I have interviewed Derek Bishop a few times now and I always enjoy checking in with him. I have had the pleasure of seeing him perform live and am very happy to call him a friend. His music has always reminded me of a mixture of Donna Summer mixed with a little Liza Minnelli. He is a true showman so his live performances are always a treat. His new album was done the old fashioned way and I think he may be on to something! I hope you enjoy the interview and encourage you to check out his all of his music- new and old. If you live in the New York area, be sure to check him out live if you can too!
Q: Your sound is such a combination of styles that it is actually quite unique. It’s been described as bubbly, fun, electro, pop, blues, and more. How would YOU describe it?
Derek Bishop: I haven’t really found the perfect description. For me, the goal was to take everything I loved about the music I grew up with and toss it all into a blender and then pour that into some highly-caffeinated, über-catchy beverage and share it with the world. I think it’s fun for someone to listen to the tunes and hear things that are a subtle flashback to the past. Yet the influences are extremely diverse: 70s Disco, The Muppet show, Broadway musicals, the Partridge Family, and of course, the best of 80s synthpop. I want the songs to be a feast for the ears, and I want the listener to walk away really feeling like they just been treated something fun and unique.
Q: With the new album, I know you took it back a bit & used some retro techniques. How was that for you?
DB: That was really thrilling and quite the exercise. We recorded the album LIVE and to tape, which was so old-school. This meant we all had to be on our game musically because each song was done in one take. I used a ton of very vintage keyboards as the base of the album’s sound. I think it gave it a wonderfully fresh sound combining the retro with the added bonus of today’s technology.
Q: We have a few mutual friends in the business and one of them, Brett Gleason, has played with you in the past and at your album release show. In an industry that can be quite competitive, it must be refreshing to be able to work with friends live and on albums and know them for so long. What’s your take on that?
DB: All the people that worked on the album were either old dear friends, or people that I felt an immediate trust with. That’s REALLY important in collaboration. Otherwise, you end up trying micromanage everything and that’s exhausting. True collaboration in my mind is trusting someone to take your songs and bring the best of their talents and skills into the mix. In doing so, they take your music to a whole new place — and that’s extremely rewarding to be a part of!
Q: If you could have lived in any other time, which would you have liked to experience as an artist?
DB: Between the music, all the great instruments and the fashions, I would have been in my perfect element in the 70s. Loving that era is probably why I continually try to recreate it with my music. I find it such a creative time and so musically diverse too. That was before technology really took over. Back then you still needed talent and skill, nowadays, you can get by with just a laptop and some photoshop.
Q: I like to ask this to everyone lately, What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?
DB: The one thing I can’t live without is a piano! (or some sort of keyboard.) Playing and rehearing is the best de-stressor I’ve ever found. I’m in my own little heaving when I’m at the piano. The thing I’d like to do away with is texts. I really despise text messages. I do not enjoy all those bings, and chimes letting you know you are continually tethered to everyone. There’s a sense of “answer me now” that comes along with text messaging – and I’m not a fan of that. I’d rather talk to you on the phone – or even better: in person!
Q: What’s up next for Derek Bishop?
DB: I’ve got several shows throughout the summer. I’ll be playing in DC, July 18th at Tree House Lounge; NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall, Friday, August 7th at 8pm; my first ever “hometown” show, August 18th at the Rives Theatre in Martinsville, VA; and then in Wilmington, NC at the Calico Room on Aug 20th. Along with those shows, I also have a brand new music video coming out for “Shutting Down” in a couple weeks.
Q: Where can we go to find you online and get your music?
DB: It’s everywhere! Amazon, itunes, Google… Here are some shortcuts:
or at my website: http://derekbishop.net/store.html
Q: Do you have a favorite song on this album and a favorite to perform live from all of your work?
DB: My favorite song on the album is called “AUTOMATIC.” It’s the song that really captures the sonic wackiness, the fun we had making the album, as well as the serious & sweet message. That song has it all. Plus, we mushed up so much of the 70s and 80s into that song. It really reflects some lovely vintage sounds. When we are playing the songs live, I really do enjoy “BAGGAGE” – as it just gets everyone up and dancing. Plus, it’s fun (and technically difficult) to play well, so I love that challenge!
Q: What would you say to other artists who are out there struggling to juggle their craft and doing what they have to do to sustain themselves? How do you balance and juggle? Any helpful tips or advice.
DB: Stay focused and don’t give up. If you believe in your talent, then just keep making product — and do what you do best. Practice and get better. Work on your skill sets and do your best to network with everyone. It can take a long time and it’s easy to loose your drive — but don’t stop the determination. If it’s something you really want to do, give up your leisure time, work those daytime jobs to help supplement the income, and become your best cheerleader. You have to believe in yourself…and get used to not sleeping much!
Be sure to follow Derek EVERYWHERE to keep up with all he is doing: