Outside Lands 2017: Our 10th anniversary awards

Outside Lands 2017Photos by Marc Fong & James Pawlish // Written by Kevin Quandt & Molly Kish //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 11th-13th, 2017 //

Outside Lands celebrated its 10th anniversary this August, and it was a weekend that we can definitively say had its share of ups, downs and unexpected twists. While many found plenty to gripe about, some took away a more positive experience, proving that music festivals and live music events are truly unpredictable even when you have some of the best in business at the helm. That said, the increasingly over-inflated market of music festivals right now can be volatile and may not be a cakewalk for concert promoters as more and more folks are drawn to large-scale events such as Lollapalooza, Coachella and Outside Lands.

Some stated that the 2017 edition of OSL lacked fireworks when the lineup dropped. Others said the lineup catered closer to the 25-35 demographic. There was no lack of opinions with regard to the acts that Another Planet Entertainment and Superfly booked, but it was clear they did have a vision and a bill that stood apart from the pack with a rare group of festival legends in The Who, Gorillaz and Metallica. Below those names led to further intrigue with the return of Queens of the Stone Age, Fleet Foxes and A Tribe Called Quest after a multiyear absence from the live arena.

But many now know that two out of those three sub-headliners were unable to perform for one reason or another, and while these sorts of things are generally out of anyone’s hands, they still take a toll on everyone involved in the days, hours and even minutes leading up to those highly anticipated sets. Alas, when you have such festival production pros who were backed by three insanely spot-on headliners, these bumps in the road can create something different than initially intended, yet equally satisfying.

So, without further ado, here are our awards from the 2017 edition of Outside Lands.

Outside Lands 2017 - Gorillaz


Best three-time OSL performer: Hamilton Leithauser
One highlight this year was the debut of Hamilton Leithauser’s solo act on the Sutro Stage. Having played the festival in 2008 and 2012 with his primary outfit, The Walkmen, his set marked the rare occasion of an artist performing at Outside Lands for the third time, and while Leithauser did have to battle some minor sound issues, he rallied past them like the consummate professional that he is. Short of “Alexandra”, Leithauser exclusively dug into tracks from his collaborative album with fellow New Yorker Rostam Batmanglij (formerly of Vampire Weekend) by the name of I Had a Dream That You Were Mine. The spirited crooner still remains at the top of his game, and his vocal performance can’t be rivaled by even the best. One can only hope that this will not be Leithauser’s final time onstage at OSL as fans clamor to know what’s next from this crooning, indie god. -KQ

Best cameo’d performance of the weekend: Gorillaz
Easily one of the most anticipated acts of the weekend, Gorillaz’s Humanz tour made its West Coast debut on Day 1 at OSL. After a six-year hiatus, expectations ran extremely high for this headlining performance. On previous tours, the band’s members had played second fiddle to the cartoon projections of their alter egos onstage, but everyone was visible this time around. Several collaborators from Gorillaz’s previous albums, including Kali Uchis, Yukimi Nagano and Del the Funky Homosapien, came out to join them, and the Damon Albarn-led group still pulled some even bigger surprises with cameos appearances from De la Soul and Pusha T. The two-hour set also saw Little Simz deliver a blistering performance of “Garage Palace” as well as a string of radio hits that included “Feel Good Inc.”, Clint Eastwood” and “Demon Daze”. With longtime fans and a new generation of contemporaries on hand, there was something truly special about seeing a packed crowd sing along with some cartoon legends. -MK

Best reason to sit in Golden Gate Park with your friends and listen to music: Real Estate
Real Estate continue to tour off this year’s stellar LP release, In Mind, and they demonstrated their live prowess at OSL with a sphincter-tight set of jangle pop. “Stained Glass” got the show started for the rather sizable crowd, which only grew over their allotted time. The Sutro Stage has become an ideal locale for mellower acts to play for slightly-more-seated audiences, and this set felt more loungey than others even though fan favorites “It’s Real” and “Green Aisles” punctuated a strong, breezy performance from Martin Courtney, Alex Bleeker and crew. -KQ

Most in need of performance pointers: KAYTRANADA
KAYTRANADA’s debut LP 99.9% was a highlight from 2016, and the Canadian producer has been continuing his victory lap with banner festival sets all around the world. While there’s no denying the infectious nature of his tracks like “Glowed Up” and “Got It Good” in a large-group setting, we yearn to get a little more out KAYTRA when he’s onstage. To be fair, he has loosened up a little and will toss a quick little dance move or hand gesture, but he still really doesn’t engage his audience much, whether it’s in the intimate confines of Mezzanine or in front of 25,000 strong at Outside Lands’ Twin Peaks Stage. Kay, like many others, was pretty stoked for A Tribe Called Quest to follow, but we all know how that ended. -KQ

Outside Lands 2017 - Cage the Elephant

Cage the Elephant

Next “big” rock headliner (TIE): Cage the Elephant and Royal Blood
While the cancellation of Queens of the Stone Age was a blow a week prior to the event, the replacement that was lined up more than delivered a blistering set of rock ‘n’ roll. Cage the Elephant are now being widely considered festival-headliner material, and frontman Matt Shultz is making a strong claim for that accolade as he continues to elevate his stage act to near-Mick Jagger levels of pomp and energy. “Come a Little Closer” and “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” received hearty sing-alongs from a decidedly youthful crowd as Cage have become a favorite of Generation Z.

