ART D’ECCO

The artist wants to turn a genre in­side out: “The generic tropes of mas­culin­ity and ham-fisted bar-rock is so tired to me.”

The Coast - - COVER STORY - BY BRAN­DON YOUNG

Art d’Ecco w/Sports­fan, Fu­ture Peers, Sor­rey Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 19, 1:30pm The Lo­cal, 2037 Got­tin­gen Street, free

Ev­ery

year Hal­i­fax Pop Ex­plo­sion brings in many tal­ented artists from all around, but this year it’s got one of the most in­ter­est­ing and promis­ing new Cana­dian artists go­ing: Meet Art d’Ecco, a west coast-based, wigsport­ing, lip­stick-wear­ing, glam-rock mu­si­cian who just re­leased his de­but, Tres­passer, last week.

“I’ve never been to the east coast, and I’m very ex­cited,” says d’Ecco. “I can’t wait to eat seafood, be­cause I hear that’s a big thing there.”

d’Ecco grew up on the west coast, mov­ing to Van­cou­ver in his late teens, where he played in a few bands, but found lit­tle suc­cess. “I re­mem­ber my late 20s and all of my friends were get­ting mar­ried, start­ing fam­i­lies, be­ing gain­fully em­ployed, et cetera,” says d’Ecco. “I re­mem­ber say­ing, ‘Well I’ve got a cou­ple of guitars and a nag­ging han­gover—does that count for any­thing?’”

Grow­ing bored of chas­ing the dream, d’Ecco moved to the Gulf Is­lands to do some soulsearch­ing while car­ing for his anx­i­ety-rid­den grand­mother. Pass­ing off “Bo­hemian Rhap­sody” as Beethoven, he played pi­ano to calm her nerves. Fol­low­ing her de­par­ture to a care home, he was left in an “alarm­ingly quiet” house where his near­est neigh­bours were the tres­pass­ing deer and ea­gles that flew over his home. “That old pi­ano would just beckon to me at night—I would get so bored and pa­thet­i­cally lone­some that I’d start play­ing and I got sucked back into mu­sic in the most or­ganic and nat­u­ral way,” he says of the soli­tary pe­riod which gave birth to Art d’Ecco. It’s that type of iso­la­tion that helped create

Tres­passer, con­structed in a vac­uum con­sist­ing of late ’70s Bowie, ’80s fringe cul­ture, vin­tage MTV and camp. “It’s a record col­lec­tor’s record,” says d’Ecco. “There’s a cold­ness and alien­ation of sep­a­ra­tion from so­ci­ety that the sto­ries tell on Tres­passer. In hind­sight, I have trou­ble de­ci­pher­ing which ones are au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal and which ones are pure fab­ri­ca­tion be­cause there’s a lot of fic­tion on the al­bum and some per­sonal sto­ries.”

With vin­tage gui­tar and synth sounds rem­i­nis­cent of glam rock, the singer’s soft vo­cals shim­mer amongst the­atri­cal songs like lead sin­gle “No­body’s Home,” a song in­spired by an older woman d’Ecco knew who spent her life “on the run” from an abu­sive ex-boyfriend. “How could some­one with so much joy and hap­pi­ness on the sur­face har­bour such a dark, evil and retched past that was so un­fair and un­just?” says d’Ecco.

With an an­drog­y­nous sense of fash­ion ac­cen­tu­ated by pale-white makeup, d’Ecco says his style is more than just a per­sonal style choice—it’s a state­ment. “I could eas­ily go on stage in jeans and a t-shirt and let my neck­beard out and dial it in as a more hon­est, hard­work­ing look,” he says, “but I feel in­die­rock and the generic tropes of mas­culin­ity and ham-fisted bar-rock is so tired to me and so part of the prob­lem.”

He hopes to en­gage an au­di­ence he feels isn’t well rep­re­sented in to­day’s rock scene. “When it’s in­clu­sive it doesn’t mat­ter if you’re gay, straight, white, Black, your level of in­come—it used to be the genre of in­clu­siv­ity,” says d’Ecco. “Rock and roll was meant to bring peo­ple to­gether be­cause it wasn’t overtly mas­cu­line or ma­cho. When you strip away the mas­culin­ity and aes­thet­ics of rock and roll, you’re left with a sense of dan­ger and androgyny that makes it more ap­peal­ing and more in­clu­sive as a whole.”

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