Devised by musician Holden Jaffe but formed by the people and push of Brooklyn, Del Water Gap should be on any rock-inclined music fan’s radar. With three EPs, a live track and some singles out already, Del Water Gap seem ready to expand from the New York music scene and into the global one with their upcoming releases. On the cusp of this, I interviewed Holden to find out where it all started, where it’s all going, and the music that formed what is now Del Water Gap.
What’s the first song you ever wrote?
I wrote a song called “Being Alone” in a spiral notebook when I was maybe 8 years old. I was a quiet kid and I was always curious about why that was. I remember it being cathartic to write about.
Who are your biggest influences?
Mark Bittman and my grandma. I also love The Blue Nile record “Hats” and Stephen King.
The intensely personal and honest nature of your music seems to expose the listener to some of your most private personal experiences, how much of these are real?
It’s all real. We absorb and regurgitate as creators. Creativity is what happens inside our bodies between those two events.
Your playlist “background music for kissing” is featured not only on your Spotify page but also your website and socials, what does it mean to you to have such a large platform to share your favourite music?
I love sharing the songs I’m listening to. It feels like a quiet way to let people who connect with my music in on my creative process.
If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Haruomi Hosono’s “Hosono House.”
Is there a piece of art which has moved you to a point where you’ve not felt the same after consuming their work?
Plenty. Most recently I saw a Taiwanese film called “Rebels Of The Neon God” which I found moving.
You’ve released a fair amount of your music on vinyl, is the physical format something important to you as an artist?
Tactile experience is not a part of most music consumption in 2019, so it’s special to me to be able to generate a physical product that someone can hold and cherish beyond the ones and zeroes. I’ve been hand stamping this most recent batch on the floor of my kitchen and it makes me feel like a craftsman in a way that I don’t always get to feel.
You recently said you thought “Cut the Rope” was the best song you’ve written, why?
I believe I said it was the best DWG song, but it’s not the best song I’ve written. It’s my favourite recording the project has put out. It was this early beautiful mistake of a recording — we cut the song on my 21st birthday. Converse was running a studio in Brooklyn at the time, and we were working with this great engineer and the whole thing came together really quickly and organically over the course of a few hours. My trumpet player Jared came in for a few hours and wrote a chart in the room and cut it just like that. Gorgeous horn arrangement. It was also the first time I ever kept a scratch vocal. It’s really uninhibited and sleepy in a nice way. The recording has aged nicely.
The Del Water Gap catalogue as of yet remains without any collaborations, do you aim to keep it this way?
I’m actually constantly collaborating. Del Water Gap is my project, but the records wouldn’t happen without the village that exists around them.
With three uniquely brilliant EPs released along with a few singles and now a live track, is an album in the works?
Yes, I’m working on an LP right now. The singles will start trickling out top of the year. I also have a live record coming out November 22nd titled “Alive in Fresno.” It’s acoustic versions of my last EP “Don’t Get Dark” as well as song that I wrote with my friend Claud.
How can we expect to hear your sound change in your upcoming music?
The new records are a bit more mature. I’ve really fallen in love with pop music the last few years, which has absolutely affected the new music. The new songs are more lively, they have some teeth.