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Darren Ockert - New CD
Short Story Long (Poptastik Records), the second full-length studio album from British born synth-pop artist Darren Ockert won award nominations even before it's official release. This Modern Life (1984), took home the award for Best Electronic Song in the 2012 RightOutTV Music & Video Awards and Force of Gravity was a finalist in the 2012 UK Songwriting Contest.
Tell us about the CD cover and what inspired the images?

I really wanted to work with LA photographer Curran Clark again for my album cover. She is such a creative person who isn’t scared to take risks and try weird and crazy ideas. Our concept was to take some very ‘British” elements and set them out of place, like a fish out of water. Curran found some bizarre locations along the Salton Sea in California before I flew out to Los Angeles. We took a tour bus, her crew, a ton of props and suits out to the desert for a three-day shoot and had a blast. If you ever get a chance to read the history of the Salton Sea it’s really interesting how this once luxury get-away for the rich and famous of LA has become a bunch of derelict ghost towns. The salinity of the sea became so high that the fish and wildlife just died. On the album cover photo what looks like sand is thousands of crushed fish bones – so you really are seeing “fish out of water” on the cover. It was pretty stinky and gross, and we nearly got caught in quicksand a couple of times but I think we captured some really unique images. One of the nights we parked the tour bus at the Fountain Of Youth spa in the desert. Now that was an experience. There was a fountain but not so much youth.

Give us the most interesting back-story or inspiration for writing, from this CD?

Well this record has nearly driven me insane at times. At one point I thought I wanted to move 
away from the synth-pop sound and try an acoustic album while I was still living in NYC and
 actually had the majority of it recorded with the group of live musicians I worked with for my live
 show. Something just didn’t feel right about it – like I wasn’t really being true to the type of music
 that really excited me. After much deliberation I shelved the record and went back to writing 
pop-songs. One song from that project actually made it through to “Short Story Long” and that
 was “Crumbs.” It doesn’t sound anything like what it originally did but ended up being one of my
 favorites on the new record.

How much control do you like to have over the production of your music?

I have complete control. “Short Story Long” was the first album I’ve actually worked from 
beginning to end on all aspects of the album from song-writing through to mastering the album 
and album cover design – all in my studio in Miami. I produced every song on this record but I 
work with my co-producer Daniel Valencia who is a very talented musician in his own right. Basically I will get a song to an almost complete stage and then bring in Daniel as a fresh set of ears. He’ll make suggests on what he thinks I could improve and we’ll work together from that point on until I feel the track is ready. We have a really amazing working relationship where neither of us is afraid to try out new ideas even if they ultimately don’t work for the song. We have a fun time in the studio and I trust his opinions.

Are you in a relationship? Would you like to talk about with whom? How long for? Do you live together? Married?

Slow down now… so many questions. Sounds like you want to get a little personal here. <smile> Yes, I am in a relationship and I am married. This is first time I’m talking about this in public, as I like to keep my private life… well... private. The US Supreme Court’s decision to strike down DOMA in June this year was so monumental that I feel it is something I need to talk about. We had always said when marriage for same-sex couples was accepted on a federal level we would get married, so we eloped to New York City on July 8th and got married. We only told our parents and in fact quite a few of our friends probably still don’t know… well I guess they do now! We’ve been together 9 years. He is one of the most kind, wise and generous people I have ever met. We are always on the same-page about absolutely EVERYTHING. That’s all I can tell you as I also respect his privacy.

Are you much of a cook?

I do cook a lot mainly because we are both vegan and I enjoy creating really tasty food. I’m not a big fan of tofu so I like to be a little more creative when it comes to cooking vegan. I make an awesome vegan Paella but don’t ask me for the recipe – it’s a secret. If you’re ever in Miami I’ll make it for you.

What do you think is the biggest challenge for you as an Independent artist and as an openly Out LGBT artist… or does it make any difference?

One of the biggest challenges as an independent artist is finding your audience. There are 6 billion people on the Earth and it seems that 5.9 million of them are uploading their GarageBand hit to YouTube. The Internet has become a double-edged sword when it comes to reaching fans. It allows me to connect with fans all around the world instantly, but there is a lot of ‘noise’ on the web and trying to break through that noise and reach new fans can be challenging. Once you do get through the noise, the rewards of being able to communicate directly with your fans are awesome. Being an openly Out LGBT artist is whole different ball game. Some of my most devoted fans are from the LGBT community and I have a lot to thank them for. What I find concerning though is the small amount of coverage Out LGBT artists get even in the gay media. This year’s RightOutTV Awards proved there are some incredibly talented LGBT artists making music but they don’t seem to be getting the coverage they deserve. I don’t know whether this is because the artists just aren’t marketing themselves or whether it’s because the covers of most gay publications only seem to feature artists who are willing to pose in their undies. I have seen Out LGBT artists that have gone this route but it seems to become less and less about the music at that point.

What is your favourite thing to do on a day off?

I love living in the tropics so for me my favourite thing to do on my day off would be to hang out with friends by the pool or on the beach, or work in our yard planting anything tropical, which I find extremely relaxing. I’m slowly turning the yard into a mini palm forest.
What is something we may not know about you?
Well I try to stay as healthy as I can. I exercise 5-6 times a week and do a program called Crossfit Unloaded. I’m a bit of a work-a-holic when it comes to music and my career and should probably take more time off. I’ve run three marathons and raised tens of thousands of dollars for charity while doing this. I got a stress fracture on my hip while running the New York City marathon but didn’t realise it until I finished and was on crutches for three months. I’m fascinated by hurricanes and a bit obsessed with planting palm trees in our garden in Miami.

What are your long-term hopes and visions for your career?

My ultimate goal would be to win a GRAMMY or a BRIT award. I’m also determined to eventually win the RightOutTV “Song Of The Year” award. I also want to write and produce for other artists and would love to do some collaboration songs with other independent artists I admire.

Finish this sentence: If I could go back and say one thing to my teenage self, it would be…

..just believe in yourself and if you don’t, fake it until you become it. (There is a brilliant TED Talk about this by Amy Cuddy that I suggest everyone should watch: http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.html

2013 RightOutTV triple Award Nominee:
Darren's Ockerts'
You Don't Know Me 
Official Music Video
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RightOutTV interview with Darren Ockert