Luigi La Rocca on His New Project, Denudes, and Parting Ways with the Plastic Pinks

Part family, part group of friends, part business venture, a band can be a sticky relationship. And like any relationship, it's not easy for a musician to leave a band, especially one heading straight toward success. Vocalist and guitarist Luigi La Rocca experienced this firsthand when he recently parted ways with Miami garage rockers Plastic Pinks to focus on his passion project, Dénudés, with his partner in music and life, Krystal Andreu, who plays bass. The group also includes lead guitarist Eddie Moreno and drummer Anthony Genovese.

"I just felt that now is the time for me to approach my own music."

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The Pinks have played just about every venue in Miami, as well as III Points, and have toured the country over the past couple of years. But La Rocca isn't looking back. Instead, he's excited for a new future and a fresh creative path. Dénudés hopes to release a vinyl EP in January 2017 and are slated to play III Points this year.

La Rocca and Andreu sat down with New Times to talk about his decision, how they're starting from scratch, and what Dénudés is all about.

New Times: Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Why did you leave Plastic Pinks?

Luigi La Rocca: I always felt that I couldn't fully invest myself in that band because it was a formula they created. We just had differences, and I felt that I was changing at a speed that maybe was different from them. I wanted to go a different way. I want to be free to write my own music and not have to fit any mold. I think what they're doing is great for what they do. They know how to target their audience and know how to do their thing. But I'm going after something that I don't even know what it is.

How do you feel now that you're moving away from that experience?

La Rocca: I took what I could, and the experience was awesome. I love them. I just felt that now is the time for me to approach my own music, even if that means throwing away all those opportunities, all that hard work that we've done to work with all these other people and establish ourselves. All those relationships — I will no longer have those things. I have to start all over. But if it's at the price of me finally getting to speak my own mind musically, then I'll take it any time of the day and start over.

Dénudés is only a year old, so it must have originated while you were still in the Plastic Pinks. How did everything start?

La Rocca: The origins of the band started when I first met [Krystal]. I had known her for a few months. We weren't dating — we were just friends. She told me she was planning on going to Las Vegas and she wanted me to go with her. I had just bought a car, so I had no money to fly, so I suggested driving to Las Vegas. So we had nine days to go and come back... We visited 17 cities, and we really got to know each other. She brought a bunch of music and I did too, and we just played everything. We literally sat down and listened to everything together. We shared all of this music, and it really impacted me a lot, all the music she shared with me and how she viewed it. We took our different perspectives on music, combined it, and created a band.

Krystal Andreu: I grew up around music my entire life, so we thought about coming together to play music. At this point, we were not a band at all. I remember I picked up the bass, and the first thing I learned was black metal. The lady downstairs used to call the cops on us. From there, I suggested, "Why don't we play something uppity instead of something so dark? Maybe the lady downstairs might like it." He asked, "What can we play?" I was like, "I don't know. Sing about unicorns, popcorn, and ice cream." And that's where "Ice Kreme" came from. That was our first song.

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Junette Reyes is a Miami native multimedia journalist with previous writing credits at FIU Student Media, South Florida Music Obsessed, and WLRN. She generally prefers chilling with cats over humans and avoids direct sunlight to maintain her ghastly appearance.