But Cage did have some competition at OSL, and these guys are moving at a helluva pace for the crown. Royal Blood have been one of the hottest rock acts over the past few years. I mean, their first single wasn’t even released four years ago. Royal Blood quickly rose to fame in the UK, then set their sights on Europe and lately have become the new darlings of alt-rock radio here in the U.S. with one of their newest singles, “Lights Out”. The bass-and-drums duo make a serious racket for only two blokes onstage, but they put on a show that rivals any full-band act with four or five members. Similar to Cage, the kiddos were swirling up a decent little pit in front of the stage while Mike Kerr belted out an impressive setlist with minimal effort and contributed to the low end in a serious manner. -KQ

Best use of Thai funk in a group setting: Khruangbin
Sure, many think K-bin (short for “Khruangbin”) have Thai origins with their Thai name (which means “airplane”) and their Thai funk-infused groove rock. But this rising trio that met and formed in Texas have steadily built a following based around an infectious sound that feels home both on the dance floor and at the lounge. Mark Speer on guitar is a phenom to behold; his playing style, coupled with his tone, has a true lyrical quality that’s perfect for the trio, which opted to not have a lead vocalist. It was clear that the band, like many fans in attendance, were bummed about ATCQ’s sudden cancellation, so they decided to bring one of their classics, “Electric Relaxation”, to life as drummer Donald Johnson delivered the chorus. Many chuckled and grooved to the track before the band jumped back into a set that featured “Mr. White” and “The Infamous Bill”. We can only hope a sophomore LP is not too far off. -KQ

Best use of a festival billing for a greater purpose: Solange
After a weekend marred with schedule changes and cancellations, Solange was the festival’s saving grace on Day 3. Despite starting 15-20 minutes late, she descended upon the glowing stage in a choreographed flight pattern, followed by her backing band and team of dancers, and segued directly into a soulful montage of hits from 2016’s A Seat at the Table, extending each breakdown with some interpretive dance routines. An outstanding cover of Thundercat’s “Heartbreaks + Setbacks” was seamlessly woven midway into her set before leading into an all-out dance party with deep cuts from her 2012 LP True. Solange then took a minute to touch upon the events that were happening concurrently in Charlottesville. As the only artist on the OSL bill to do so, she addressed the tragedy and utilized the stage as a final public platform before deleting her Twitter account the next day. The evening ended in dramatic fashion with the power getting shut off and the performance concluding with the crowd singing the lyrics to “Rise” in the dark. -MK

Outside Lands 2017: Top 5 things to see, eat & drink

Outside LandsPhoto by James Pawlish // Written by Kevin Quandt //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 11th-13th, 2017 //

Outside Lands returns this weekend for its 10th anniversary, and to get you ready for three fun-filled days in Golden Gate Park, we’ve outlined our top sets that you won’t want to miss, this year’s biggest scheduling conflicts, some potential guest appearances and the very best beverages to drink.

Also, don’t forget to create your own schedule here, and enter for a chance to GO4FREE to XXYYXX’s show this Saturday, August 12th at a secret location here.

Outside Lands 2017 - A Tribe Called Quest


A Tribe Called Quest: While we see how this may be a controversial choice to top this list with the untimely passing of founding member Phife Dawg, it appears this may be the final time the Bay, or even the U.S., get to see the legendary hip-hop group perform. The group’s FYF Fest and Panorama performances featured multiple references to being the final ATCQ shows in those cities, so all the chatter about how extensive this “farewell tour” will be has reached a fevered pitch. Pro (Q)tip: Wanna hear Tribe’s popular hits? They’ll be featured at the end of their set.

Lorde: Sure, she has found herself toward the top of many festival lineups this year, and for good reason, as Lorde is one of the most popular artists out there right now, and her latest release Melodrama will surely be in top contention for Album of the Year. At only the age of 20, the singer’s recent sophomore success has also translated to the stage in impressive ways and will surely satiate the 18-25 demographic before The Who close out the event on Sunday.

Royal Blood: The unfortunate cancellation of Queens of the Stone Age has put a dampening on fans of all things rock, especially since Saturday was stacked in said department. Though some will be pleased with Cage the Elephant as the replacement, it does leave a glaring gap for many hoping to get another hour-plus of fist-banging rock and f’in roll. So, let’s longingly look to the upstart UK hard-rock duo that continues to make waves across the global festival circuit and delivers some amalgamation of Muse and The Black Keys. Expect to hear a solid smattering of tracks from their most excellent recent release How Did We Get So Dark?

Fleet Foxes: Has it really been six years since Robin Pecknold and band last played the Bay Area? Yup! A lot has changed in those years, but thankfully they are still producing their own unique brand of cool-kid folk and should fit in nicely for their premier performance in Golden Gate Park. We’ll be hearing many tracks for the first time live to go along with a different band lineup onstage. While no one who attends the event ever wishes for Karl the Fog, he could fit semi-decently into this set like during Sigur Rós in 2012.

The Who: The legendary rock bands of our parents’ generation are quickly folding up shop and The Who may be the next to wave a fond farewell. While many attendees have griped in various online forums about this closing headline slot, it seems only fitting considering that Sunday has become the fest’s more legacy-leaning day. Roger Daltery and Pete Townsend are backed by a killer band and have been churning out enigmatic setlists the past few years, so expect to hear all your favorites with a few rare gems.

Outside Lands 2017 - Gorillaz



• Sub-headliner jumble: End of ATCQ vs. Future Islands vs. beginning of Fleet Foxes.

• alt-J vs. Gorillaz: There’s likely a fair amount of fan crossover between these two acts.

• “Bouncin’ for Beignets” moves to Friday afternoon from its previous weekend mid-day slot.


• Royal Blood vs S U R V I V E: Seems like an odd conflict, but these artists are playing their first OSL this year and are some of 2017’s most buzzy acts.

• Anyone else notice that two-hour-and-35-minute gap after Kaytranada and Empire of the Sun? We did, too. Our bet is we’ll be getting either an EDM or hip-hop late addition. Does Afrojack fly up from Vegas for the day?


• Solange will now be closing the Sutro stage. We surmise her set was on Saturday after Kaytranada before the shift.

• The Heineken Dome has a mystery set scheduled from 5:10-5:40 p.m. that’s billed as a “Pop-Up Guest Performance.” Our bet is DJ Qbert gets this slot as he’ll be onsite for his GastroMagic set earlier in the day.

• This will be the first time Another Planet has put three acts against each other in the form of The Who, Solange and Above & Beyond.

Outside Lands 2017 - Metallica


• Little Dragon vocalist Yukimi Nagano comes out with Kaytranada to perform “BULLETS”.

• Lady Gaga with Metallica … remember this year’s Grammys?

• Del the Funky Homosapien joining Gorillaz for “Clint Eastwood”. He’ll be at the GastroMagic stage the next day for Kimchi 3030.

• Kali Uchis and Rag’n’Bone Man joining Gorillaz for their Humanz tracks.

Outside Lands 2017 - Cocktail Magic


Fort Point Beer Company: Fort Point has been making waves from their Presidio location over the past few years but has recently started to see the brand grow out from the Bay. Their flagships Villager, a West Coast IPA, and KSA, a Kölsch style ale, will surely please the palate whether we get a typical foggy summer day or are blessed with clear skies.

Whitechapel (Cocktail Magic): You like gin? Yeah, us too. Well, all us are in for a treat as SF’s hottest gin bar will be serving up a few of their signature cocktails in the Mclaren Pass section of the fest. While it’s unlikely they’ll schlep over all 400 varieties of gin they offer at their Tenderloin brick-and-mortar, they’ll certainly offer some of the most complex cocktails offered at any major U.S. music festival.

Bushido’s “Way of the Warrior”: OSL wine curator Peter Eastlake knows his stuff, and while winos will find many of their favorites, it’s this sake debut that makes us a little excited. The can graphics feature some rad little samurai fox character while the contents display notes of raspberry and watermelon rind with a spicy finish. I mean, sake in a can? Yeah, I’ll take two … and arigatou.

Outside Lands - 2017 lineup

Outside Lands reveals its 2017 schedule

Outside Lands - 2017 schedule

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 11th-13th, 2017 //

One day after Outside Lands announced some stunning news that Saturday sub-headliner Queens of the Stone Age will not be performing this year “due to injury” (and then quickly replaced them with Cage the Elephant), the three-day festival has unveiled what every live music fan clamors for … set times!

Take a peek at the festival’s 2017 schedule for its 10th anniversary here and start making your plans for which artists you’ll be seeing at Golden Gate Park this August.

Of course, when it comes to scheduling conflicts, this year — just like every year at Outside Lands — isn’t void of them. For starters, festivalgoers on Friday will have to choose between Electric Guest/Tove Lo, Fleet Foxes/Future Islands and Gorillaz/alt-J, and that’s just Day 1.

