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.”
“In the ‘70s, rock and roll and glam rock, it was playful,” he continues. “It was dark at times, but overall, it was very inclusive. You could be a freak, you could be a jock. Everybody was welcome at the Aladdin Sane tour. Rock and roll felt more inclusive back then. I felt maybe if I strip the masculinity out of my aesthetic, it will allow me to be sonically more heavy.”