A couple years ago a mysterious new figure appeared on the Vancouver music scene. As if out of nowhere, this being -- all sharp, dark bangs, glowing skin and one of the most amazing boot collections you’ve ever seen -- was up on stages impressing the locals with their brand of pop music that seemingly channeled the past and the future simultaneously. This mystery person is Art d’Ecco. Since those initial shows d’Ecco has written and recorded a new album called Trespasser, which will be released to the world October 12th through Paper Bag Records.

Trespasser is an interesting statement from such a new artist. It may not immediately grab you with a ton of ear worm-y hooks but instead it sinks in and subtlety, but surely, won’t leave your head. “Trespasser is the sound of me left to my own devices on the Gulf Islands of BC. My record collection and my wood-stove provided me with warm comforts throughout the winter of 2016 and 17 as the demos started to come to life,” d’Ecco says. “I was listening to a lot of Deerhunter’s Cryptograms and Halycyon Digest, and the Berlin era of Bowie’s catalogue. I spent hours chasing the synth tones and production techniques utilized on Portishead's 3, and Edgar Froese’s Epsilon in Malaysian Pale.” The record does seem like a sum of many influences. Some that d’Ecco, like Bowie, literally wears on his sleeve. “It [Trespasser] is a treasure-trove of music collector references; a window display at the record shop I run in my brain,” d'Ecco laughs. This isolation Art d’Ecco feels living alone on the Gulf Islands also played a big role in the creation of the album. "I write in a vacuum. I’m on an island surrounded by dense forest. I can smell the Pacific Ocean from my driveway. There are bald eagles circling the trees above my cottage.”

From the Gulf Islands, d’Ecco brought these songs to Vancouver and Jason Corbett, who has produced many great local records over the years out of Jacknife Sound. “Jason’s known me since I was a teenager. He turned me onto a lot of the influences I reference on Trespasser, including classic film soundtracks and how they can play a major role in shaping a musical composition,” d’Ecco says. “We had long chats about the sonic aesthetics I wanted to achieve. We spoke about how do we make the record sound like things I’ve seen and felt in the past? The distortion lens of time plays a role in the stories told on Trespasser. They’re an amalgam of real life and pure fiction. Over time, the line blurs and we’re left with a standard narrative and repetitive themes.”

Helped out by many local musicians, d’Ecco and Corbett set out to bring these songs to life. “A lot of great Vancouver musicians lent their talents - Adam Fink and Jahmeel Russell, who form the rhythm section in ACTORS, Francesca Carbonneau and Rebecca Gray sang incredible back ups. Matty Reed played sax, Joseph Lubinsky played upright bass on a song. Emily Bach on violins,” explains d’Ecco. “It was a collective of players that worked to elevate the songs to another level, acting as a conduit, filtering my ideas through their musicianship. Everybody was a dream to play with and just stepped in and delivered. The challenging part was capturing my vocal performances." d’Ecco goes on to say how he even reached out to some of his personal heroes to see about contributing to the recording’s sound. “One night I randomly sent an email to Ben H. Allen, who produced Deerhunter’s Halcyon Digest, asking him about some of the vocal production techniques they may have utilized. I didn’t expect him to read it, much less respond - but an hour later he emailed me back with some tips that changed the course of the entire record. I stepped out the booth, we scrapped the condensers and started to print vocal effects on the fly. What you hear on the record is me singing through a bunch of guitar pedals, plugged straight into a crappy solid state Vox guitar amp, which was mic’d up. Don’t underestimate the power of experimenting. Embrace it." With the album wrapped and ready to hit the world soon, d’Ecco is excited to get the band together and embrace the road. “I look forward to touring,” d’Ecco exclaims. “I can’t wait to meet anyone that is into the album. Let us rejoice together and celebrate the power of music.”

Photo credit: Mandy-Lyn

Leave a comment

ION Magazine 170-422 Richards Street Vancouver BC Canada V6B 2Z4
© Copyright ION Publishing Group 2013