D.C.R. Pollock is an Orange County-based singer-songwriter with a true revolutionary spirit – both musically and politically. We had to chance to ask him a few questions about his unique sound and the audience that follows, his work with The People’s Initiative, and his thoughts on the current state of the corporate music industry.
When did you first start playing music?
I started playing music when I was about 8. Didn’t really start writing songs till I was in high school. So maybe 15 or 16.
What artists did you grow up listening to?
I grew up in a pretty sheltered home. We only really listened to contemporary christian music that was on the radio. I had a burnt CD of 30 seconds to Mars’ Beautiful Lie that I kept in the closet and maybe listened to twice. I didn’t really develop my own taste for music till streaming was a thing. I must’ve been in like 7th or 8th grade when that happened. That was during that hipster folk revival stuff like Fleet Foxes and Mumford.
What is your songwriting process like?
90% of the time it starts with lyrics – the music comes pretty easy to me after that. I’m always jotting down lyrics on my phone. When I sit down to write I’ll just scroll through and find something worth putting down and start from there.
What are your favorite lyrics you’ve ever written and why?
Probably the opening lines to ‘Bloomin’ off of Young Buck:
or madness can
express the depths
that I would tread
to keep you near me
till the end
or at least
till the mornin’
I just really like the way it flows. It’s fun to say even apart from the music. I feel like the content compacts a lot into a little too. It’s all very extra. Just an over the top emotion to a one night stand. It climbs like a really heartfelt love poem and then just resolves with ‘or like we can just have tonight’. It’s pretty damn stupid in a lot of ways. I love it.
Where did the inspiration for the “Lost Track” video come from? What was it like shooting the video?
I’m all about single shot videos. Partially because they’re super lucrative. It’s usually one day of shooting for a few hours. I knew I wanted it to center around me and someone laying on a couch since those are the opening lyrics. I’ve always been obsessed with New Year’s for some reason. Melancholy partying is one of my favorite aesthetics. So I knew I wanted that in the video somehow. I threw all these ideas at my buddy John Rizkallah and he made it all happen. He got the team, the props, and the set, in addition to directing and producing the whole thing. Dude’s a stud. I’ll be working with him for a while.
Who would you say has been your demographic?
My Spotify data says its primarily dudes between the ages of 18 and 34. At shows and events it’s primarily college students. A lot of people a lot hipper than I am. That’s all I can say.
What artists have you been listening to lately?
That new Fiona Apple got me in another dimension right now. A lot of Tom Waits and Peter Oren as well.
If you could tour with anyone, who would you love to tour with?
Tom Waits or the hologram of Billy Ray Cyrus.
If you were to form a cover band, what band would you cover and what would you name the band?
Tom Waits. I’d call the band ‘Journey 2.’
How do you get over writer’s block / creative blocks?
I walk away for a little. Usually make myself a meal or somethin’. If it’s real bad, I’ll take a day or two away from it. Gotta focus on other things and let your subconscious write. The worst thing you can do is stand up from a writer’s block and keep tryin’ to write in your head.
What do you do in your free time when you’re not working on music?
I help organize with a mutual aid network here in Orange County called ‘The People’s Initiative.’ It’s a coalition of Socialist/Left Parties and Organizers. I primarily work in food redistribution and outreach. Collectively the mutual aid network provides meals and supplies for about 100 plus people a week ranging from low income families to homeless communities. I largely work in organizing drives and outreaches for the unhoused, but the group as a whole does a lot of incredible work. I also do a whole lot of gardening. Just planted a good amount of potatoes that I’m really looking forward to seeing grow.
What are any positives to the current state of the music industry, you feel will come from the stay at home situation?
Let me start by saying my experience with the music ‘industry’ is very limited. I was a hired gun for a band on Interscope for only about two years. But a common experience I had was people claiming my hard work for their own. The band would sound awesome and an MD would take the credit. The artist would make a genuine connection with another artist and get to jump on a handful of shows and management would take the credit. I realized that everyone was finessing off other people’s hard work. This pandemic is testing who really has the work ethic. People who have been finessing had the rug ripped out from them. There’s a lot of people who’ve been promising me big things that have just suddenly gone off the grid. The worst part is at some point artists start believing that the industry structure really is essential, but this pandemic is allowing artists to realize how much they’ve actually been doing themselves or what they could’ve just done themselves. The industry is becoming brutally apparent of how unnecessary a lot of it is – especially a lot of the people in it. I think another huge thing people realized is how fucked up and unsustainable the touring model is for artists. The only way a lot of artists on these labels make money is just being on the road their whole life. It’s shining a lot of light on how the structure needs to change on how artists make money.
What’s been keeping you busy during quarantine?
Pretty much what I mentioned before, I’ve been organizing and gardening primarily. Doin some reading and writing, but not as much as I thought I would. It’s alright though. I feel as though staying sane and healthy is more important than being productive right now. My girlfriend and I have been watching a shit ton of nature documentaries. I got a group chat goin’ with Lexi Vega, Jake Tittle and Sarah Tudzin that is popping off all the time. We’ll do like live stream movies together or play SIMS 4 or some shit like that. That’s been a highlight.
Any Movie or TV recommendations for our readers?
I just watched Reds for the first time. If that doesn’t get some revolutionary blood pumping, then I’m not sure you got it. My brothers got me hooked on Midnight Gospel too. That show’s a trip, but I’m pretty into it. Haven’t been doing a whole lot of watching besides that and Our Planet.
What is the last book you read? Are you reading anything now?
I just finished a collection of short stories by Tolstoy that was game changing. I swear by that dude. I’m currently reading How Europe Under Developed Africa by Walter Rodney. I’m only about a quarter of the way through and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s so damn important for our politics to be centered on the fact that our power and wealth has been stolen from other nations.
How would you describe your sound to people who don’t know you?
This has been the question for me for a while. I usually just say it’s singer songwriter music with some wild arrangements. My sound changes just about every record, but the consistent feature is that it’s very lyric heavy and centered around my voice and a guitar. This new record I’m working on is primarily nylon guitar, piano, horns and a choir of vocals.
You can follow D.C.R. Pollock here and listen below: