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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at JMU chapter.
Del Water Gap Interview: Watch The Full 30 Minute Interview on YouTube Here

This is a written abbreviation of the interview above.

1. Del Water Gap Origin Story?

Yeah it’s funny, I’ve been using it for so long I have lost sight of it a bit you know yeah like seeing your own face in the mirror. I was playing when I was a teenager, I was playing drums in an annoying rock band in New Jersey and I had started writing songs and I really wanted to sing the songs. They [the Band] wouldn’t really let me because I was the drummer, so I a bit vindictively decided to make a list of band names for my own project. There’s a park in New Jersey and Pennsylvania called the Delaware Water Gap and I saw that written somewhere in Sharpie and I thought that’s a really cool name. I didn’t know what it meant at the time but it ended up on the list of my vindictive list of band names and it ended up just floating to the top so I ended up writing and recording some songs when I was finishing up high school and um putting them out under the name Del Water Gap and since then I’ve it’s been the name that I use for music.

2. You started off your very first headline tour at Schubas in Chicago, right down the road from me, how does that feel like starting your very first headline tour versus now being you know a few years down the road and working with Maggie Rogers playing sold-out shows at Aragon Ballroom?

Yeah I mean I think these types of conversations and those types of questions are a really good moment to check in I think when life is changing really quickly it is really easy to miss it and forget where you started um especially on tour. And tour you know you live in this reality that is running alongside normal reality. You’re sleeping 3 A.M to 2 p.m. you know you’re driving a lot you’re eating weird food you’re doing laundry at weird hours everything feels really removed from the world and so your sense of time gets very warped. And that is something that has caused me quite a bit of distress on tour in the past especially long tours my mental health has gotten a little bit itchy and going into this tour one of the things my therapist suggests is that I have a gratitude practice like a really active gratitude practice.

A part of that gratitude practice is that before we go on stage my band and I we try to focus on all the shows and all the decisions that brought us to where we are in that moment practice of honoring exactly what you’re talking about and saying you know last time we were in Chicago played the 500 cap and the time before we played a 250 and now we’re here at Aragon and really trying to bring that forward and think about that and hold that in your heart because um yeah I don’t know our the line of your expectation shifts so quickly right as you succeed in your life changes um so it yeah it feels absolutely surreal and you know it’s it’s um not something I ever thought I’d do when my album came out I thought I was gonna tour for two weeks you know another album and ended up being almost two years and then um a handful of support tours so I’ve been able to pretty much see all of America and play in most of the major markets and secondary markets here and um yeah it’s so beyond what what I expected so um yeah trying to hold some active gratitude.

3. How do you think Indie music has shifted in the past few years and specifically with playlists on Spotify and the algorithm, with them promoting [Del Water Gap’s] music and music that might not have been discovered if we were in a different time?

I mean everything is changing every year in the music industry. It’s an insane time to be doing this, the technology is changing every year what people want is changing the rapidness with which as a Creator you need to put out music is changing. TikTok is obviously completely changed the music industry I feel really fortunate that I had been putting on music for a number of years. I really feel for new artists like really new artists who are just putting out their first releases right now on Spotify because I think unless you have a real gatekeeper on your side like a big major label or a big advantage. I think it’s really hard to crack just to like cracks that system I know that the people at Spotify really do Champion unknown artists and yeah they’re, they are to thank for so much of what I’ve been able to do with my career but also there’s just so much music coming out regardless of how awful they are and good at the research they are there’s just you know it’s something like I don’t remember the exact number but it’s something like 100k new songs a week is coming out, but creatively I think there’s obviously probably a lot of trash in there but I think there’s probably a lot of really brilliant stuff too and I think the technology and this sort of leveling of the playing field mean that like anyone who has some money can buy a recording setup and make a song, which is insane. I like was bad at Sports and there was like a microphone in a closet at my high school and I started recording and I think like Indie music, in particular, to answer your question more directly. I think that I think that it’s a really good time for Indie music because I think that people I have seen a lot of younger artists who can take their careers really far without a label um I’ve always been it had at least one foot in the label system you know mostly Indie labels but um you know a lot of the artists that I’ve become friends with and toured with like you know Girl in Red or Gus Dapperton or Dayglow, and other similar artists have been able to take their music really far without signing to the label. There’s so many examples and I think that it’s good for Artistry because I think that if you can build a real fan base before signing to a label you can get a tremendous amount of leverage and that means that you just have a more favorable situation. Actually own music and get more resources. So I think for that reason it’s really exciting but it’s a complicated time for music. I think a lot of people have a lot of issues with inhibiting the algorithmic churn of just what we get served and how there’s less human curation and less attention to detail. But I’m sort of undecided on all that you know I have my records that I love and I love finding new music. But ask me in a couple years how I feel and we’ll see.

