The alter ego of Andrew Shockley, Delafaye weaves a dreamy sonic tapestry of singer songwriter goodness. His music is layered with delicate, almost fragile guitar work, and a world building sensibility that would make Brian Eno blush. This is pop music with depth, a pensive and contemplative journey that balances darker elements with pleasing melodies and lush soundscapes. You can hear that on his new track below, the glorious She Shook Me from the upcoming ‘Highlands’ EP dropping July 7th on Street Mission Records. We caught up with Shockley to ask about identity, meaning, and sweetness!
Andrew Shockley: It was always music for me, not always making music, but music has always been there for me. I started writing and recording music in my parents basement when I was around 14 and it’s been down hill from there.
NN: You’re a bit of a cypher in terms of your online presence. What can you tell us about Delafaye? Read this in James Lipton’s voice: Who is Delafaye?
AS: Delafaye is my alter ego. I originally called myself Delafaye, so that I could hide behind myself and no one would have to know who l am. Obviously that didn’t work out, but I still embrace the name. The word Delafaye itself came from a street in Louisville that I grew up playing music on.
“I originally called myself Delafaye, so that I could hide behind myself and no one would have to know who l am. Obviously that didn’t work out, but I still embrace the name.”
NN: Do you play guitar and sing, or do you play all of the instruments? If you’re not alone, who plays with you and how did that come together?
AS: Yeah I play all of the instruments and do the mixing myself in my apartment. It’s just something I love to do for fun and will always do. It’s a nice break from everyday reality.
NN: How do you compose? What goes into making a good song? How does it evolve with time, specifically with each subsequent performance?
AS: The way I compose a song changes every time I come up with something new. A lot of times I will record myself singing and playing random stuff, things that might of happened over the weekend or things that have been on my mind. Then I will listen to the recording and pick it apart to see if I can turn it into something more. I think the best songs just come to me, if I have to force it, then you can tell in the final result. The song always changes by the time I start recording and messing with sounds, but the heart of it is always there.
NN: Something we touched on a bit up above is identity. Is Delafaye you or are you Delafaye? How does your private and public personas different at all?
AS: I am Delafaye, there’s nothing private that I’m trying to hide. Most of my songs are very open and they’re about real life things that I have been through. Maybe I should have called myself Andrew Delafaye, it has a nice ring to it.
NN: Describe your music to someone who might not be familiar.
AS: I think it’s hard to describe your own music to someone else, I don’t think it sounds the same to me as it does to someone else when they first hear it. I would probably describe it as alternative, indie and kinda folkish. I think it depends on the song or mood I was in when I wrote it. I don’t set out to have a specific sound, I just write music and build on it how ever I feel fit.
NN: How would you compare your upcoming EP with your previous work?
AS: The upcoming EP is very different, but similar at the same time, I’m working out of a program that I’m new to and experimenting with different sounds and styles. I think that there are still similar elements, but I like to switch it up. I keep song writing fairly simple, but I like it to be honest. Most of the things I talk about are stories and things have taken place in my life; I think that’s what the new EP really has in common with my previous work.
NN: Why “The Hilltop” as an album name? Is there something in that title that speaks to a specific conceit or that may have deeper meaning? Does that bar hold any particular salience in your life?
AS: I chose the “The Hilltop” as a name because I actually live right across the street, I can go on my roof and see the old hilltop sign. I wrote all of the songs and recorded them here, I thought it was appropriate. It’s not referencing the actual bar, but more the area and the events that have taken place while I lived here. I like to reference Louisville as much as possible.
NN: I understand you self-record your work. Is that an aesthetic or economic decision? Do you work in isolation when you mix?
AS: Yeah I record it all myself, I think it’s a little bit of both. I always work in isolation, it’s how I’ve always done it and will continue to do it. Music is my hobby and what I love to do, it’s my vacation from reality. Whether I was signed or not these songs would still be made in the same fashion. I think life can be hectic and everyone needs a good hobby to take their minds off of it.
“Music is my hobby and what I love to do, it’s my vacation from reality.”
NN: Relative to that, how does your environment shape your music, if at all? That not only ties into the space that you compose/record, but the spaces that you place, and the general ambience of your neighborhood. Is that in there somewhere?
AS: My environment has everything to do with my music; most of the songs are about events that have taken place in my neighborhood, that’s why calling my first EP The Hilltop meant so much to me. I can look back on this EP in the future and be completely smothered in memories. I can listen to a song I wrote in the past and as soon as I hear it I’m flooded with the emotions and the feelings I had when I wrote it. I think that’s what makes music so special to me.
NN: How did you hook up with Street Mission Records?
AS: I was posting my music on SoundCloud, somehow Dani who started Street Mission came across it and liked what I was doing. He emailed me and asked if I’d be interested. Obviously at first I was hesitant and thought it was most likely a scam, but fortunately I was completely wrong. Dani is amazing and I wouldn’t be where I’m at without him.
NN: What is the sweetest thing you’ve ever done for a person and why?
AS: That’s a hard one, I try to be as sweet as humanly possible. I give all of my drunk friends a nice couch to sleep on.
“I try to be as sweet as humanly possible. I give all of my drunk friends a nice couch to sleep on.”
NN: What is the best lie you’ve ever told?
AS: I never lie.
NN: What non-musical things have you excited recently and why? Have you read, watched, eaten, or drank anything worth mentioning lately?
AS: I probably don’t read as much as I should, I read the news but it’s disheartening. There are too many positive things going on that we never hear about. But shout out to The Come Back Inn, best pasta I’ve had in Louisville and our waiter was a saint, brought all of my friends and I a shot to wash the pasta away free of charge.
NN: What are your top three and a half desert island albums and why?
AS: That’s such a hard question, I will keep it simple and go with more recent albums.
- Unknown Mortal Orchestra, ll – I love all of Ruban’s work, but I will go with ll. Amazing album and never grows old.
- Foxygen, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic – This album reminds me of good times; it’s just fun from beginning to end.
- Alt-J, An Awesome Wave – I can still remember the first time I heard this album at a friend’s apartment. Blew my mind; no one else is making music like this.