Meanwhile, Saturday sees Warpaint and The Lemon Twigs pitted up against one another, along with Dawes vs. Thundercat, Royal Blood vs. S U R V I V E, Vance Joy vs. Kaytranada, Cage the Elephant vs. Foxygen, and Metallica vs. Empire of the Sun. Plus, there’s this …

Outside Lands 2017 - Saturday TBD

The question is, who will it be? Our money is on an EDM act (i.e. Afrojack, A-Trak, Tiësto), considering the festival has barely any superstar DJs performing this year besides English progressive-trance trio Above & Beyond, but anything’s still possible with a little less than two weeks to go.

And finally, Sunday offers its own set of difficult choices, with Bleachers and Maggie Rogers scheduled only 20 minutes apart (as well as James Vincent McMorrow and Sofi Tukker) and The Who, Solange and Above & Beyond all performing at the same time as they close down the fest.

But with so many quality options from top to bottom, you really can’t go wrong. So, keep that in mind when you’re stressing over who you should see. Whatever you do though, make sure to pick up a comfortable pair of running shoes before heading to the park and download the mobile app here.

Pumped for Outside Lands? Go back in time and check out our coverage from 2016 here.

Outside Lands - 2017 lineup

Outside Lands reveals 2017 lineup, headlined by Metallica, The Who & Gorillaz

Outside Lands - 2017 lineup

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 11th-13th, 2017 //

Outside Lands is going BIG for its 10th anniversary.

The three-day music festival returns to Golden Gate Park this August with a lineup for the ages, headlined by Metallica, The Who and Gorillaz. All three headliners were mentioned among our OSL predictions this year, with Metallica pretty much becoming a sure bet last week after Ranger Dave’s not-so-subtle tweet.

Natives of the Bay, Metallica have been on the road in support of their 10th LP Hardwired… to Self-Destruct, and their headlining set at Outside Lands will come toward the tail end of their North American tour during a string of West Coast shows. The Who, on the other hand, have only a limited number of 2017 gigs planned right now, culminating with a six-night residency in Las Vegas that concludes on Friday, August 11th. With that said, we know then that Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend and company will perform at OSL on Saturday or Sunday, with the latter being all the more likely. The festival, after all, has been known to schedule its “older” headliners for the Sunday night slot a la Lionel Ritchie (2016), Elton John (2015), Tom Petty (2014), Paul McCartney (2013) and Stevie Wonder (2012), and we expect The Who to get the same kind of treatment in 2017.

But for Gorillaz fans in the U.S., Outside Lands could be the one place to see the band perform this summer. The festival is one of two North American dates for the Damon Albarn-led group, which headlines its own Demon Dayz Festival in June before making a stop at Festival d’été de Québec in Quebec City a month later. The same could even be said for sub-headliner Queens of the Stone Age, considering that OSL is their first scheduled North American show this year. The same, however, definitely can’t be said for Lorde, who is making the festival rounds with Coachella, JazzFest, Governor’s Ball, FPSF, Bonnaroo, Glastonbury, Rock Werchter, OpenAir St. Gallen, Fuji Rock, Lollapalooza, Osheaga and now OSL all on her current tour schedule.

Other standout acts lined up for OSL this year include A Tribe Called Quest, alt-J, Above & Beyond, Fleet Foxes, Empire of the Sun, The Avett Brothers, Belle and Sebastian, Solange, Future Islands, ScHoolboy Q, Young the Giant, Rebelution, Vance Joy, Tove Lo, Bleachers, Little Dragon, Kaytranada, Action Bronson, Sleigh Bells, Royal Blood, Shovels & Rope, Dr. Octagon, Louis the Child, Thundercat, Dawes, Warpaint, Rag’n’Bone Man, Bomba Estéreo, Temples, Real Estate, RAC, James Vincent McMorrow, K.Flay, MUNA, Hamilton Leithauser, Sofi Tukker, Maggie Rogers, Foxygen, Goldroom, SOHN, Electric Guest, How to Dress Well, Hundred Waters, Noname and many more. Check out the poster above for the rest of this year’s bill.

Boasting six consecutive sellouts to date, Outside Lands is sure to do the same in 2017 and will once again include a full lineup of comedy performances in addition to its famed Beer Lands, Wine Lands and Choco Lands + Cheese Lands. Of course, you’d have a tough time finding much better food and drink at a music festival than what Outside Lands offers.

If you missed out on Eager Beaver tickets last Thursday, you can buy Outside Lands tickets starting this Thursday, April 6th at 10 a.m. It’s worth mentioning, though, that with the new lineup also comes increased ticket prices. Three-day GA passes are up to $375 and three-day VIP passes have climbed to $795. Shuttle passes and parking passes, meanwhile, will be sold for $48 and $255, respectively. And though the festival makes no mention of it yet, single-day tickets are usually sold at a later time.