4. How do you think live music has shifted in recent years? And how do you think fans and live music have really shifted since covid specifically?

I was personally really afraid that I would never get to tour because I was just about to start touring when Covid started and then obviously you know there was even two years where there was it was completely illegal to play a show. And I think the greatest fear was that you know people would never want to go to shows again you know that it would be replaced by all the other experiential opportunities we have now. You know, but um I think coming out of Covid and going right into touring I mean I played one of the first shows back at Red Rocks [with Mount Joy] when my tour started like our tour was one of the first like International tours that was hitting a lot of places and that was only just because of the timing of it we like got in really early and um contrary to my fears I mean I I really feel like I came out into a world that was especially hungry for connection especially hungry for live music. I mean it was wild I think I think I think there was you know even a bit of a bubble you know I mean touring came back so strong right after and of course were blowing out all over the world and it pretty much completely sold out in like two weeks um congrats that’s awesome and thank you and um so I I think this is all to say like the the proof isn’t the pudding a bit that like I think we really need that connection that in-person connection and I think that people really want to be in a room with other people and feel that energy and connect with an artist they love and hear music like moving the air so I think that’s been you know incredibly reaffirming I think the the other side of it is that yeah I mean people are like more conscious of being in crowds awesome touching each other and and that’s all that’s all good and I I think the responsibility just falls more on you know the artists and the promoters and their venues to try to like educate people and give people the resources and make sure people stay safe.

5. What is your rehearsal process? What is your going-on stage prep like what songs do you really want to rehearse and perfect before you go on stage?

Yeah, so we do a few weeks of rehearsal before we go out in LA which is fun because a lot of it is the moments when I feel like I’m in a band you know we get to work on the songs together and be creative and it’s a lot of just like long days of sitting in a rehearsal studio and working out the details which is a musician is really fun. I mean that’s like the best part is sort of getting to nerd out on gear and music and decisions and um you know and the hope is that by the time you get to the tour like you don’t have to think I mean that’s like the goal I mean it’s the same as you know being a professional athlete or a performer or anything like the goal is to be so is to have the muscle memory so tight that you can just be open and free and turn your brain off and you know perform and the rest will be taken care of. So a lot of the process of rehearsing and getting ready for the show is doing things to just reinforce that flow state being able to get to that flow state. So a lot of that is yeah just running the songs you know tens of times and then um you know really connecting as a group we do a lot of breathing together, we do a lot of meditation together, the um we spent time sort of actively connecting you know like prolonged eye contact and being able to share a goal for the set or a goal for the year, the tour or you know. And I think as like the leader of the group it’s sort of it’s it’s become my uh my duty to just make sure that we are connected in that way and make sure everyone’s on the same page because you know uh if you’re not a unit I think it really comes out into music.

6. What is one band that kills it live that you look up to?

I had the fortune of going to so many festivals this year because you know I’d play and then I would just stay the whole weekend, I I saw live the Marias, I think they’re so cool they’re like a real unit and they’re like I think I think there aren’t many real bands left you know. Because yeah my band’s a solo project that you know I hire people to play with me and I think they’re a good example of a band that is really a unit and they make the records together and it feels really cohesive. Their visual world and they’re their clothing is always really on point and that’s awesome so I’ve loved seeing them play. I saw Idols a few times, oh it’s um I mean they’re just like you know a very different example of memory is but they’re just like they feel so like old school it’s just like they’re just like very raw. I think Turnstile is also refreshing they’re just like they’re doing their thing and have sort of quietly become this like huge part of pop culture and I really respect that.

