Join us as we explore what it takes to create the album A Real Good Person In A Real Bad Place by Des Rocs.
In this episode we talk about the essence of the album, his creative north star, the universal language of music, living in a post genre world, art, expression and community Building.
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DES ROCS ALIVE
Venue: Bowery Ballroom
Date: November 4, 2021
Address: 6 Delancey St, New York, NY 10002
Direction of the Record | The Essence of the Album | Creative Northstar | There Are No Rules | Sonics are Important | MMC | Taking Big Creative Swings | Music Should Be An Adventure | Grand Slam or Nothing | Cinematic Experience | Doesn’t Like Background Music | The Sound | The Energy of the Song | Constantly Experimenting | Big Shot by Billy Joel | Individuality is Everything | Green Acres Mall | Hard Hitting Bass | Interpret the Music as You May | I Know | No Go-To Musical Tricks | Humanity is Complicated | The Creative Process | Love the Blues | Using the Blues as One of Many Colors in His Palette | Fourth Generation New Yorker | Rock and Roll is Whatever the Fuck you Want it to Be | Opening for the Rolling Stones | Proof of Concept | Creative Instinct | Too Precious with the Genre | Over 150,000,000+ Streams | Art, Expression and Community Building | The Universal Language of Music | Its a Post Genre World | Imaginary Friends | Bedroom Arena Rock | Too Cool For School | Twelve-Thousand Stops | Living Proof | The Struts | Weezer | Bare Your Soul | You Fucking Love or Hate It | Writing Out His Plan | Dreamer | Always Surround Yourself with True Believers | A Long Term Vision, Takes A Long Time To Create | Everything is the Des Rocs Universe is Earned One Step at a Time | Always Do You | Suicide Romantics
Take a Deeper Dive into Des Rocs!
“I’m here to drag rock and roll into the 21st century kicking and screaming if I have to.” says Des Rocs. “It’s what I was put on this Earth to do.”
If that sounds ambitious for a skinny misfit from New York, consider the following: in the three years since Des Rocs first began releasing songs from his New York City bedroom, he’s racked up more than 150 million streams, cracked the Top 30 at Alternative Radio, and even opened for the Rolling Stones. Now, he’s ready to once again elevate and evolve with the release of his pulse-pounding, genre-bending, full-length debut, A Real Good Person In A Real Bad Place, out September 24, 2021, via 300 Entertainment (Megan Thee Stallion, Young Thug, Highly Suspect).
“This album is a journey in every sense of the word,” Des explains. “It’s a journey through the rabbit holes lining the roads of our escapist fantasies, a journey into the abyss between dreams and reality, a journey filled with resilience, madness, inner demons, and personal growth.”
Self-recorded, A Real Good Person In A Real Bad Place demonstrates that Des Rocs is in a league of his own. The album is bold and intoxicating, drawing on rock and roll, punk, and electronic music to forge a “bedroom arena rock” sound that’s at once deeply intimate and profoundly expansive.
“It’s a kind of uniquely American prayer.” says Des. “It’s the ultimate expression of who I am as an artist.”
While the songs here are steeped in struggle and uncertainty, Des’ performances are anything but, exuding a kind of raw confidence and defiant magnetism that hints at everything from Freddie Mercury to Elvis Presley. The result is a record as addictive as it is unpredictable, a wild, cathartic work of liberation and escapism that thrives on breaking the rules and subverting expectations at every turn.
“Rock and roll is about individuality, about uncompromising authenticity,” Des reflects. “It’s about following your instincts and making something that’s uniquely and unapologetically you.”
Born Danny Rocco in New York, Des fell in love with music at an early age, but it was the violin, not the guitar, that first captured his imagination. That all changed in middle school, though, when a friend brought him to see his first punk rock show.
“I lost my fucking mind,” Des laughs. “It opened my eyes to this whole world that I never knew existed, and the very next day, I started my first band.”
Thus began a lifetime of hustling and dreaming and grinding it out one sweaty, ecstatic show at a time. While he was still in high school, Des would take the train into the city to play whatever dive bars and dingy clubs would have him (since they were underage, he and his bandmates would often have to leave immediately after playing). On nights that he wasn’t performing, Des would go downtown to catch punk and hardcore bands at clubs like Irving Plaza and the Mercury Lounge and lose himself in the riotous energy.
“I’m a fourth generation New Yorker on both sides of my family,” says Des, who prides himself on his encyclopedic knowledge of the city’s best pizza and vintage shops. “My grandfather was a milkman in Queens. This city’s in my blood, and growing up, I just wanted to live and breathe it every day.”
With stints in various groups as a guitarist and songwriter, he shared bills with the likes of Weezer, Fall Out Boy, and Panic! At The Disco before creating Des Rocs in 2018. Starting over from scratch, Des threw himself into his music 24/7 as a solo artist, writing every day on the subway and recording every night out of a small New York City apartment. The setup was spartan—jerry-rigged power, an old digital audio interface bought off Craigslist for $60, guitars plugged directly in without amps—and that’s just the way he liked it.
“A lot of the recording techniques I used would make a real engineer want to vomit,” Des explains, “but I just follow what sounds good. I don’t care what year a guitar is from or how expensive the mixing board is. Me & my homie from high school, Gerry, are doing it ourselves. We just go with ears and guts.”
In 2018, Des released his first EP, Let The Vultures In, to an immediate and rapturous response, with opening track “Let Me Live / Let Me Die” amassing more than 50 million streams on Spotify alone. A year later, Des was onstage at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia opening for the Rolling Stones in front of an audience of 80,000.
“Getting to play with the Stones was one of the most validating experiences of my entire life,” says Des. “But at the same time, the minute I got offstage I was already working out in my head what it was going to take to be the one headlining the stadium next time.”
That same inexorable ambition fueled Des’s two subsequent EPs—2019’s Martyr Parade and 2020’s This Is Our Life, which helped land him dates with Muse, Grandson, The Struts, and The Glorious Sons, among others. His previous EPs serve as the lifeblood of A Real Good Person In A Real Bad Place, which consistently swings for the fences with larger than life arrangements and blistering, theatrical performances. Lead single “MMC” swerves from ferocious to playful and back again as it rails against all things fake and manufactured; the mesmerizing “Devil Inside” grapples with deep internal conflict atop a relentless digital beat and feverish guitar; and the driving “Hanging By A Thread” reaches out for connection and understanding in a moment of need. The industrial-leaning “Imaginary Friends,” meanwhile, wrestles with warring personality traits, and the high-octane “Liberation” cuts loose with complete and total abandon.
“When I’m onstage, I want it to feel big and glorious, but I also want to take people on a ride through the full spectrum of emotion,” says Des, who’s set to headline iconic rooms like the Troubadour and the Bowery Ballroom on his debut US headline tour this fall. “I want you to laugh. I want you to cry. I want you to fucking mosh. I want you to leave the show feeling like you’ve had a spiritual experience.”
Scratch beneath the surface on the album and you’ll find a level of introspection and maturity belied by the raucous nature of the music. The mesmerizing “Rabbit Hole,” for instance, showcases a more delicate, sensitive side of Des’ songwriting, while the moody “Manic Memories” explores depression and melancholia with great empathy, and the gutsy “Born To Lose” takes on doubt and insecurity through gritted teeth.
“At the end of the day, I just wanna push and push and push,” says Des. “I feel like the world is asleep right now, and I wanna wake it up.”
A Real Good Person In A Real Bad Place ultimately demonstrates that Des Rocs is driven, focused, inventive, and just getting started.
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