Adrienne Vanderocker certainly has no shortage of musical inspiration drawing on a wealth of diverse genres and influence that has surrounded her throughout her life. Hailed as LA’s Indie Queen, Vanderocker blends Alt Punk with Electro Pop and sonically massive impressions from the era of Berlin and David Bowie.
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born and where are you now?
I was born and raised in Austin, Texas and now I’m residing in Los Angeles.
Who are you as an artist?
As for mediums, I am a performance artist, visual artist, composer, singer-songwriter, producer and musician. I don’t like to call myself a solo artist because I’m always collaborating with someone on some level. When it comes to the artistic energy behind the project, there’s definitely a proclivity towards being disruptive. Being disruptive is often incredibly important and incredibly undervalued. Often people associate disruptive energy with disturbing energy, and while my stuff can be a little out there at times, there is no aim to disturb anyone. I generally prefer to leave people feeling stimulated, perhaps a bit more romantic or poetic on some level; self-examining, a little more sincere, a little more connected.
Your track Cult For You from your upcoming album immediately jumps out and lifts you off your seat, when can we expect the video and do you have your eyes on a particular director?
Fantastic! That’s the goal- get off your seat and into your body! I’m actually writing this on a break while shooting the film for this, and the footage is gorgeous. I can’t wait to share it with you all! I decided to tackle directing this project myself and am expecting this piece to release in the beginning of January 2021. We just shot for two days and what we got is insanely beautiful. If there is a delay, it will be because my brain exploded trying to decide what footage to use. Additionally, Cult For You is a tad erotic, so I may be cutting two versions of the project. I have a real couple playing the lovers, who happen to be contemporary dancers, and the sequences turned out gorgeous. So many heartfelt moments and striking images. Alongside the obvious joys and rapture of love, we are also looking at many of the possible shadow aspects of ‘relating to other’ such as frustration, domination, sadness, and conflict. The hope is to convey both the shadow and the sunny aspects through a compassionate lens. I also like the idea of showing how often we think we are in control, when there are so many hidden forces influencing us. That force is being personified in a sort of phantom character I play that controls magnetism and chemistry, the wind, the elements. We spontaneously pulled our three crew members to play characters in this piece, and one of them ended up being the perfect angelic character for Endless City, very much modeled after the late Bruno Ganz in Wings of Desire. I looked at him and realized he had those ever loving eyes and had to rope him into the project. Too beautiful. Wings of Desire had a big influence on me in my early years so there will be many little nods and kisses to it throughout the project. Very grateful for that masterpiece.
What do you like more, rainy Sundays or sunny Saturdays and why?
I love you for asking this. Personally, I have to go with rainy Saturdays. Firstly, because I’m from Texas and live in LA, so haven’t seen nearly enough rain in my life, even with a brief stint in Seattle. I find rain incredibly soothing, cleansing, balancing, melodic, romantic, you get the idea. Secondly, I just like Saturdays in general because I have that ridiculous thing where I can’t relax fully on Sundays because I get task anxiety for the upcoming week. I’m just sitting there mentally preparing for it all day. I’m a little neurotic that way.
What are the musical pieces that make up Vanderocker?
Tracks like Back For You, Point Defiance, and of course Driftwood have been getting the most exposure. They’re all very different from one another. Fly By in Slo-Mo charted on the NACC earlier this year which is a fun and campy 60’s thing. I’m hearing a lot from people that love completely different pieces. I guess that’s an advantage for being so broad stylistically. People find their camp, their river in the project and tap into it.
Where would you like to see the group in one year and what’s the ultimate dream?
Well with Covid as robust as it is in the states right now, I am starting to get more into my roots in performance art again, as well as visual arts/short films/music imagery. So that may develop more and more until we can start to do the venue thing again. This may likely carry over to the venue thing as well, who knows! The ultimate dream is to be able to write, create, perform endlessly and have opportunities to work with any and all my artistic idols, of course. I want the project to stay somewhat open ended so I can continue to make anything. I feel very lucky that way, I’m not pinned into any corner and can be as wide or narrow as I want to be. Ultimately my dream is that this project can bring people back to the arts in a deeper way; that we can work from a more spontaneous, less predictable, less perfect space. I want people to feel more. I want people to feel better. I want people to feel fed and filled with really good, nourishing, energizing food for the soul. I have some ideas for this project down the road, let’s see what happens.
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
Well my name happens to mean ‘The Dark One’, which is funny and odd because I consider myself to be a somewhat light-hearted person, or at least, I’d like to be, lol. I suppose stemming from that, I’d see dark beauty as poetry that grows in the shadows, the fruit of suffering, perhaps what we truly live for. The honey in life, that one can only taste after having lived a bit. It’s definitely good stuff and only comes to those who have paid admission. That suffering is good, important, and available to anybody. It doesn’t have to be traumatic, just enough of a contrast to make sunshine a little more tasty and tactile, if that makes sense. Dark beauty is how diamonds are formed; under transformative time, stress, and pressure. It’s the stuff that shapes the soul…