Home Grown: A Q+A with Del Oro

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Meet CJ Ballesteros, A.K.A. Del Oro, a singer-songwriter with a lot of projects on his dashboard. Somehow, he found the time to chat with WRGW about literature, GW, and the DMV. Represent!




Many of your songs have an element of place and space in them. How do you incorporate location in your songwriting process?
I think location plays a large part in my songwriting just because my surroundings influence everything about my life. Moving to DC has played a big role in a lot of the lyrics as a whole. A lot of it has to do with being far away from people I knew incredibly well and who knew me well also. Trying to cope without seeing certain people every day and trying to maintain intimate relationships over long distances. At the same time a lot of my songs reference memories from Virginia and my friends there. Maybe it’s less places that influence the writing but the people in those places.

Why “Del Oro”? Are listeners intended to incorporate theories of Latino studies? WHAT IF I DON’T SPEAK SPANISH?
Del Oro is actually a small reference to my favorite book, House of Leaves. I read it in a line somewhere in the book and liked the sound. The phrase is roughly translated “of the gold.” I don’t speak Spanish either. Hopefully I’m not way off the mark on that one. What if it meant something stupid like “terrible band name?” That would suck.

How do you think the GW community has influenced (if at all) your performances, songwriting, or themes?
The GW community has probably influenced my songwriting more than they might know. Obviously there are my friends, who have a huge influence on what I write. Experiences I’ve had with them continually shape who I am, and my life as a whole. I’ve written a couple songs about my best friend Maggie and I, because we spend a ton of time together. She’s been seriously the best friend I could ask for, and she’s always been super supportive of everything I’ve done. As far as GW people go she’s the best of the best, or even just regular people. She’s awesome. Of course some of the other songs are a little bit of a bummer, and that has a little to do with feeling out of place at GW. But the more time I spend here the more people I meet who make me feel like this is a place worth being at, though.

Where will we find Del Oro this summer?
This summer you’ll find me around. Can’t say what my definite plans are. I may record a short EP of a few songs I’ve been writing. I might play a few shows as they pop up. My other band, Soundtrack to Sleep, is gonna be playing a ton of shows in the Northern Virginia/DC area. But keep your ear to the ground. I’m hoping there will be some more opportunities to play in front of GW kids. Go team.

Listen to Del Oro:

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