Drawing together elements of grunge, rock and punk into one unique sound, US-based Dez Rocket is truly exceptional. We speak with Rocket about his latest album Dezert Rocket, musical inspiration and favourite celebrities.
OSR: What drew you to music?
Rocket: Music has always moved my spirit; the sound vibrations are intoxicating. I also began writing music at a very young age which reinforced my connection to sound. It’s always been able to fill any void I’ve had throughout my life and it lets me walk in another world.
OSR: What can you tell us about your new album Dezert Rocket?
Rocket: I’ve been told I wear my heart on my sleeve and I think that comes through in an introspective sense, but I also touch on things like ascension and upliftment as we travel through the galaxy into the age of Aquarius. It’s also the first album I’ve ever recorded that I can call a “fun” record. I am usually a bit more intense with more angst-driven songs, but I just wanted to have fun with this one. I also did some experimentation using instruments I’ve never used before on a record like a saxophone and harmonica. I also tried to arrange the songs in an order that would take the listener on a journey into a remote section of Dezlandia.
OSR: Did you face any challenges when recording or writing the album?
Rocket: OMG, funny you ask. Here’s a quick synopsis of the recording process: we had 12 pieces of damaged equipment, a catastrophic computer failure, an earthquake, my house caught fire, a tree fell on the first studio, I took care of my dying father for nine weeks and watched him die, and afterwards I got so sick I thought I was going to die. So yeah, you could say it was a bit challenging. At times it felt more like earth-shattering but we survived. RIP Pop.
OSR: If you could change anything about Dezert Rocket, what would it be and why?
Rocket: We went into the recording process with a laissez-faire attitude. The two drummers I used, Jeff Duarte and Chris Walker, learned the songs in the studio just prior to recording and Chris and I played without a click. Although we captured some phenomenal tracks, I think the next album I’ll go with a more “rehearsed” approach if possible. I could have also done without the laundry list of challenges we faced, but, like they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
OSR: Which do you find more difficult: melody or lyrics?
Rocket: Lyrics. As a music listener, I’ve never really been that focused on the lyrics, so when it’s time to pen some words for my songs I usually wait ’til the last second with only a rough outline created during the writing process. I do find that I write better lyrics when I have a deadline. I think it helps with my focus.
OSR: What is the most challenging part of being a musician?
Rocket: At this point, I can easily say making a living. In this day and age, a musician needs to be skilled at marketing and self-promotion – the two things that elude me. Back in the day when I was just a touring musician, I made a living playing gigs night after night and my income was basically guaranteed. Now, with my focus being more on releasing music, it’s not such a sure thing with revenue sharing the way it is, especially when something like 50,000 songs get released every day it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.
OSR: What inspires you to make music?
Rocket: The need to create and the thrill of creation. Bringing something into reality that didn’t exist moments before is the thrill I chase like a drug.
OSR: What has been your favourite performance to date?
Rocket: I don’t really have one. Every show is unique and makes its own memories, so I would be hard-pressed to single out just one.
OSR: If you could spend the weekend with any celebrity (not necessarily a musician), who would it be and why?
Rocket: Wow, that’s a tough one. Assuming you mean alive or dead, off the top of my head I’ll say John Belushi. He was such an amazing talent both comedically and musically. I absolutely fell in love with the movie The Blues Brothers starring Belushi, Akroyd and an all-star cast; I think I memorised every line of dialogue! Belushi is brilliant.
OSR: Do you have any future plans?
Rocket: Yes! I’m starting pre-production on my next album this week with all-new material and plan on recording and releasing another record in 2022. In the meantime, I’ll be releasing a seven-song EP of previously recorded tracks early next year.
OSR: Do you have a message for our readers?
Rocket: If you want some deep questions, go within not without. Don’t be swayed by others negativity and transmute it into positivity when possible. Do what your heart desires, don’t let your mind play tricks, and always follow your bliss.