Synth pop artist Art d’Ecco claims that “stealing” music comes with the territory
Situated in the serene backwoods of Vancouver, British Columbia, sits a cottage with a crackling wood burning stove, a constantly spinning record player and one Art d’Ecco.
He jokingly dissuades people from likening it to the infamous abode of the Unabomber, calling it anything but desolate and obscure. Surrounded by “ocean, trees and bald eagles”, d’Ecco spins classical music.
“One certainly shouldn’t get over classical. It’s classical for a reason,” said d’Ecco.
He recounts the fascination that filled him as a child trying to understand the complexity of how dropping a needle onto a black disc could produce Arthur Rubinstein’s rendition of Moonlight Sonata through an amplifier.
Frequent moving meant any rock, or otherwise cool, records his parents might have owned were broken, stolen or lost. What survived, Beethoven and friends, serves as the foundation for d’Ecco’s music to this day.
D’Ecco turned from listener to musician at age 6 when he began piano lessons, compelled by his desire to replicate the classical music in his parents’ collection , but also to entertain himself.
“Piano lessons were kind of the only activity as far as entertainment that our parents could really afford,” said d’Ecco. So piano stuck.
“I pick and choose and borrow and steal from many different kinds of sonic leanings,” d’Ecco.
When questioned about the ethics of stealing creative workings from other artists, d’Ecco quoted Picasso in saying that good artists copy, but great artists steal.
He argued that stealing comes with the territory of being an impassioned artist.
“Chances are when you first learn your instrument as a young kid or as a teenager you’re going to be drawn and passionate because of one or two, maybe three, different artists,” said d’Ecco.
For d’Ecco, classic rock artists like Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix inspired him to make the jump from classical.
“I wanted to get a Stratocaster because Mike McCready in the band Pearl Jam played one,” said d’Ecco.
Stealing music from those artists, or rather playing their music as one’s own, is a great way to foster a deep appreciation for the artform.
“And once you kind of start diluting your influences and your taste that’s when you really start to develop as a songwriter and find your own voice, said d’Ecco.
D’Ecco steals heavily on the alt-glam aesthetic and music of David Bowie for the work he produces today, arguing that while many references to the 70’s superstar are transparent, others require a little more investigation.
D’Ecco noted drawing from Bowie’s late 70’s work like “Scary Monsters” or the Berlin Trilogy era for his album Trespasser, unbeknownst to many listeners.
At the end of the day, he suggests that how someone channels their inspiration through their own lens is where true artistry lies.
You can find Art d’Ecco’s newest album Trespasser on Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp or check out their profile on the Pink Paper Bag Records website.
Words and Interview by Jenny Lee.