Sporting both an old school androgynous look and a very new school approach to making disco dream pop anthems and super cute nightlife events, Dexter Driscoll joins the effort to rebuild the scene post-lockdown.
Thotyssey: Hey there! How is the season treating you so far, Dexter?
Dexter Driscoll: My summer’s been so much fun. I’m so happy to be exhausted, after all the isolation last year.
Right!? How did you get through 2020? Was it all sad and boring and uninspiring, or were there moments of creativity?
A very close family member had Covid, and was on a ventilator at the beginning of everything in April. When he survived, I was so grateful that everything was manageable. I liked the isolation and having a pod of friends. I ended up writing what I think is my best song ever. I liked the isolation, and am glad to be out of it now. The extremes triggered my creativity, I think.
That does makes sense… and that’s wonderful news about your family member!
As far as all your creative and professional pursuits, is it safe to say you’re first and foremost a recording artist?
So, were you always exposed to and interested in music while growing up?
Absolutely. My mom loves disco and pop, so she really formed my taste. She always listened to the radio, and we loved hearing TLC, Britney, Savage Garden. I took my first piano lesson at 6, and asked to play Donna Summer. It all makes sense, lol!
There’s definitely a disco vibe to be heard in your debut album from 2018 The Price of Fantasy, especially in the slapping “Fantasy” track I just got into. And there’s also kind of a spacy mellow dreampop vibe, like in “Rendezvous.”
Thanks! “Fantasy” is the first song I ever wrote. I’m really proud of those, because they’re me proving to myself that I could do it. I think my favorites on the first record are “Alone” and “I Want You.” But I’m really excited for what’s coming next. It’s more focused–very inspired by Depeche Mode. Stay tuned, I’ll be releasing it soon!
Where are you from originally, and how did you find your way to NYC nightlife?
I was born in the Boston area, and grew up in Plymouth. I was desperate to get out and figure out where I belonged, so I worked three jobs and saved to travel for a year at 18. I met some of my best friends in Napoli and they lived in New York, so I applied to schools here. Before then, it was a toss up of New York or LA. When I got here I started going out, and you have to figure out what elements resonate. It took me a few years, but I figure out that for me Rockbar and Nowhere feel like home.
Tell us about your presence in those two bars; I believe you were primarily in the DJ booth at Nowhere and on stage at Rockbar?
Yes! I had a monthly party at Nowhere called “Body Language” where I got to play all the sexy, loungey pop music that I wasn’t hearing out, but wanted to: “Rock the Boat” by Aaliyah and “Slow” by Kylie Minogue, etc.[You could] drink a Manhattan, and [enjoy a] chill vibe. The last one was just before lockdown, so perhaps it will come back!
At Rockbar I did a few variety shows with music, dance, drag, etc. as well as some themed dance parties. Rockbar gave me the space to grow, which has been a privilege.
It’s all come together as my new party called “Venus in Furs,” which is the fourth Friday of every month. This Friday is #FreeBritney themed, for obvious reasons. I have a killer DJ setlist, and will be performing some songs in Britney’s honor at midnight. I’m really excited because Rockbar is donating 10% of the bar to Win NYC, which is a shelter for women and children. Britney’s situation is such a heightened example of misogyny, and I’m glad we’re able to support women in our city.
You actually have a weekly presence at Rockbar now.
I’m hosting karaoke every Wednesday at 9pm, which has been incredibly fun! Come say hi!
We’ll pop in for a number! Lastly: what is a song, new or old, that is potentially giving you Life right this moment?
Thank you, Dexter!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Dexter Driscoll’s upcoming appearances, and follow him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, and check out his website. Stream and download his music from multiple platforms here.