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BIO

Art d’Ecco

The Gulf Islands of the Pacific Northwest are an enigma. The islands jut up through the brisk waters of the Pacific Ocean, and just as the likes of Vancouver and Seattle exist at the intersection of opulences both natural and manmade, the islands host multitudes in their lush, hushed red cedar and Doug Fir skyscrapers. Art d’Ecco is one such multitude: an unapologetic, inclusive rock and roll mystic in a wig and lipstick. d’Ecco’s new record, Trespasser, is a product of those islands, where he wrote and prepared the album in a cottage. It was in these woods, shrouded in fog rolling off the ocean and surrounded by deer, rabbits, and a reclusive neighbour, that Art d’Ecco found not just the clarity of stillness, but the loneliness and isolation of it. These he has distilled into a record of mystery, fluidity, and neon glam-rock stomp. When d’Ecco moved into his grandmother’s cottage on one of the islands, he hadn’t planned on creating a new project. But, as it often does, circumstance charted his course. His grandmother, living with Alzheimer’s, suffered a related phenomenon called ‘sundowning,’ which triggers increased agitation and anxiety around sunset. “The only way to calm this lady down was to sit down at the piano,” says d’Ecco. He would play “Bohemian Rhapsody,” passing it off as Beethoven. “She would sit there for a couple hours just listening to me noodle away.” After she was relocated, d’Ecco remained in the empty house where he had played as a child. Draped in memory, he gravitated toward the piano, spending the long, lonesome, quiet nights on the bench before the instrument. This is where Art d’Ecco was created. He relocated to a new cottage, but depression and loneliness followed him. Determined to return to music but cut off from the mainland music scene he was once a part of, he built a studio in his new lodgings, and barricaded himself with copies of Deerhunter’s Cryptograms, Bowie’s Low, and choice krautrock records.

In this solitude, d’Ecco would chase tones for hours. The result is a richly-realized confluence of the ferocious spark of those trailblazers and a distinct sadness, with d’Ecco as mad scientist, stitching together these delicious fragments and animating them. But the project was still insular, secret. d’Ecco would stumble across NO TRESPASSING signs in the woods around his cottage; he couldn’t shake them. “Trespassing is someone who doesn’t belong somewhere, and is forbidden from going somewhere,” he says. The alienation d’Ecco felt was present in those signs: cut off, isolated, restricted. He decided that he would ignore the signs, and he would ignore them as Art d’Ecco: an androgynous front person in a lipstick, wig, and costume. The fluidity that d’Ecco embraces had its day in the sun with glam rock’s celebration of androgyny, but the mainstream in 2018 is painfully lacking in beyond-the-binary experiences. d’Ecco wants to change that. “It’s gonna make some people feel uncomfortable,” he says. “Maybe I don’t belong. But I’m pushing my agenda on the masses. “That agenda includes more than overdriven guitars, Italian analogue synths, and d’Ecco’s ear for melancholic melodicism. It means balancing the scales, encouraging inclusivity and love, and dethroning the dudes-in-jeans-and-t-shirts aesthetic from alternative rock. “I’m into androgyny and the theatre of the bizarre and the absurd, and challenging the masculine overtones of the rock and roll industry,” he says firmly. “The aesthetic of rock is a little tired.” “Trespasser is an album about what is, what was, and what could’ve been,” d’Ecco says. “Sometimes you gotta get dark before you find the light.”

HOMETOWN: Gulf Islands, BC

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