The Mississippi music scene is quickly expanding outside of the country roots the rest of the world expects to find within our borders. Indie-rock, pop, hip-hop, shoegaze, jazz, hardcore-punk, grunge, electronica, folk — name any genre and you’ll find Mississippians making a name in each one. Hattiesburg-based band The DŁX is no exception. Although the group has only released two songs, just those eight minutes alone are enough to have any listener begging for more.
Shawn Chambliss, lead singer and mastermind behind The DŁX, was exposed to various genres from an early age — his father was a disco teacher and Shawn’s payment for for helping on his aunt’s farm was Garth Brooks cassette tapes. His musical tastes have transformed since childhood and beyond his hipster-inspired teenagedom, where he loved anything you’d never heard of, and now, at 25 years old, he isn’t afraid to embrace his true musical love.
“I really enjoy pop music,” Chambliss admitted.
And if you’ve ever heard the song “Calling You Out,” it’s undeniable that Chambliss hit a homerun out of the pop park. With inspirations like Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, Brand New, Fun and, yes, even Taylor Swift, it’s not hard to fathom how Chambliss can produce a song that you’ll find yourself humming weeks later (we know from experience).
Although the alt-pop experiment publicly entered the spotlight last year, behind the scenes, Chambliss has been shaping The DŁX since 2013. While Chambliss was filling in with a cover band at his former high school’s homecoming, he met Mark Wheat, The DŁX’s now drummer and co-production manager, and the two hit it off instantly.
“At one point I said, ‘This is going to sound weird, but I think we’re going to change the world,’” Chambliss recalled. “Mark responded with, ‘I think we have to exchange numbers for that.’”
Chambliss later showed Wheat the lyrics he had been writing, and Wheat encouraged him to finish the songs — songs that would become The DŁX.
So what exactly is “The DŁX,” and what does it mean? Chambliss broke it down for us.
“I wanted to name not only a band, but a group — a group that could unite myself, the band, the crew and the fans. The name came from the abbreviated form of ‘The Deluxe,’ but it is said as the individual letters,” Chambliss explained. “It’s meant to be a reminder that people are special, no matter how they are presented. You are important. You are deluxe. You are The DŁX.”
Although you’ll almost always see The DŁX in full band form when performing, Chambliss is basically a Brendon Urie (Panic! At The Disco), the main member who performs with an interchangeable band, but he does have his preferred partners, including Mark (drums) and Joy Wheat (backup vocals/keyboard) and Ethan Manning (guitar).
The DŁX had their first live show in February of last year at the Historic Hattiesburg American Building with opening bands Dream Cult and The Devil Music Co. Since then, they’ve played with Oh, Jeremiah, Quinn Erwin and opened for Echosmith at last year’s Eaglepalooza.
Chambliss likes to give his everything to the crowd not only musically, but also with visual effects, energy and merchandise.
“I want the audience to leave with something to remember us by,” he explained.
If everything goes as planned for The DŁX, fans should have something tangible — a six song EP — to really remind them of The DŁX in September. Although the EP was recorded and perfected last August, Chambliss has been taking the necessary precautions, including shopping the album to record labels around the country, to ensure that their first real record goes as far as possible.
“This is the most proud I’ve ever been of any music I’ve ever created,” Chambliss said.
However, the frontman was understandably tight lipped when it came down to details about the record. When asked if there was a projected title, Chambliss replied with a smile, “It has letters in it.”
Listen to The DŁX on Spotify, SoundCloud (/thedlx), YouTube, iTunes or their website, thedlx.net.