7. What is one song that you wish you wrote so you could play it on tour all the time?

One of my favorite songs of all time is Killer by Phoebe Bridgers, I just think the writing is it is a song is what I wish I wrote. Sort of sad dark comedy of it is really brilliant, and some that that feeling is something I’ve really tried to attain in my writing and I don’t think I’ve been able to touch it in the way that she has in that song. In particular, um this sort of character writing and I think there’s a really fine line of being able to do that in a way that feels very convincing and I think she’s really good at that. I think there’s a few other artists that come to mind like Henry Nilsson, Father John Misty, and John Lennon.

8. Florence Pugh recently said in a Vogue interview said that they couldn’t clear your songs. Did Vogue actually reach out, or why couldn’t they clear your songs for the interview?

So she actually reached out to me a few months beforehand and gave me a little context and I completely forgot about it. Basically, what happened is Florence has been such a supporter of my music and um I mean I’ve said this before but I think the greatest compliment as an artist is having an artist that you respect affirming your work. She’s been like a really positive force in my life and you’ve become friends and she reached out to me and said you know I did this Vogue interview and I asked them if we could get your music for it and they said that they’re not gonna clear any music at all that they were just going to use stock music. So it wasn’t really an issue with my music, in particular, it was just you know they just I guess just didn’t have a budget or whatever so yeah he never actually reached out but she told me she said hey I did this interview, and the way that I worded it people might think that you turned Vogue down and just so you know. They weren’t going to clear anything but um I gave you a shout out and that’s that. So yeah she told me I sort of laughed it off and forgot about it and then you know I woke up and my Instagram was completely blowing up and broken so and then the funniest part was my lawyer. He’s on Instagram he commented on the video like what was the clearance issue, I think we’re a little late.

9. What is your favorite Florence Pugh movie?

I just saw this film [The Wonder] where she plays a nurse. I really liked it, and sort of saw it passively and accidentally but I just love the mood of it. I thought it was so cute you know it was so dark and dour and I think the time when I saw it I was spending a lot of time indoors working on my album and sometimes when I’m working on music I like to just put on a movie in the background. I really liked that movie and she’s so brilliant in Little Women. I really think she’s the standout in that film. She’s the shit, I still haven’t seen Midsummer but I I need to at some point. I didn’t know it when she reached out, but um you know she’s obviously become a really important part of our world and our culture.

10. Is this Your first time in Arizona for the M3F festival?

No I played I played a festival called Innings Festival in town, um which I believe was my first time in Arizona. That was a great Festival, it was one of the last times Taylor Hawkins played with Foo Fighters before he died which was sad but it was so really cool to have been able to see them play that night. I mean that that’s sort of the standout memory of that night, and we played in Phoenix a couple times it was really hot and she had a great show in Phoenix. I wish I remembered the name of the venue but it was like 110 degrees outside and my vinyl started melting and we had to bring it inside.

11. Is there any other artists on the lineup for this M3F that you’re like really excited to watch their set?

Yeah okay Channel Tres, I love Channel Tres. Channel and I became friends um in Morocco we did some work with Saint Laurent together and I’m such a fan of his music and he’s the sweetest guy so I’m really excited to see him. Oh, Chiiild, I mean his song pirouette was one of my top songs of the year last year oh my God amazing he’s great. Who else is on here Jamie XX, so excited, yes it’s a cool Festival. There’s a lot of friend of friends, Quinn XCII and Chelsea Cutler, and Coin I really like those guys. Yeah, it’s like a really cool Festival, and obviously Maggie’s playing which is great.

12. Any Charities You Want to Shout Out?

I have been fortunate enough to work with Oxfam America, they’re just like an awesome, little bit under-the-radar charity. I met Bob Ferguson who works there, I don’t know exactly his position but I met him when I was 12 or 13. He was like an early music mentor of mine and from the beginning, he really talked to me and my little band at the time about how musicians have a real duty to use our platforms to help elevate. So I met Bob again when I was a kid you know I was playing to like 10 people that were all my parent’s friends. Getting that early on was really powerful and it’s been cool you know decades later to be working with him. Oxfam’s been able to come to a couple of my shows and set up and we’ve been able to work together a bit online. So I love them they do really great work you know they help they mainly do like food Outreach and get people fed. Um so they’ve been working a lot in Syria and you know trying to get food to the people over there.

Lexie is a marketing & music gal, who enjoys listening to Taylor Swift, drinks an alarming amount of cold brew & loves going to concerts!