UPDATE (June 6th): Outside Lands has unveiled its daily lineups for 2017, and not to pat ourselves on the back, but our predictions for which days the festival’s headliners would perform were right on point, with Gorillaz performing Friday, Metallica storming the stage Saturday and The Who closing things down Sunday. Check out the daily schedules below before single-day tickets go on sale this Thursday, June 8th at 10 a.m. PT.

Outside Lands 2017 - daily lineups

UPDATE (July 31st): Outside Lands has announced that Queens of the Stone Age, after all, will not perform this year “due to injury” and have been replaced by Cage the Elephant. No details on the “injury” have been released at this time.

UPDATE (August 1st): The festival has revealed the schedule for its 10th edition. Take a peek here and start mapping out who you’ll be seeing at Golden Gate Park.

Can’t wait for Outside Lands’ 10th edition? Check out our coverage from 2016 here.

Outside Lands 2016 - Beach House

Challenging ‘the nature of man’ with Deltron 3030

Deltron-3030_postPhotos by Kory Thibeault // Written by Molly Kish //

Del the Funky Homosapien, Dan the Automator and Kid Koala brought their brand-new album Event II to their hometown audience at The Fillmore last Saturday. They joined forces once again as Deltron 3030, and a full orchestra accompanied the Hieroglyphics labelmates.

Directly after the Joseph Gordon Levitt-narrated “Stargate” intro, the Deltron 3030 Orchestra, conducted by a maestro clad Dan the Automator, fittingly broke into “Return”. Bringing life to old classics with the help of top-notch turntabalism from DJ and local legend Kid Koala, the full band and vocal ensemble took the fully packed Fillmore to a whole new astral plane.

Smoke hung languidly in the air as the crowd rocked to the interstellar groove and futuristic lyrics brought hard by Dan and Del, whose undeniable chemistry commanded the stage and was backed by an all-star cast of bay area producers and immensely talented touring bandmates.

After a full set and two-song encore, Showbams got a chance to catch up with the hip-hop royalty. Kicking it amongst Bay Area friends and family in the legendary Fillmore balcony, we sat down with Del the Funky Homosapien and Dan the Automator to rap about the post-apocalyptic past, the “fucked up present” and the chicken-masked murdering future of Deltron 3030.


Showbams: Del, I know today is kind of a big day for you. Twenty years ago your second album, No Need For Alarm came out, it was the first release after you parted creative ways with your cousin Ice Cube and ultimately was the official introduction of the Hieroglyphics crew. What ultimately was the reason you wanted to branch out on your own as an artist and producer?

Del: Um, it’s kind of funny but basically my peer group at the time with my first album, they kind of made fun of me. You know what I’m saying, because I guess in their minds it wasn’t like real hip hop or whatever. Because Cube was on board it was a shinier sound and I was using P-Funk, so I guess to them it meant that it wasn’t “real hip hop”.

So after some time it just kind of depressed me, you know what I mean. Because you know, you want your peer group to like what you’re doing and whatever. So from that came No Need For Alarm. Really, I was just trying to prove a point to people. Now looking back, it was just so foolish, it’s like, “Wow, I was depressed for years because of that.” Now it doesn’t even matter. They were probably just hating because I was on the scene at the time, and they weren’t doing nothing. Looking back at it now, that was pretty much what it was.

For Cube, it wasn’t like I just didn’t want to work with him, I actually really enjoyed doing so on that first album. It is still one of my favorite experiences in the studio ever. I learned a lot of stuff them. They taught me a lot and I had a lot of fun with them, they were hella funny. But on the second album, I just wanted to go back to what I was doing, like at the Onion Lab (shout out to Onion). I used to go to his house and make demos, basically. You know practice our craft before we came out, that’s how we started getting known around the Bay Area.

So, I went back to more of that style just to let people know, I’m still there. I didn’t sell out or whatever you think and I’ve just been going harder and harder ever since then.

Showbams: Did you always want to do something like Hieroglyphics, with a whole rap collective in the East Bay, or was this something that just kind of naturally transpired?

Del: You know what? It wasn’t really something that I made, that was something that just kind of happened. There was only so many people that were just about “really rapping” in the Bay Area anyways, it wasn’t like there was hella’ us you know? But really whoever was close knit and got together the most, I guess became the general band, Hieroglyphics. That’s just the way it was, it wasn’t really a creation of mine.

But if I want to be real about it, me, A-Plus and Tajai is pretty much Hieroglyphics, because we’ve know each other the longest since like second and third grade. We was always into hip-hop, so it was from the beginning never about money or nothing like that, because that wasn’t even a dream back then. It wasn’t even a thought in our mind that could ever happen. We were just doing it because we loved it so much.

