Danielle Eva Schwob, also known as DELANILA, is the kind of person who cultivates meticulous care & intentionality, not only in her artist project, but (by all appearances) in her personal life as well. With years of training in composition and collaborations with industry monoliths such as Jóhann Jóhannsson & Philip Glass, DELANILA is a force of nature, the kind of artist who cannot help but succeed.
Her unique musical signature stems from innovative chord progressions and ambitious instrumentation – as a composer, her ability to visualize sophisticated melodic and harmonic lines is apparent in the compelling progressions foundational to her new album, Overloaded.
The single that preceded the album, “It’s Been A While Since I Went Outside,” was created “during a time when I was stuck at home a lot.” That feeling of isolation, likely familiar to all of us now, is a steadily developing topic. After having to stay home frequently for health concerns, on top of the already hermitted nature of composers–even pre-pandemic–DELANILA has been fueled by the “facsimile of human contact” characteristic of this digital age.
Like any other young person, I’m on social media and have a limited attention span. I found the disconnect very jarring – being alone in your room but also simultaneously being “connected” to everyone you’ve ever known. Except you’re not really connected to them, you’re just connected to each other’s avatars.
As time progresses we come to understand the effect of technology on the human mind. Not only does it impact your attention span and ability to multitask, it encourages the projection of unrealistic, unhealthy cultural standards that have significant cognitive and social consequences.
This feeling of being secluded and isolated and lonely, but also being connected to everyone you’ve ever met…it’s jarring.
This project is a sonic “sorting” of personal experiences for DELANILA, as is the case for much of her work. Seeing as we all are faced with globally enforced social isolation, perhaps this project can serve as an outlet for (a bit of) the angst I know is plaguing you anxiety-ridden motherf*ckers.
Music gives people a point of emotional connection in a way that really few other art forms can. I hope this song speaks to people, to put it simply. I want them to know they’re not alone in what they’re going through.
DELANILA’s experience as a film composer provides her with the ability to bring cinematic elements into her project. This not only includes production & instrumentation – frequently reminiscent of a Bond movie – but extends into how she has come to market the album.
The release of “It’s Been A While Since I Went Outside” was tied to a visual poem: a video she filmed herself in the deserted streets of New York. Though the track was “written a couple of years back,” quarantine provided the perfect platform for its debut.
It’s not fiction or a vision, it’s not a treatment that we brought to life with hair and makeup, it’s just real life. I’m hesitant to call it a music video. It’s a musical, personal documentary…a visual poem documenting the times, but set to music in the hopes that it would capture something about the moment.
DELANILA partnered with dancers from Dušan Týnek Dance Theatre & choreographer Dušan Týnek himself in a livestream that aired on 5/14. This powerful pairing of music and movement has served to create a cinematic, dynamic universe to accompany the album.
The cover art also serves to visually contextualize the project, beginning with humanity’s relationship with technology.
We wanted to find ways to play with it, but didn’t want it to look too cyborg-y or cliche. We wanted to keep it about exploring the emotional ramifications of technology rather than the technology itself.
The imagery is also an artistic homage to the physical consequences of spending too long looking at a screen.
The idea was to create a futuristic world populated by creatures with large eyes. We thought it would be a way to make it look beautiful and alien and strange, but also soft at the same time.
At the end of the day, DELANILA has created “a human album for the digital age.” So take a second, give it a listen, and contemplate the great paradox that is existing in your flesh sack.