Oct 25

An Interview With Derek Close… Round Two

Just over a year ago, RockCriesOut’s Randall Latham got the opportunity to interview Derek Close. At time Derek was pushing his holiday album In the Christmas Groove and had just released his single, “Moo Moo Clank”. Now, Randall wanted to find out what Derek has been up to the past year. Read on to find out what this artist has been up to.


RockCriesOut.com: Hey, Derek! It’s been a little over a year since we last talked to you and you have had a lot of stuff happen over that time, such as a move, work on a new album and an event to promote your Christmas album. Want to tell readers what has been going on over the past year?

Derek Close:  Has it really been that long? Wow!  Well, the biggest thing to happen this last year is that God totally opened the door for my wife and I to purchase our first house together.  We’ve been married for 13 years so to say we’re excited about having our own place is an understatement.  I’ve also been working on music for my next album:  Writing, recording, re-recording.  Along with that, the Holidays are quickly coming upon us so I’ve been getting a jump on promoting my instrumental CD, In the Christmas Groove.  So I’d say it’s been a pretty active year.

RCO: Congratulations on the house purchase! Always an exciting time in a person’s life. So, what can we expect from your new album? Judging from some comments on your Facebook page it appears to have some vocals, which is different than what some of your fans might be used to.

DC:  You can expect good, upbeat Rock & Roll.  Where In the Christmas Groove is purely instrumental the new album, The Beta Sessions is a mix of instrumentals and songs with lyrics.  We’ll see how it’s received.

RCO: What has been your inspiration behind the album?

DC:  Quite literally it’s been “Let’s get this stuff recorded already!”  The Beta Sessions is compiled of, at least for me, old and new material.  A couple of songs like El Gato and Daddy were on the One Step from the Basement EP when I was in Judah.  While others like 9-1-1, Violence Domesticated and Dreaming in Color are from the same Judah era but were never recorded.  The rest are songs that weren’t finished but now are complete.  The Pavilion, Out of Reach and Opposite Extremes were written quite a while ago but are just now seeing the light of day.

RCO: When did you begin work on the The Beta Sessions and when can we expect it to be released?

DC:  I quite literally started work on The Beta Sessions around 2001.  I had an idea of a few songs to put on it, I had the album title, but the project floundered along for many years due to life being in the way.  After I got inspired to record In the Christmas Groove and actually completed that project then the idea of completing The Beta Sessions became reality.  I have 2 songs left that just need vocals which are going to be recorded the week of Thanksgiving.  After mixing and the Holidays I’m hoping for an early January ’14 release.

RCO: Speaking of albums, In the Christmas Groove has also been on your radar again as you’ve been promoting it in your “One In A Million” event on Facebook. What was your inspiration behind this event?

DC:  As you are probably well aware, marketing is NOT an easy road.  Especially if you are starting from the ground up.  My biggest frustration with doing music has been trying to get it out there for people to hear.  If nobody can listen, then what’s the point, right? In the Christmas Groove was released in 2011 so this is my third Holiday Season promoting it.  I’ve received some positive feedback and have had a few album and singles sales but for the most part music lovers don’t know it even exists.  So I’ve been a bit frustrated trying to get the word out.  One day it hit me:  “Offer the entire album up for $1, make a YouTube video about it, get everyone I know to share it and see if you can get 1,000,000 people to buy it.”  The big question here is this:  Is this my idea, or is it God’s?  I like to think it’s God’s because it is so out there that I don’t think I would have come to this conclusion by myself.  The “One in A Million” title came later.  So I’m offering my entire album In the Christmas Groove to be downloaded for $1.  My goal is to get 1,000,000 people to participate.  If that goal is reached then those who do participate can say they are One in a Million.  Silly, huh?  Plus then I could say I sold 1 million copies.  It’s really not about sales but about getting the music out there and heard.

RCO: If readers haven’t picked up In the Christmas Groove now is an excellent time to take advantage of your offer and snag this album. I would highly recommend it.

DC:  Thank you.  It’s up at Bandcamp for just $1: https://derekclose.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-christmas-groove

RCO: Last time we talked about some of the other Indie artists you enjoy listening to. Have you come across any artists since then you’d like to share? I hear your son is also doing music now.

DC:  I really haven’t taken the time recently to get out there and find some new stuff.  Let me think…  I had to go check my SoundCloud.  I came across an artist by the name of Jimmy K. Alexander.  His instrumental “Cycle The Hum” is really good.  Nice groove to it.  Marvin Valentin is pretty good too.  I crossed paths with both of these guys on SoundCloud.  Ah, my son, my son.  Draylen Andrew.  He’s in his Junior Year at the University of Montana getting his Music Education degree.  Over this past summer he held a Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds for the gear and tools he’d need to record his first album.  He reached his goal and is working on his music in between his studies.  He also is lending his voice on 3 songs for The Beta Sessions which is why we’re unable to get the final vocals recorded until Thanksgiving Break.  I’m really excited to see what he puts out.  He’s a very talented young man.

RCO: As someone who has been playing music for about twenty-five years now, what one piece of advice would you give to new and upcoming artists on the Indie scene?

DC: Boy, that’s a tough one. One piece of advice?  Become a master of your craft.  If you master your craft, then you can earn a living doing it whether it’s performing, teaching, songwriting, recording, mixing, mastering and/or producing.  Become a master.

RCO: I think that’s excellent advice, Derek, especially for those that are on the Indie scene. If they’ve spent any time at all there, they know that it’s tough to bring in a dollar with just their music alone. Now, I also like to talk to Indie musicians about their gear. Last time you mentioned your Ibanez Ex-Series 4-String Bass as your favorite piece of gear. Have you added anything to the toy box lately?

DC: Yes!  In August ’12 I picked up a 2012 Gibson Les Paul Studio.  Sweet guitar!  Certainly the best electric I’ve ever owned.  Feels good in the hands and has a great tone!  I also got a good deal on a Line 6 Pod XT Live which I picked up a couple of months ago.  I love it!  I’m finally able to get guitar tones I’m really happy with.  I can program it with my computer so it takes the pain out of tweaking the sounds.  It’s one of my better investments.

RCO: Well, thank you, Derek, for sitting down and answering a few questions for us.  Before we go, though: what superhero power would you have if you were a superhero?

DC: You’re welcome!  Thank you for the opportunity.  Invisibility would be cool for those times you just want to disappear.  It would also make being a spy a cinch.  But then you run into the chance of being hit by a truck or something if you’re not paying attention.  I’d probably go with flying as you can’t beat the gas mileage.  Now if I could be any one superhero I would choose Jack Jack Parr (aka Baby Incredible).  That kid can do everything!


We’d like to send out a big “THANK YOU” to Derek for taking the time to answer these questions. As always, you can find Derek on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DCzMusic and on Twitter (@Derek_Close).  Also, don’t forget to pick up his Christmas album, In the Christmas Groove, for only $1.00 from BandCamp (https://derekclose.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-christmas-groove)