“R o c c o w a s b o r n i n 1 9 8 6 . N o w h e m a k e s l o u d m u s i c . T h a t i s a l l.”
Those are the bold words heading Rocco La Bête’s About section on his atmospheric black website. Standing next to the notice, sporting leather, silver and aviator sunglasses, Rocco props himself up on a wall, nonchalant, as all the best rockstars are… and then you notice the tantalising imperative, “Email Rocco.” I’d gone searching for Rocco after I heard the best cover of Tinie Tempah’s ‘Frisky’ I’d ever come across (not that I’d needed to hear any others to know this was the best). A proper rock cover which appears to be completely played by Rocco himself, it “beats the shit out of the original” (- satisfied Youtube viewer Godspork), an infinitely more listenable version for me. Another peruse on Youtube and I found songs of his own creation: ‘Sleeping With the Enemy’ is a Muse-style rocker, just slightly less histrionic. It’s more than fun, a parody of itself and most of modern music. Rocco’s other single at the moment, released in time for Christmas, is ‘Shitty Christmas’, the subject matter of which I think we can all very easily relate to – or at least could last month. Oh, and his rock cover of Willow Smith’s ‘Whip My Hair’… But anyway, back to that website: “Email Rocco,” it had told me, and it was too good an offer to refuse. Hi, Rocco. How are you feeling today? I’m alrate ta. Sick of this weather. Thick fog outside, can’t see arse nor tit. Your new single 'Sleeping With the Enemy' is out now, but what is it about? Yeah, it’s available on iTunes and stuff. It’s pretty self-explanatory what it’s all about I suppose. It’s just, like, when you’ve got this bird, and she’s being a proper knob-head, and you’re not getting on at all, just arguing all the time - but at the end of the day you just do rate good sex. What inspired the song? Me ex-girlfriend, Denise Wilks. What would you say if whoever wrote 'Ding Dong Merrily On High' rose from the grave, listened to 'Shitty Christmas' and was really offended? It says on Wikipedia that the tune was written by a French bloke, so we’d probably get on well as I lived in Paris for a year. We’d probably just talk about French music and shit. Daft Punk, that kind of thing. I don’t think he’d be offended by my interpretation of his track – he’s probably sick of it too. What's the worst thing about Christmas in the La Bête household? Games. I can’t be arsed with fannying about with bloody ‘Cranium’ or what have you. What’s the point? Charades is the worst. Sitting there while your Auntie dicks about in a paper hat, with everyone shouting out nonsensical phrases at her until she eventually sits back down and tells you she was doing ‘Inception’? Waste of time.
Describe Rocco La Bête's music using only words relating to chocolate. Intense, dark and delicious. No added sugar. Contains nuts. You have a really cool rock image. Who are your icons? Ta. I’d say my style’s somewhere between Slash, The Clash and Wishbone Ash. Except not Wishbone Ash. I only said that ‘cause it rhymed. Not that I don’t like Wishbone Ash - ‘Just Testing’ is a great album. Musically, I don’t really have any icons, but my music’s influenced by stuff like Death From Above, Justice, Black Keys, Sleigh Bells… as well as hip-hop, dubstep, nu-metal. That kind of thing.
Rocco La Bête Rocco: photograph by Adam Young.
Where would Rocco La Bête like to be this time next year (musically or otherwise)? This time next year I’ll be in my final year, along with the rest of mankind - if what I hear from the Mayans is correct. So I plan to have a mad one. Hopefully I’ll be a global superstar or what-have-you. I’m not rate arsed to be honest, as long as I’ve got a cock-load of money. What's your opinion on bands that cover pop songs for Youtube with quirky instruments? I’m bored of it TBH. Maybe it’s vaguely entertaining the first time you see it, but then I’m just like “stop fannying about with your ukulele and buy a proper guitar” – do you know what I mean? “…And grow a pair while you’re at it”. That’s why I started doing the YouTube covers I’ve done. There’s hundreds of people who do covers of pop songs on YouTube, but they’re all just a bit wet aren’t they? They’re all like, “Ooh look at me, I’m playing, bloody, Toploader with a toy keyboard and a fucking, egg whisk...” I wanted to do some covers that had balls. And I picked pop songs that had lots of potential to blow people’s heads off. For example, ‘Whip My Hair’ (which I’ve just covered and is now available to download from iTunes) – Willow Smith’s version is a massive tune as it is, it just never really kicks off the way you want it to. I went and made it massiver, and kicked it off. With guitars and shit. There you go, you heard the man. With guitars and shit. Rocco La Bête’s singles are available for download from iTunes. If you want to hear (and indeed watch) more of Rocco’s material, head over to his Youtube channel and enjoy.