An album is only as good as its music, of course, but its visual presentation can also put listeners in the right (or wrong) mood before they’ve pressed play.
If anyone knows this, it’s Derek Bishop. Today he’s a solo recording artist (music and dates at derekbishop.net; upcoming shows include NYC on Aug. 7; Martinsville, VA on Aug. 18; and Wilmington, NC on Aug. 20), but he previously worked as an art director for music albums, specializing in Broadway cast recordings. We asked him to open his portfolio and explain how he set the tone for some favorite shows — plus his own very theatrical dance music album.
As told to Matt Gurry
BICYCLING IN QUICKSAND
“For my latest solo album, Bicycling in Quicksand, I took everything I learned from 10 years of designing cast albums and worked it into the art. I had this concept of me drowning in quicksand atop my bicycle, with only an umbrella (and hope) to save me. I wanted the quicksand to be audio tape — showing how we’re often trapped in our past through music. I love the idea of how you think you’ve moved on; then you hear a song, and you’re instantly transported back to that time and place. … So, I set up, staged and art directed the entire photo shoot using a remote control and a full-length mirror. It took 2,000 selfies, but as soon as I saw the cover, I knew I had nailed it.”
View Derek’s gallery of Broadway cast albums — including Fun Home, Xanadu and On the Twentieth Century »
Last modified: July 10, 2019