The solo career of Secret Weapons band member Daniel Rocco has gained steam in recent months, after his music partner, Gerard Lange, was diagnosed with Lyme disease last year.
The South Side High School graduates rose to fame after releasing a single, “Something New,” in 2015, which quickly climbed to No. 4 on Spotify’s Global Viral Chart. Epic Records signed Secret Weapons to a deal, and the two were selected as nationally syndicated radio host Elvis Duran’s Artist of the Month, performing the song on NBC’s Today show about a month later.
The two began touring, and opened for bands like Fall Out Boy, Weezer and Panic! at the Disco. Secret Weapons most recently released their debut album, “As the Setting Sun Comes Crashing Down On Me,” last August, but the pop band recently went on hiatus after Lange learned he had Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness that can bring flu-like symptoms and joint pain.
Rocco, who now goes by Des Rocs on stage and in the recording studio, in February released his debut single “HVY MTL DRMR,” which has nearly 50,000 plays on Spotify. His newest single, “Used to the Darkness,” was released on May 11, and recently reached No. 1 on Spotify’s New Noise playlist.
“It’s about the way that we adjust to some of the worst imaginable situations in the world, and how unimaginable misery can become a baseline,” Rocco said of the single. “It’s about how we get through those situations and the quiet thoughts you have along the way when you’re all alone.”
Rocco, who described his music as a modern byproduct of old-time Rock n’ Roll, like Elvis and the Talking Heads, has a new extended play, or EP, coming out later this year. He has already performed solo at a venue called Elsewhere, in Brooklyn, and will return there to headline on June 18.
Rocco said he feels he is gaining popularity “slowly, but steadily.” Although only two songs were released so far, he assured “a lot more is coming” and promised a new EP at the end of this year as well as a “big tour.”
Both Lange and Rocco grew up in the village and met in math class at South Side High School. They both played in bands for much of their lives, performing shows at former Rockville Centre nightclub Backstreet Blues, now the Vibe Lounge. They officially formed Secret Weapons after years of writing music while handling full-time jobs. Though the group had recorded a lot of organic elements, much of the band’s unique and rhythmic sound was mastered on their laptops.
“It’s a much lonelier experience for sure,” Rocco said about working without Lange. Nonetheless, he expressed excitement about the future. “…I’ve had this vision in my head for a very long time, and I’m excited to finally bring it to life.”
After getting better, Lange said he expects to put out new music in some capacity, either with Rocco or on his own. Lange compared himself to Shania Twain, the best-selling female country-music artist, who also disappeared from the spotlight for a few years due to Lyme disease, and then returned.
“Everything is cool,” Lange said of Rocco’s solo work. “I don’t want to pull him away from his solo thing.”