Steve Combs is a multi-instrumentalist and composer based in New York’s Hudson Valley. Since embarking on a recording career in March of 2014, he has released over 200 songs as a solo artist and with his band, Delta Is. Employing an improvisational style of composing, eccentric artwork, and liberal Creative Commons licensing, he found a successful niche in the world of free-use music. His music has been used in television, videos for MIT, Harvard University, and other institutions, on podcasts, and in hundreds of YouTube videos.
The Blue Period Edit
He began composing acoustic instrumentals in March of 2014, releasing his first single, Do Do Do early that month. By the end of March, however, he had released two albums of electronic music, The Sun is Rising and Waking Up, which he had improvised while working on Is OK, his first and only acoustic EP. Following the release of that EP, and his third electronic album, Orthorexia, he decided to abandon acoustic music and instead devote himself fully to electronic music.
Following the June release of his fourth album, Carnival of Self-Pity, Combs went on hiatus.This prolific stretch is often referred to by Combs as The Blue Period. He marked the hiatus by releasing Better: The Best Of, his first retrospective.
He also released a project called Remastered, wherein he remixed every song that had been released thus far.
Return From Hiatus Edit
In early August, Combs returned to composing and founded Parenthetical Records, his own netlabel. With the release of Theme Songs & Atom Bombs, he displayed a sound more refined than was present in the Blue Period albums. This trend continued with Principal Photography and Brand New Record!, in September and October, respectively.
Steve Combs and the Free Music Archive Edit
In December of that year, Combs announced that his eponymous eight album would be his last solo record. The album was a complete embrace of the experimental pop that Combs had shied away from in the earlier records. In that same month, he was accepted into WFMU's Free Music Archive, where he was exposed to an audience many times larger than ever before. Steve Combs was the first album to be included, and quickly accumulated over 8000 downloads.
Following this, he re-released all eight of his solo albums. The re-releases included both versions of every song, as well as non-album tracks that had been present on the compilation albums.
Our Wasted Youth Edit
To put a final end to his solo career, Combs released Our Wasted Youth: The Complete Collection, a 155-song box-set, in April 2015.
Steve Combs & Delta Is Edit
(Main article: Delta Is)
With his solo career behind him, Combs turned towards another project. He began to pay attention to the creators that browse sites such as the Free Music Archive. Having noticed that his music was mostly popular with these kinds of people, he decided to embrace that niche and cater to them. With this spirit he created Delta Is, a project focused on creating high-quality background music.
Selected Discography Edit
(Main article: Discography)
Solo albums Edit
- Waking Up
- Carnival of Self-Pity
- Theme Songs & Atom Bombs
- Principal Photography
- Brand New Record!
- Steve Combs
Albums with Delta Is Edit
Other Projects Edit
Combs occasionally collaborates with other artists, including James Dean Claitor and Goggle Kid. He produced Holly Faye's debut album Bugchild, writing the song Student Film (2010) and adding various instrumentation to other tracks.
Combs credits alternative rock duo They Might Be Giants as a major influence, although he shares few similarities with the band's work. Piano pop artist Ben Folds is another influence.
Oddly, Combs does not typically enjoy instrumental music in general, let alone electronic music, so none of his influences are from that genre.