Showbams: That whole album in general really helped to expose the regional sound of Bay Area hip-hop, the style of the era, and eventually in 1997 the formation of your own record label. As an artist in charge of their own label, what can you say are some of the positive aspects of assuming complete responsibility over your work and what you put out?

Del: I guess it’s like anything you take total control over, it’s all up to you. So, if you know what you’re doing and you’re good at it and can stay on top of it, it can be great! But, you know you’re still going to need help from other people, no matter what you do. You’re going to need distributors, somebody to press something up or to make something happen for you, or whatever. So, it’s never just on you, but your creative output is.

It’s up to you whether people buy it or not, whether you’re hip enough to really communicate with your fans and be able to translate that into something people are going to want to buy. If you sign to a label, they’ve definitely got the money and the power to make you omnipresent. You can be everywhere at once, you know. Which might help you sell records or might not help you sell records, but if you’ve got something going they can help you take it to the next level.

I’m not against major labels, it’s just that they have so much money and stakes behind whatever it is they feel like they can have a say in the creative process. That’s pretty much the basis of it, everything’s got it’s ups and downs, pros and cons, you just gotta take it the way you want to take it. If you want to be a real big star then go and do it. Personally, I need some of my freedom and my privacy so I’m not really going that route.


Showbams: A few years later, you synced up with Dan and Kid Koala to form Deltron 3030. Dan, you had been on the local scene for a minute working with Kool Keith on the whole Dr. Octagon project and Prince Paul on Handsome Boy Modeling School, along with various other collaborations. How did you guys meet up and eventually start Deltron 3030?

Dan: I mean we’re both in the Bay Area, so we probably knew a little bit about each other before we started working together. I originally got Del to work with us on Handsome Boy Modeling School, he did a couple songs on there and Del has always been one of my favorite rappers because he approaches it his own way, which kind matches in a sense to what I do because I approach it in my own way. Then, we got together and we’re all doing it our own way, and it works out pretty well. I mean, it could not work out, but it happens to work out.

Showbams: You guys have obvious commonalities between you three (Del, Dan, Kid Koala) evident in your musical background — locality and expertise in your crafts. How did you ultimately come to the decision to release your debut album in 2007 (Deltron 3030), as a concept album, something really different from what was going on stylistically within the industry?

Del: The “concept,” if you want to call it that, the major characterizations and stuff I guess you can say I created but really the continuity of the record, that’s all Dan.

Dan: Yeah, but it’s always like that. Del’s got this creative mind, like Del’s a poet who comes up with these great ideas that I can bring to life musically and in some ways conceptually. But it’s like he comes up with this stuff, like all the Deltron lyrics, (I mean I guess I do some of the choruses), but all the lyrics, like the rhyme lyrics are all Del. When you listen to them, he paints this incredible dystopian or futuristic or whatever thing and I just try to hang on for dear life and run with it.

You know, I think we challenge each other in a good way. Particularly, I don’t think it’s hard I think it’s just challenging, you know what I mean? Then we go and make records that are just the same. Even the second Deltron record, that wasn’t a challenge from me to him, it was a challenge from us against the world. What science fiction represents and what we thought we were doing. What I mean by that is like our first record was kind of a fun futuristic romp, but because of Del’s nature he had a lot of poignant points in there. Some people kind of took those to heart and we realized really that’s kind of the basis of science fiction and all the stuff that you roll with.

So then all of the sudden we have to be a little bit more cognizant of not just current events, but all events in general to be able to address the record the way it should be addressed. Quite frankly for me, it’s not whether it’s easy or hard, but those particular issues don’t affect me, they affect him more because he’s the one who has to come up and say the stuff. So, it was a matter of getting that to work, whereas for me I’m just sort of continuing to advance the craft.


Showbams: Del, we know you’re a big video game and comic book fan …

Del: Yep, I just got a new one! It’s called “Hotline Miami” and basically you’re a dude, I guess it takes place in the 80’s in Miami and it’s like hella criminal activity. It looks like top-down graphics, like the first “Grand Theft Auto” before it was 3D and all that shit, like an Atari game. That’s kind of what it looks like. You’re basically a killer, wearing these different animal masks, like a walrus mask, a tiger mask, a rabbit mask, a chicken mask, and you go in these places. Somebody calls you and they give you some cock-a-meme story like, “OK, you got a date waiting for you at this address, hurry up. Don’t be late, make sure you do it good,” or whatever. Then, you go down there and you gotta murder all these fools.

Showbams: In a chicken mask?

Del: Haha, yeah in a chicken mask. But if you get hit once, you’re dead basically! So, you’ve gotta get through a whole level without getting touched. You gotta sneak around, kill one person and make sure they dead. You gotta jump on top of them and beat ‘en to death. It’s crazy, it’s super crazy. The music is good, everything.

