Artist of the Week: Des
Des is the new solo project for Long Island-based musician Mike Desmond. The electro-indie single, “Don’t You Worry,” offers an authentic high-spirited variation to the recurring alternative sound. The bright synths and vintage drum samples are reminiscent of MGMT and Foster The People, with an upbeat relaxed feeling similar to Capital Cities or Grouplove. “Don’t You Worry” will be released on August 30th with an accompanied debut music video.
Des is a veteran songwriter who has earned early excitement with new radio-worthy songs broken free of the current alt format. His debut EP Eighty-Six is filled with devastatingly memorable hooks that are a must-listen for any alternative music fan.
You’re going on a first date with our readers – how do you introduce yourself?
Hey thanks for taking the time to get to know me. My name is Mike Desmond aka Des, I’m 27, and I’m an electro-indie artist from Long Island, New York. I started playing guitar and singing in bands throughout high school. My old band, Gabriel The Marine, was together for 6 years and we had the pleasure to tour with some big artists like Taking Back Sunday, Jack’s Mannequin, and Glassjaw before we disbanded in 2014.
This new Des project is my first crack at a solo career. I just released my first 4 songs on an EP titled ‘Eighty Six’ and I’m really excited to get this show on the road!
For those unfamiliar, how would you describe your sound? What song should someone listen to first?
I would describe my music as a mix of rock guitars and electro synths with some cool production layered in there. I’ve been heavily influenced by rock and folk from another era but I find myself relating to the current electro indie sound much more. I like to think that I’m helping bring a piece of the past into the current alternative sound.
I’d say the first song you should listen to would be “Someone.” It just describes a state of mind when I was transitioning from being in a band to going solo. It was also one the first songs I put together in developing this new sound. I was working on this track with my buddy Matt Chiarella and the lyrics just came out. It’s one of those magic moments where a song is basically written in ten minutes. Just glad I captured that moment.
How long was Eighty-Six a work in progress?
At least a couple years. It’s hard to be specific because when I started writing I didn’t have the intention of putting out an EP. I’m just always writing music, even when my previous group disbanded. I didn’t even have a new band until we started recording the EP. It took me several months of finding the right songs and making sure the production sat in the right place. It was definitely a different experience for me because this is my first solo project; I’m finally the one in the driver seat. I’m fortunate for all the support from friends and collaborators who helped steer the project in this direction. This was both terrifying and exciting. I feel like I’m finally on the right path.
What was it like working with Chad Copelin? What were some things you learned from him?
He’s a production wizard. He works super fast and is easy to collaborate with. My goal as a singer and songwriter is to make everything I play and sing conversational. Chad has a great understanding of songwriting and production which makes this type of dialog possible. The best thing I learned from him was this style of production where he fills up space with different synth layers and effects to make one grand sound. You can hear it on Eighty-Six.
What’s on your agenda for the rest of 2017?
I’ve been working on getting the live show together for some upcoming dates in New York. Right now we have our EP release show on October 17th at Bowery Electric, with support from King Neptune and Mayve. Plus we’re working on a few more dates around the northeast before 2018. It’s a surprising amount of work to design the show and write some new jams to include with my band. I think it’s important to be true to the recorded music while still giving a little something extra for the live show.