Derek Bishop awakens in a time machine after speed traveling through 100 years of musical influences. The Neo-Luddite from New York City favors vinyl over MP3s, darkrooms over Photoshop, dial phones over mobiles. His CD mirrors the same style, capturing decades of opulent melodies steeped with layers of vintage keyboards to create a cascade of sounds, harkening back to a time when music and design were more of a human art form. Beyond alluding to the past, he?s a fiercely practical modern fella holding minds rapt with his amalgam of ?ber-catchy pop tunes exuding edgy tones and punchy arrangements. It?s these diverging sides that intrigue listeners with his surprisingly fresh sound.
Bishop released his debut full-length album Resistance is Beautiful in July 2011. Producer Jay Braun, notable for his work with Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, collaborated with Bishop on the twelve tracks. Composed and written by Bishop, the album has hints of Fiona Apple, Ben Folds, and Mika. But like his dichotomic personality, he also swirls in sounds from other eras such as Brill Building, Tin Pan Alley, Beach Boys, and even a bit of old-time Broadway.
The extent of his music reaches beyond its toe-tapping, finger-snapping beats. His songs emit both light and darkness, revealing a core of melancholic haunting lyrics within luminous exteriors. Bishop artfully tells his stories with literary panache, creative imagery, and raw honesty. Pulling deep into his personal experiences, one highlight includes Harvey with its saloon-style arrangement and genuine performance. The song speaks to resisting who we are and how that struggle shapes us – in this case, Bishop?s emergence out of the closet. Through relatable and candid songwriting, he reflects on his current musical endeavors in the tune Pass Me By that talks about breaking out of the status quo to refresh and reinvent one?s self.
Bishop delves further, taking chances with his music by altering structure and sound as well as integrating vintage keyboards, circus-like electronics, and a suitcase full of percussion. The track See You Free exemplifies this technique with its time and key shifts. The song features Wurlitzer, percussion, and guitar then shifts to a synthesized-symphonic sound. He reveals, ?In the middle of a good rocking song, I?ll switch gears and tempo, replacing the guitar, bass and drums with sounds of mellotrons, harpsichords, and orchestra percussion. Just when you get a feel for where the song is headed, it reinvents itself all over again. Yet these changes aren?t contrived; just like the roller-coaster of feelings one goes through in the span of a relationship, these surprising changes work within the lyrical and emotional center of the song.?
The album Resistance is Beautiful is available on iTunes, www.derekbishop.net, and Amazon.com. Fans can follow him on multiple social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The You Tube video for his first single The Last Word features the newsboy-capped Bishop in rockin? black leather pants in a nod to his juxtaposed musical style. He plans to perform live throughout the East Coast starting with a CD release show in New York City on August 18th at Pianos in the Lower East Side.
Bishop?s many years living in New York provided superb experience for the release of his CD. As an art director, he has designed dozens of cast-albums for Broadway including Xanadu, Fiddler on the Roof, Nine with Antonio Banderas, La Cage, half a dozen Stephen Sondheim Grammy-nominated CDs, and the soundtrack for the gay-independent-film Were the World Mine. With every CD he designed, the thought of creating his own album mulled in his mind. With a mature sound that only comes with experience, this Renaissance man pursued his passion to take his rightful place in the spotlight as a solo artist. The achievements of singer/songwriter greats such as Butch Walker, Stevie Nicks, and Ben Folds influenced Bishop?s sound and inspired him to work for his goal. This mindset led him to create the multidimensional timelessness of Resistance is Beautiful.
Watch “The Last Word” Music Video
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