Showbams: Is this a common interest of yours, Dan? Are you into video games or no?

Dan: No, not at all. Haha! I actually like video games, but once they got a little too in terms of uh … (Del shows the video game interface), see I can play something like that. I can’t play like the new, fluid graphic shit. I can play it when it’s pix-elated, but not when it’s all smooth, because then it just doesn’t seem right to me, I don’t know.

Showbams: Yeah, it gets a little too intense at that point.

Del: Yeah, yeah, yeah! It can make some people have like seizures and shit. They like have warnings about that.

Dan: I don’t think I have that kind of fear, but I just don’t like the vibe.

Del: I got an Xbox at the house though, I’m about to get the Playstation 4 and I’m about to get the Xbox 1. Playstation 4 is like, “Woah, I didn’t think games could get any better, right? Then I’ve seen the graphics and I was like, “Oh, oh okay.” It’s ridiculous, actually.


Showbams: Now over a decade later, the long-awaited follow0up to your self-titled album, Event II finally dropped, the production of which has been rumored to have started as far back as around 2004.

Dan: It’s possible, yeah!

Del: I had the music for a long time.

Dan: But it’s changed a lot of course!

Del: The lyrics changed because pretty much everything I wrote got destroyed on a disc drive.

Dan: What we did was like we tried, but it wasn’t the right time. We tried and then it became the right time, but then the right time happened to be a lot longer than we thought it was going to be. When the fact of the matter is, not like it was better to take long but I got to say those years between doing it, a lot of shit happened in society that really … not like it gave us something to write about because we were planning on writing and talking about it anyway. But it kind of eventually, not proved what we were thinking but was really very illustrated points to what we were thinking.

Del: We had time to sit on it and think about it. Kind of reflect on that and the world. Let me say this too, it gave me a chance to really think about how I wanted to present this album. From my experience, sequels just really don’t come off that well. People always have a tendency to feel like their first experience was the best and nothing can ever top it no matter how good it is. So, I’m thinking about that and I’m like, “OK, I really want to make it to where people are going to really dig this.” Also, I wanted to think about how to come with it and how to write it.

I actually had to study how to write science fiction, and I just really thought about it because I noticed a lot of people who are really into sci-fi and may not even be into rap or music like that at all, but they were into Deltron. I wanted to come with it and kind of appeal to them as well. I recognize it’s kind of like a different thing that I’m challenged with and am glad that it took that amount of time. Then, when we really sat down and got to work and I lost my raps or whatever, he was coming with new music. It was so much more incredible than what he had before, so I was like, “OK, I’m going to write some more now!”


Dan: The thing about Del is, it really only takes him about 10-15 minutes to come up with these incredible thoughts. Maybe you have to hone them or whatever, but it’s like me to where the genesis of getting to the point where you can do it is what takes a long time. The actual “doing it” part is just doing it. At the time, there’s always moments where you say, “I wish we could finish this or get started.” But in the big picture, you realize how complicated it is, especially when you see the final results. You realize how … it’s funny because he explained something to me, not that I didn’t think it was true, I just never really thought about it, in that everything’s not really that complicated. It’s all just the nature of man, you know? The basic tendencies — greed, power, money — and when you get down to that, it’s kind of like the crux of everything that happens.

I mean, even historically speaking, from England taking over 70 percent of the world, it’s the nature of man. Conquer, power, greed, destroy and the thing is, I always thought it was more of a complex thing. But really, it always comes down to that. When we’re thinking about this stuff and writing about this stuff, all these various things are coming true.

Then, when it actually came out, even stuff we wrote about that we had on the record came true after the record was released. It’s one of those things that’s a constant. It’s great to see that and get it. To be able to go, “Ahhh, I got this. I understand. This is the nature of man.” I feel like I became smarter making these records and that smarter isn’t unfortunately always good. It’s more like street smarts, where you realize everything’s fucked up.

Del: Nah, but it makes you appreciate the good things, though.

Dan: But you get what I’m saying, though. Like, as the layers unfold from shit, you realize it’s all the same fucked-up shit all over again. That’s all I’m saying.

Del: Now you see why I’m so dark with my shit. He was real helpful in keeping the project from getting like very dark and morbid. Even early on in the writing, he was like, “That’s cool, but you know maybe we should try to balance it with something a little bit less … ” You know what I mean?

Dan: And it is a balance and that was even proven, too. You got countries like Egypt having revolutions and you know Twitter is having a part of that. The man can’t shut down the information, or like Wikipedia, information is that power and the people have it because they can’t be subverted. You see all that. It all takes place. But although you have that power, you don’t necessarily have that money or that other kind of power, so you see the … well, not the negative because it’s all negative. It’s just, you see the hope, you know.


