Blending disco, euro-pop, and new wave stylings, out artist Derek Bishop just released his sophomore album Bicycling In Quicksand. The ten-song album features Derek’s trademark energy, showcasing bona fide grooves that harken back to the days when the music was funky and the beats were undeniable. Bishop’s gift for connecting to audiences through personal stories, splashed with a rainbow of contagious melodies and danceable beats, helps him to transcend the typical singer/songwriter tradition as he expands the emotional range of synth-based music.
And, Derek’s new video for “Baggage” from the album is below. It’s a great introduction to his style and talent.
Derek and I have been trading messages about his new work and I had the pleasure of interviewing him this week:
DanNation: You describe yourself as a singer, songwriter and keyboardist – and also as the stylist, art director, and photographer. How did you gain so many talents?
Derek Bishop: Ha! It’s because I’m old! No, seriously… I’ve had a two decade career as an art director and designer. I’ve been playing music ever since I was seven. So it was just through experience and the passage of time that I was able to hone the skills I have. I also know that I can still be better at all of it, so I just want to keep trying and making good work. Truthfully, it was also a financial decision as well: I fully intended to hire a great photographer to shoot the photos for me, but the recording just ended up costing so much money that I thought I would save some funds by shooting it myself. They are all self-portraits, and if you look closely you can play “Where’s Waldo” trying to spot the remote control in my hand — including on the album cover.
DanNation: How do these roles converge to produce your new album, which has been described as a mashup of late 1970s disco and 1980s euro-pop?
Derek Bishop: I wanted the album to sound like my favorite songs growing up. Of course a lot of that entailed getting actual instruments that were played in the 70s and 80s — and that was HOOT! While am a fan of synthesizers, I’m not too keen on music that sounds like it’s been 100% created on a computer. I wanted the sounds to be real, organic, and especially, I wanted them to be played by a human. I think you can definitely feel the soul and the humanity in music when you hear a real person play versus a laptop.
In terms of the art direction photography, I was definitely inspired by early 80s rock stars. I wanted to style myself along the lines of Adam Ant, Duran Duran, even a little Freddy Mercury. All that leather certainly goes a long way in helping that happen. There’s this super cheesy dream sequence in Grease 2 where Maxwell Caulfield is in a heavenly cloud of smoke sitting atop a motorcycle all geared up. I wanted to re-create something along those lines for the album cover — but I needed it to work with the music, thematically. It does!
DanNation: We both are 40+ – that many gays consider geriatric in our world. With all the young and crazy-popular young male singers out there, have you found that your age has been an issue with fans?
Derek Bishop: I just had my album release party this week, and played to a full house of people of all ages. I don’t think anybody really cares about your age as long as you give it your all. I am not 24 nor my crazy-popular, but I will bounce around on stage and perform the living daylights out of my songs with the same energy and gusto as someone half my age. And, I find there’s a lot more substance usually with an older act. The music carries more weight because of the experiences gained through living, loving and loss. I am a lot smarter, a better songwriter, and a better performer now than when I was 24. Vitality and youth are always attractive — but sadly that fades. A well crafted song can be enjoyed for generations.
DanNation: If you could name one song on your album that would convert a listener to a new fan, which song would it be? What’s your favorite song on the album?
Derek Bishop: Most people have told me that they really like “Turn Around.” It’s the most uplifting song on the album, and it perfectly captures a certain Abba-meets-Xanadu quality, which I love. However, my favorite song on the album is “Automatic.” I wrote it for my boyfriend and I think is a perfect blend of the Partridge Family and The Muppet Show.
DanNation: Where can readers purchase the goods? Do you have any tours coming up?
Derek Bishop: Yes indeed! I’m very excited to announce that I have at East Coast tour all during May.
I hope to get over and play California later in the summer. In the meantime you can pick up my album, remixes, shirts and all sorts of good stuff over at my website www.derekbishop.net as well as itunes and Amazon.
And you can conveniently follow Derek at all the usual social media channels: