Interview: Des Rocs Sets Europe on Fire with Dynamic Rock, Launches US Tour in April

Des Rocs © 2024 Donna Balancia
Des Rocs - All photos © 2024 Donna Balancia

NEW YORK CITY – Des Rocs is a dynamic new Rock ‘N’ Roller who may actually have today’s music business figured out. He plays great rock music, he performs a high-energy and physical live show, and sends his fans home with vinyl for the memories.

Hot off his successful European tour, Des Rocs, AKA Danny Rocco of NYC, sat down with US Rocker Editor Donna Balancia for an interview to talk about his successful new album, Dream Machine, and a new 15-date spring headlining tour that kicks off in April. Get Tickets here.

US Rocker: People are looking forward to your spring tour. How did it go on your recent European tour?

Des Rocs: Oh, it was a dream come true. We’ve never gotten to headline in Europe before and we did 12 shows in 14 days. It was an unimaginable blitz of energy and chaos and glory every single night. Some of the best shows we’ve ever played. Just 700 kids going nuts every single night in the Europe. It was really a dream come true.

US Rocker: So, what are some of the places that you played on that tour?

Des Rocs: We did five shows in the UK, including London. We did Paris, two nights in Amsterdam because the first one sold out so fast, so we had to add a second night. And then that sold out, which is crazy. We did Milan, Rome, Bologna and Berlin.

US Rocker: What was the reception like in Paris?

Des Rocs: Paris was honestly the best of all, which is hard to say because all the shows were so good. But Paris, you kind of expect everybody to be having their arms crossed and smoking cigarettes and being “too cool.” But they all went crazy. Everybody was just locked in arms the whole time jumping up and down moshing, singing, screaming and even crying. It was beautiful.

US Rocker: And so your band is you, Eric, and Will. How did they feel about this tour?

Des Rocs: I mean, they were similarly just blown away. We had been to Europe before only as an opener and we had done some amazing opening slots before and we got an amazing reaction. But you really never know what it’s gonna be like when you headline until you just kind of put it up so it can be a bit scary. It was really cool to just do it and just go for it.

US Rocker: So tell us about a little bit about your new album.

Des Rocs: The new album is called Dream Machine. It was produced by myself along with Alain Johannes from Queens of the Stone Age and Matthew Wallace. And thing about the album is just like it’s a return to the biggest, grandest, greatest Rock N Roll you can imagine, but taking it all and just rocking it, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century and really taking these tent pole ideas and energies and completely modernizing them and filtering them through my own lens and my own life experiences.

US Rocker: Dream Machine. Does that title refer to a person, or is it a car?

Des Rocs: No, Dream Machine is really more like an abstract vessel. You know, it’s like there’s a vessel of Rock and Roll escapism that the whole album sort of lives within.

US Rocker: I think the whole album is very, it’s kind of dreamy, like a throwback to the good old days of rock.

Des Rocs: You know, it’s really like there are these incredible energies that are timeless, you know, and then for me, it’s ‘How do I tap into those energies that are timeless and enormous and really larger than life, and completely re-invent them and modernize them?’ And that is always my mission statement.

US Rocker: I think the fans kind of captured it: There were a couple of comments on one of the videos describing you as sort of an Elvis meets Queen. Would you say that’s accurate or do you think that’s a generalization?

Des Rocs: I’m definitely very inspired by both artists. But I mean, it’s interesting the legacy of Rock and Roll because like, OK, you’ve got a Freddie Mercury, Freddie Mercury tremendously inspired by Elvis. and then here I am, you know, 75 years after Elvis. And I’m not only tremendously inspired by Elvis, but I’m also tremendously inspired by the people who are tremendously inspired by him. So it’s kind of just like incestuous snowball of influences that are all just sort of like wrapped up and constantly evolving.

Check out Des Rocs’ ‘I Am The Lightning’ Live here:

US Rocker: Does the East Coast have an influence on your music?

Des Rocs: Yeah, New York City especially is just integral to everything. There’s just a certain energy here that you don’t get in the rest of the world and to have that sort of constant electricity and that constant sort of motion and hustle that’s just completely ingrained. in every single Des Rocs song.

US Rocker: How do you define success in the music business in general?

Des Rocs: In the music industry there’s just so hard to define success. You know, you could do some really, really cool things but make no money. You can make a lot of money and you could just be sitting in your basement, making music for commercials, you know. So I think because there’s no like universal metric, like there’s no MLB, there’s no World Series that you can win. It’s tough to define the success of something that’s so foreign to people.

US Rocker: How do you define success for yourself?

Des Rocs: I only define success in one way, that’s ticket sales. If I’m selling tickets, that means people resonate with what I do. And my live show is my life. I would live and die for it. So if people connect with it, then that, to me, is everything.

US Rocker: How do you get inspired for the songs that you write?

Des Rocs: You know, there’s really no process. I would say that my process is kind of me always searching for my process that in and of itself is the process as strange as that seems. I wish there was a way that it worked that I knew and understood. I wish I could say, oh, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. I’m gonna write lyrics and 1 pm to 4, I’m gonna write some guitar riffs. But unfortunately, ideas and creativity don’t really bend to the structures of modern society too well, so most ideas come in the middle of the night, or they come in the shower and I’m usually leaping out half-naked to record a voice. I’m on my phone as quickly as I can, before it disappears forever.

US Rocker: Where do you hang out in New York?

Des Rocs: You know, not many places at all. I’ve become a kind of like a creative hermit and I’d say I very rarely go out. I’m just constantly working on records. I’m so obsessed with it and any second that I am enjoying myself, I usually feel bad about it and I can’t even enjoy it.

US Rocker: What do you think are the challenges, like you say, you’re a creative hermit, so to speak. But what are some of the challenges for young people on the way up in the music world?

Des Rocs: I think they’re just been offered a very obvious path. of success in the modern music industry, which is exclusively Tik Tok and that just is going to completely narrow the types of artists that we get to enjoy and that gets to flourish in society because Tik Tok and being good at Tik Tok is a very, very, very unique and specific skill set that has absolutely nothing to do with music.

US Rocker: What do you think about vinyl?

Des Rocs: I love it. I love holding things. I love touching things. I love things. I think it’s so cool that it’s one of like our biggest selling items at shows and I think it shows a real grasp for reality in a very digital world.

US Rocker: So the fans, they respond very well to buying vinyl at your shows.

Des Rocs: Yes, and also importantly, you know, we spend a lot of time on the artwork and the packaging and that’s sort of another mode of creative expression. So in addition to the songs, they also get to experience this other part of the art, which is just as integral as the songs themselves.

US Rocker: I just give you a lot of credit. It’s not easy out there and you seem to be navigating this, this rock world with great aplomb.

Des Rocs: That means a lot to me. You know, it’s a real uphill battle and especially at rock radio when you don’t sound like Shinedown or Five Finger Death Punch, or you’re not the son of someone famous. It’s really tough to cut through and the fact that anybody’s even listening to my music, I’m grateful.

US Rocker: How do you get on the radar of music producers?

Des Rocs: I’m always knocking on people’s doors. If there’s something that I think is a good collaboration for me, I would just shamelessly email them or message them on Instagram.

US Rocker: What’s on tap for the future?

Des Rocs: There’s a lot more to come. I’m constantly working on music and I can’t wait for you to see me live again soon. Even though we did a ton of shows last year, there’s a lot more to come.

For tickets to Des Rocs’ tour go here.