Showbams: What’s interesting about your records is that there are sci-fi, fantasy and surrealistic themes running throughout the content. Do you feel like it’s easier to convey those messages and sociopolitical commentary through such mediums?

Del: I’ll tell you this, because last night after the show somebody came up to me and said, “You know, Del. I appreciate this album coming out, and I really dig the message that you have. I feel you, and I’m glad you’re getting it out to the people.” And in my mind, I’m thinking, “OK, I’m really glad you liked that message, but I’m not really even trying to put that out there.” Whatever you think the message is, I’m glad you love it so much. I wasn’t really trying to relay no message.

Dan: I think you’re right and that’s all true, what you’re saying I mean. But I think you do have a message in there and what I mean by that, you’re shit is not random thought. I think it ties together and when I say that … see the funny thing about Del is that this guy, doesn’t even own a TV.

Showbams: That’s good, that’s good.

Dan: Well, whatever. I own a TV, I watch a lot of TV so fuck you (laughs). Nah, just playing.

Showbams: You’re the first official “fuck you” I’ve had in an interview, I like it.

Dan: Nah, but like what I was saying is that he’s so astute with what’s going on. I don’t know how you get your information or where it trickles or siphons in from, there’s just tons. You know what I mean and I’m into that, I’m just saying.

Showbams: It does come through in a serious way, but like you were saying, not too dark.

Del: Yeah, I’m not trying to preach to nobody. I’m just getting my view out there and how I view it. I feel like I’m being correct, you know what I’m saying? Maybe other people don’t look at it the same way I do. But it’s out there for however you think, to interpret it any way you want to. I’m just trying to make it entertaining for people.


Showbams: You’ve been on record saying that this album, especially Event II, is an album that has a full story to it. Can you give us a little “cliff notes” version if possible?

Del: Well, it basically has to do with what Dan was saying about power and corruption and how at the very essence it makes people do crazy stuff. In this situation, it just happens to be planetary cataclysmic, you know what I mean? It’s bigger than just a war on Planet Earth, they fucking everything up all over the galaxy. It’s like the stakes are higher, but still at the very essence, what we’ve always had to deal with. That’s pretty much what I want to try to illustrate. I want to get away from so much of the laser fire and super big whatever, all the technical stuff.

I wanted to get down to more the humane part of it so that anybody can listen to it and kind of feel it even if you aren’t a sci-fi fan. That’s one thing that I really wanted to get there, that the first one didn’t have. I’m not going to say it was “techno babble” because some people, I’ve read some reviews for it and they were kind of alluding to it as “techno babble,” which it isn’t. I was just kind of stream of consciousness using the vocabulary of science fiction and just having fun with it.

Dan: But see, there’s where I don’t … I mean, I was there and I’m not going to say that’s not all true, but the thing that’s different about it is just because of the way Del thinks the message gets in there. He may not be going, “Alright, I’m writing the message now,” but it works its way in there. Then, some stuff like “Virus”, where you’re right on top of things and even though you might be having fun with it, the fun you’re having is very profound. That’s what put us in our own trap. We trapped ourselves in the way that there’s a lot of message in this record, so we need to address the message, you know what I’m saying?

Showbams: On that note, what are your predictions for the future of Deltron 3030 and your role in the music industry within the next few years?

Del: Well, you know what at first I kind of was like “naaaahhh” because it takes too much work. But now, I kind of realize and I got this from skateboarding. I’m learning how to skate and trying to learn how to ollie, which takes a helluva lot of work! I kind of learned from that, that once you do “that,” you’ve done all the preliminary work. You don’t have to start over again. So you know, who knows? I like working with Dan a lot, though. I even like being on the road with Dan for this length of time, the whole band really. I’ve hella enjoyed it. I’ve been having hella fun with these guys. I would definitely like to work on some more stuff with them.

Dan: Yeah, you know me and Del have been around each other for a long time and I always feel good when we do stuff. It’s always good stuff, you know quality wise, but also there’s a certain … I mean, I’m a record producer and I work with a lot of people and you get what you get out of enjoyment or whatever. But we have a really good group of guys and we’re going out and having a great time. We’re smashing places, it’s a good combination, you know?

I think also the other thing is that we finally know what we need to do. I think it’s not that complicated on one level, it’s complicated on other levels, but on one level, we’re good. I think we had a lot of trouble breaking through on the second record, just understanding your place of what it means and what it is. I think that’s all done now. From that point, it could continue that way, it could jump off that way, but we now understand what it was.

If we did another record and everything blew up and we were all starting over, that’s a fantasy record again. But at least you know where you were standing to get to the next place. You know just taking what was the original Deltron 3030 that had a lot of thoughts in it, to where it is now and it really does have a moment and you get to where you are. You now have a solid platform to jump off of.