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Meet Anthony Polcino aka Antoine Diligent in Los Feliz Village

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anthony Polcino, aka Antoine Diligent.

Anthony, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’ve been a musician in Los Angeles for more than fifteen years and during that time, I’ve toured the United States and the UK repeatedly in venues varying in capacity sizes from fifty to five thousand, been a hired gun, a friend who plays for free, a stand-in, a stand-by, a songwriter, an engineer, a dive bar DJ, on late night tv shows, in magazines, signed, and dropped. I’ve released a mélange of music in an array of projects as a co-founder, a band leader, a background nobody and a solo artist (also a busboy, food runner, room service attendee, dental office assistant, clothing retail sales associate, medicinal cannabis delivery driver, and currently, a designer for a fine fragrance brand, Thin Wild Mercury, created and run by myself and my fiancé).

Antoine Diligent is my solo project. I’m a New Jersey native, South Jersey that is… Atlantic City to be exact. Anyone from there knows it’s a thing to distinguish that detail! I moved to Los Angeles in 2005. In 2010 after several years of touring, television appearances, and a spot in Rolling Stone as the lead guitarist with my first band, Low vs Diamond (Epic Records), I began a run of mellow releases, an album and two EPs or so, as a solo artist under the name Soft Pipes. The following year I co-founded/fronted a fun, dance/punk/world inspired band called Beat Club with my friend Jeff Kite (The Voidz). It was during my time there in, around 2015 that I conceptualized the sort of alter ego that I would eventually assume as Antoine Diligent. My debut LP, Futurisms, soundtracks a place that might look like the spacey, dystopian Los Angeles portrayed in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.

In the interim between albums, I co-founded WORLDS, a similarly psychedelic dream pop duo with my friend Erica Driscoll, whom I met in 2016 filling in on guitar duties for her band Blondfire. My second album, La Forma, is just about finished and should be released this summer.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has and it hasn’t. It has in the sense that I feel very lucky that I’ve been able to do things like tour and see a lot of the world in the traditional way we think about that kind of thing, especially nowadays. I’ve got some notable achievements and memories under my belt… Being on tv, in magazines, some big venues with other bands, some my own. That’s the stuff non-musicians usually like hearing about that kind of validates how they perceive me, and I suppose I know deep down I am fortunate that it’s part of my story.

It hasn’t in the sense that it hasn’t always been easy to stay the course. Nothing has ever really tied me to remaining an artist and musician other than the basic will to continue following what I’m interested in. It gets trickier to keep yourself motivated and finish things as the years go on when seemingly no one is really asking you for what you’re working on – you’re just doing it because you feel the need to see it through. I’ve never really fully supported myself financially with only music so it definitely hasn’t been that…

I’d say the most apparent struggle is coming to terms with the fact that if you can accept everything – good & bad, exciting & not-so-exciting – and at the same time expect nothing from it, you get to where you want to go with it. If you have to think about “why” you’re doing it often, it’s probably not for you. And that goes for anything really, not just being an artist or whatever you want to call it these days.

Please tell us about your work.
I specialize in making conceptual, slightly heady, introspective, psychedelicly-stylized rock music. I’m sometimes recognized for my colorful mood board of surrealistic artwork and musings that I share on Instagram that sort of serve as the visual interpretation of both my music and how I’m perceiving things at any given time. A lot of it is other artist’s work, from older decades, from now, and some of it is mine. It’s a sort of ongoing project in “inspiration excavation.“

If I’m most proud of anything, It’s simply staying the course and continuing to finish and release music, specifically albums. It’s a different kind of challenge to keep an album captivating and coherent, and not just throwing a bunch of songs together and calling it an “LP” or a “playlist”. Also, when it ages well. That’s a big deal for me. For instance, when I listen to “Futurisms” now, it’s not exactly how I’d approach it at this moment, but it rings true as exactly how I wanted it then, when I made it. So really that’s a very elusive kind of victory for any artist.

If I had to take a guess at what sets me apart, it would be that I’m mostly a one stop shop. I write, record, perform, produce, engineer, edit, mix, master and release my records, as well as do the accompanying visuals and artwork which are a big part of it. I dabble in graphic design so a lot of the imagery that goes with it is from me. And just for the record – I promise I’m not (entirely) an insane control freak… some of the reason for this is simply out of necessity… I might not have the budget to pay for who I really want to mix the music, or do the artwork, or there might be timing conflicts etc, as in they can only do it for me in two months and I’m kind of ready to be done using the momentum I have, so I just finish things myself.  I prefer to keep going, slow and steady, using any perceived boundaries and obstacles to my advantage. Sometimes they are the very reason why projects end up having the qualities they have once they’re finished.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
One that sticks out is summertime, late 80’s/early 1990’s. I was about eight or nine years old. Just a very simple feeling of playing outside, swimming, my skin being kissed and warmed by the sun, catching a treat from the ice cream truck, barefoot in the street and then dozing off in a quiet, dark, cool room in the afternoon. While I was too young to be fully cognizant of it, that is a serious sense of fulfillment and security. A true sense of just being. I feel like I’m after that feeling all the time now and it’s not nearly as easy to find. Sometimes I question whether it even exists…

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Image Credit:
Casey Curry, Wiljoù

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