Derrick Sanderlin is a prevailing voice, and an acoustic guitar. We met up to talk about his music in a small park in my city. He had with him his songwriting journal, and also a book that he is reading at the moment called "The Idiot". I asked him what this story was about and he told me it was about a Russian prince who does not know he is a prince. Of course there is more to it but on certain levels Derrick said he felt he could relate to this character. However, Derrick Sanderlin is far from the title of this story! Though when I think about it, the brief explanation of a story to me is somewhat like a song, and I can't help but relate that to Derrick's songwriting. If you really take the time to listen to his songs they seam like tales of their own that build into something powerful. Powerful are the words, and powerful is his voice, reaching notes that will shake the ground. When he first began writing songs he stayed confined in his room writing away and delving into his music. I am delighted to share with you some questions and insight into Derrick Sanderlin's song writing and his song Drapes featured as well.
Where did you grow up? Do you like where you grew up?
I grew up in a little town by the name of Phelan, California. It's a Mormon town about half an hour away from the High Desert (Victorville, Hesperia, Apple Valley), if you know where that is. Do I like it? Well, I suppose so. I like to go back some times and sit out on my two acre back yard and watch the sun rise and fall and paint the clouds in fiery pink plumes. I like being able to see the mountains up close, and I love to ride horses. So I guess I like it. The only thing is, if you stay for too long, you get sucked in. And a lot of the topics and ideologies that preoccupy the minds of the people out there are...in my opinion...not very lively. I'm treading lightly here, because I still have respect for the place. I did grow up there. It just wasn't a place that I could really fit into anymore. That's why I'm in Riverside now.
Are you working on an album?
I am indeed working on a new album. Technically it's all written, I just have to get it recorded. The name will be "An Inconvenient Hope". It's long overdue, now.
How are you recording the album?
I'm going to record a live performance of the album. I plan to have that finished by the end of the summer. It should be a lot of fun.
Does the album have a general theme or meaning behind each song?
Well, yes. haha
Just as a buffer, I wish that this album had lots of ties to the Guggenheim film about Global Warming, but unfortunately is has nothing to do with the documentary film, "An Inconvenient Truth". I picked the name "An Inconvenient Hope" because the theme that sticks out to me the most when I listen to these songs is the idea of hope being present when it's least wanted. I've been placing hope in these scandalous places( and not even on purpose), where it feels very invasive to the complacent-in-darkness side of myself. For some reason, in this album, it seems as though hope, and for me ultimately that is God and/or Christ, is the place where I lose my innocence..which I understand is very strange thing which has the potential of being super trite. But I think even in my everyday life, at least at the time, God was invading my space, and though it was very uncomfortable, I felt drawn in. Seduced, even. Alright, things are getting weird, so in short, yes. I think the album as a whole for me screams, hope/God/what have you, is found even in those places one never expects hope/God/what have you to be in. So I hope(haha, see?) that whoever listens can choose for themselves whether or not that hope is really inconvenient. Did I mention that it's about hope? Hope hope hope.
Where do you gather inspiration when writing your songs?What is the normal process?
For a while, I would gather inspiration from strange pieces of imagery or phrases that struck me as something that was open to more interpretation. Then, I would write a riff or pull one from my long line of melodies I have no words for, and things would be reconfigured into a song that makes sense, at least to me. Lately, I've been challenging myself to try and take on different styles. So I started trying to "get into character" as it were, and take on stories of other people, either people I made up or just elaborated on stories that already exist, like characters in paintings or significant people from significant points in history, et cetera. I will resonate with that character and just start thinking about what story they want to tell. It's been great using this method, because it has led to a lot of different avenues for playing and writing. I'm having fun experimenting with texturing and timings and jazz chords and different more candid uses of the English Language. It is a blast. I feel refreshed. And that's always a good thing, keeps us writers/musicians going.
What is the meaning behind your song "Drapes"?
Hmmm Drapes is about feeling like you're the only one trying to hold things together, and feeling like the work behind all of that holding is pointless. On a personal level, which is not the meaning that everyone will most likely take, I was starting to lose my faith a little when my parents went through a pretty rough divorce about a year after I had been in high school. Unhealthily so, I felt as though it all depended on me, which tore me in all different directions, eventually leaving me emotionally drained and detached from a belief in God for a short time. But at the end of the song, there is a sort of resolve. I learn how to move forward, not in spite of those hard things, but rather in light of them. I learned how to walk alongside my hurts and pains of the past, helping them to heal. And not so everything would be perfect, but so everything was simpler to deal with on a daily basis. For me, that is one of the finest examples of a real redemption. So yeah, that's what the song is about. Honestly, it probably changes for me every time I play it, because I'm so far removed from that event by time and distance and things. But that's where it started!
What are some sites where your music can be heard?
My music can be heard on:
I will have a site soon!
Is there anything you would like to share?
Mmm a big shout out to my friends/fellow musicians, Black Bear and the Cheyenne Autumn Band, Slowest Morning Finch, Sister Wife, my brother Walter Cabal, Jordan Estrada and Dan Coffman, Breezy Marie, Freddie Nunez and the Shark Bernard Orchestra, and uhhh my beautiful girlfriend, Cayla. You guys are the best. I love you all!
When is your next show?
My next show is on April 19th at the BloodOrange Infoshop. This will be a Stay Classy Creative Writing Club event held by RCC students. The show starts at 7! I'll be sharing the stage with a lot of poets and artists I don't know, which will be great. I do know one guy, Jon Atkins(Slowest Morning Finch), he's awesome. It's always fun to be around him, and an honor to play the same shows as much as we do.