Every song starts as a seed in a feeling, a thought, or an intention that’s comes to me during my day. Sometimes it will simmer on the back burner of my consciousness for weeks before it finally starts to grow into a proper piece music.
What musician do you admire most and why?
Tash Sultana has been a huge inspiration lately. They just radiate this powerful raw vibe that I can’t get enough of. I just love the combination of all the instruments and styles all at once. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is another one, I just appreciate his relentless foray into the weirdness and his inability to ever stop creating.
Did your style evolve since the beginning of your career?
Our style has evolved drastically since the beginning. We started out as a silly acoustic rock duo, and through the years this project has transformed into an amorphous genre-bending digital monster, it’s able to devour anything that it encounters. But we still keep our sound firmly rooted in rocking out in the living room, if you know what I mean.
Who do you see as your main competitor?
What are your interests outside of music?
Spending time outside, hanging out with my kids, trying not to work too hard.
If it wasn’t a music career, what would you be doing?
No way I could not do music.
What is the biggest problem you have encountered in the journey of music?
I would say putting out consistent content. The drive towards productivity in social media is insane, and it doesn’t account for the lapses in output or the time necessary to make good art. We’ve done our best to keep our social media game on point, but it’s a constant battle to stay on top of it and keep people informed about all the awesome stuff that we’re doing even when we’re not releasing music.
If you could change one thing in the music industry, what would it be?
I would abolish all sample lien and intellectual property laws. I know this is a controversial statement, but I think that if artists were free to release music outside of the bounds of legalistic nonsense and were compensated based on the quality of their output rather on the quality of their lawyers.
This is where true progress is made, evidenced by scenes like early hip-hop and acid house where stuff was just being released outside the bounds of copyright law. The way the algorithms work currently puts some unfortunate limitations on our ability to be creative.
What are your plans for the coming months?
Right now we are working on our Halloween Special with Rabotat Records, and we have an album that we are finishing up – hopefully, be out in the next few months. Lots of things happening!
Do you have any artistic collaboration plans?
Always, we’re stoked to have Chris Smith-Escarcega singing on Roadrunner, we’ve got our horns guy in Pittsburgh – CJ Rhen, check him out he’s incredible, Ian Dolly our virtuoso guitar player here in Albuquerque, and now Zack Manning new/old super talented percussionist in collaboration. Also, Nick from Rabotat is doing a remix for Road Runner, super stoked for that one!
What message would you like to give to your fans?
Don’t stop the rock!