Vlad Holiday

PopGun Presents

Vlad Holiday

Des Rocs, Lip Talk

Apr 03

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Elsewhere - Zone One

Brooklyn, NY


This event is 16 and over

Des Rocs
Des Rocs
Rock is a dirty word in 2018. It used to represent singular artists whose charisma and bravado commanded ownership of a stage. Musicians like Freddie Mercury, Elvis, or Roy Orbison would strike audiences with the intoxication of their sheer presence. Today's version of stars are more likely to strike them with inflatable dinosaurs or confetti cannons. We need to be reminded what it means to truly experience rock 'n' roll, not just consume it. We need to reclaim the ineffable feeling of pulse-pounding, sweat-pouring, honest-to-greatness rock music.

We need Des Rocs.

After gaining acclaim as one half of Secret Weapons, Des Rocs, aka Danny Rocco, learned what it's like to be part of the prepackaged music industry. He's seen how those shopworn tunes with 17 credited writers are put together, and he's witnessed thousands of screaming fans singing along to those songs as massive touring acts phone in performances. On a sonic level, he understands the appeal; the music sounds well done. On an emotional one, though, he can't believe in it the way he recalls believing in the bands that birthed the genre.

"It doesn't have that certain intangible energy and boldness that I just get high off of," Des says. "There's something about Freddie Mercury's uppercut first in the sky that no one else could really do right now. If some singer went like that live and just stared out at 20,000 people, I think people would be like, 'Oh, that's creepy.' It wouldn't make you feel good."

So Des Rocs decided to make people feel good again. Bridging the gap between what we all grew up thinking about rock 'n' roll and where rock is now meant going back to the basics of songwriting. He purposefully made the work lonesome as a reaction to the overworked, canned feeling of modern music. With just a single guitar pedal, his laptop, and a 1961 Ampex H1390 microphone -- for which he had to get a special cable made just to use with current equipment -- he absconded to Ecuador on the cheapest flights he could find to write the first Des Rocs material. Later, he rented an Airbnb in Upstate New York to further flesh out the compositions.

What resulted were songs written towards a feeling rather than the inescapable sound of radio hits. Lovesick sorrow from '50s pop romances beats in the heart of "Don't Hurt Me", and "Give Me the Night" revs the driving, confident seduction of '70s rockers once more. "Hold On" taps into that era's vulnerable side with lines like, "I tried everything to make it hurt less/ So could you hold on to me?" Perhaps nothing better sums up Des Rocs' passion for the glory days of rock than his debut single "HVY MTL DRMR", a flamethrower of a track that finds Des speaking to "myself at 14 finding an acoustic guitar in my mom's attic about what the next 10 years will be like."

Yet even as he's revitalizing a long dormant essence, Des isn't ignoring prevailing proclivities. On one hand, there's that old mic, something that was barely used even when it was first produced. Des likes it for its "raw" qualities, saying, "I'm not running it through autotune, I'm not doing anything. It makes my vocals sound different in a way that you can't download from Splice or just plug in."

On the flip side, he embraces what it means to produce a song in 2018. This is bombastically loud music constructed unironically for speakers that hit 11, buzzing with all the electricity of contemporary hits. The difference is Des and his co-producers, the acclaimed duo Katalyst, are careful to amp things up only in service to the songs as originally written. "Every sound sounds great, but if they're not in the pursuit of a greater song, then what's the point? So much ear candy, but it's not complimenting anything," Des says of artists falling into traps of overproduction. "For me, the modern production is a vessel for the song and the style of performance I want to bring back."

And that's the great Trojan Horse of Des Rocs' music. By heeding "the urge to compete sonically for the modern ear," he's crafted songs that feel ineluctable. They will worm deep into your ear, bringing with them a sense of personality you didn't even realize your music collection was missing. It's nostalgia without the sentimentality, a repurposing of all present-day recording processes have to offer to highlight what made rock special when it was barebones.

"The best shit's already been done," declares Des, "you just have to go find out what it was and modernize it. If it feels cheesy, if it feels '60s, if it feels '70s, then I'm not gonna do it. But if I can do it in a completely 2018 context, then that makes me really happy."

These songs are but the first salvo in Des Rocs' war against musical monotony. He has aspirations beyond just putting out records and touring the world -- though he'll do that too. He's here to remind people of a bygone perception of rock, one where the authenticity of a performer could transcend the meretricious and become a rarified beacon of what makes music glorious.

"I don't want to save rock and roll," Des states with firm sincerity. "I just want to give people the feeling I think we're missing."
Lip Talk
Lip Talk
LIP TALK is the moniker of Sarah K. Pedinotti, an experimental pop producer, multi-instrumentalist, and singer-songwriter based in Brooklyn, New York. She's a frequent collaborator in numerous bands ( Kalbells, Okkervil River, Cuddle Magic, The Secret Machines) a studio musician, and a touring live performer. With the premiere of her new single, "Artemis," Lip Talk announced her forthcoming debut album, DAYS, which will be released in 2018.
Venue Information:
Elsewhere - Zone One
599 Johnson Ave.
Brooklyn, NY, 11237