By: Lori Smerilson Carson

There are many beautiful and inspiring things all around us, and Guitarist/Singer/Songwriter Des Rocs knows how to hone in on his surrounding to create amazing rock music. Hailing from New York, home of tons of various art, this extraordinary musician released his first EP Let the Vultures In in 2018. He continued to make a profound impression in the music industry releasing his first album A Real Good Person In A Real Bad Place in 2021. Now, his newest album DREAM MACHINE (released late 2023) is out, and he an bandmates Bassist Eric Mendelsohn and Drummer William Tully will be touring the U.S.  Florida fans will have the opportunity to experience their shows in Jacksonville at Woofstock on April 13th and in Tampa at the New World Brewery on April 14th.

Catching up with Rocs just prior to their tour, he revealed some details about the new show, about the new music, how he is inspired, and what fans can look forward to.

SFL Music Magazine: What can fans look forward to with the new show?

Des Rocs: Well, it’s going to be like pretty much every Des Rocs show before. It’s going to be an extraordinarily high intensity show. It’s profoundly energetic. It’s profoundly emotional. It’s one of the best rock and roll experiences you can ever have in your life. So, there’s a lot to look forward to.

SFL Music Magazine: You just played in Europe. What was that experience like?

Rocs: It was unbelievable! The crowds were insane. They were just these profoundly emotional and special shows that I’ll always remember.

SFL Music Magazine: The new album DREAM MACHINE, what inspired it?

Rocs: DREAM MACHINE is really inspired by the seven-year-old version of myself, dancing to rock and roll in front of the mirror, in his underwear. It’s about the idealization of rock music. The larger-than-life, awesome power it has, and taking all of that energy and just dragging it kicking and screaming into the 21st century. That’s the vision of DREAM MACHINE.

SFL Music Magazine: I heard the single “I Am The Lightning”. I love the heavy metal guitar intro with the strong vocals, and the harmonies are amazing! 

Rocs: Thank you.

SFL Music Magazine: You’re welcome. What inspired that song?

Rocs: Well, it wasn’t one particular thing. I was in a period of writing, and I always had this riff for a really long time. I tried to jam it into so many different songs, and I just knew one day, I’m gonna fit this into something. We had just gotten our drums back from a tour. They got shipped to our studio, and when you ship drums, take the drum heads and you tune them really low. They were just sitting there in the studio, and I was looking at it with these floppy drum heads on it. I went over to the drum kit and I just started playing a beat. It sounded so weird and kind of detuned to play drums in the state they’re meant to be shipped in, not played in, and that was actually kind of inspiring. I laid down this one groove, and then it all started to click. I was like, ah, let me take this guitar riff that’s been homeless for the last couple months and put it over this groove, and then, boom! It just like exploded. It was kind of like a big bang moment, and everything opened up and I was able to write the song in a couple hours.

SFL Music Magazine: Wow, that’s really cool!  What would you say inspires your music in general?

Rocs: My music is inspired by everything. My influences are not simply musical. Obviously, it’s my whole life’s journey, and in all my own experiences that I’ve had, they all filter through and come out in the records, but I’m inspired by all things. I’m inspired by New York City. I’m inspired by the culture of places that I’m in. I’m inspired by architecture. I’m inspired by other works of art. For me, the musical influences are just as important as the non-musical influences. I just am inspired by energy wherever it exists, and that can exist in cities, or it can exist in a gallery somewhere.

SFL Music Magazine: What inspired you to become a musician in the first place?

Rocs: Well, there was really no aha moment. It was just kind of my life’s calling since the day I was born. I always wanted to perform. I always loved making people feel something through the power of music and art, and it always just evolved and manifested in different ways. When I was a little kid, I was in the orchestras because that’s what was available for me at the time. Then when I was in eighth grade, I discovered rock music and bands, and it changed my world.  I’ve been hooked ever since.

SFL Music Magazine: What would you advise a new musician from the experiences that you’ve had?

Rocs: I would say, it’s just so important to be yourself and to write what you know. Make music that you are excited about and that you are passionate about, and that reflects you, and not to worry about what anybody else is doing. As long as you can stand behind the music a hundred percent as being authentically you, and as long as you are excited about it, that’s all that matters. Don’t worry about the success of what you’re doing, especially while you’re creating.

SFL Music Magazine: That’s great advice! The last time we spoke, you were walking. Do you still do that?

Rocs: Yeah, I walk a tremendous amount. I’m walking right now in the studio. I’m just pacing back and forth. I’m at equilibrium when I’m walking.

SFL Music Magazine: What do you do when you’re on the road? Do you still try to walk or do other exercises?

Rocs: I do, but I’ve learned the hard way that most cities are not as walkable as New York City. A lot of times, I came two or three miles along a highway with no sidewalk, to get to a coffee place that turns out has been closed for three years. Yeah, if I had a nickel for every time that’s happened to us on tour, I’d be pretty rich, but I do try to walk a lot. Tour, I’m just kind of like survival mode, to be honest. Especially at our level. You’re just looking for something to eat before sound check. You’re just looking for you know, try and take a shower before meet and greet. So, I don’t get to walk as much as I like to, but I certainly try.

SFL Music Magazine: There is video for “I Am The Lightning” (and “Dream Machine”). Are there going to be any new videos or singles coming out for fans to look forward to?

Rocs: Well, I just recently released a couple of fun things. I released a video of us rehearsing “I Am The Lightning”, which is on my YouTube channel. I also put out a live video from tour, from the show we did in New York a few months ago, and that’s on Sumerian, my label’s YouTube channel.

SFL Music Magazine: That’s great for fans to go check out. Is there anything else you want people to know about the tour with special guest Jigsaw Youth?

Rocs: Yeah, I’d say, don’t miss it. It’s going to be last time playing North America for quite a while. I think we’ve played a hundred shows on this continent in just the last year alone. So, we’ll probably be heading to Europe in the fall, and won’t be playing a lot of North American shows. So, definitely do not miss this.

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