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.
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.”