Derek Piotr is busier than ever with a string of new projects in the works. His new album, Grunt (meaning ‘earth’ or ‘ground’ in Polish), will be released later this year. The name ‘Grunt’ also suggests a mean, animalistic sound. Perhaps a response to his 2017 ‘pop’ record on Bit-Phalanx. Indeed, anyone trying to predict what the album might sound like could look at the recordings of his most recent noise tour. Expect an album of growls, snarls and barks in what looks to be his nastiest album yet.
But before the release of Grunt, Piotr is also set to release a series of remixes on Richard Chartier’s LINE imprint. Here, extracts from Piotr’s sprawling career get reworked by the likes of France Jobin and AGF. Piotr has also been busy launching his own podcast, B E A U T Y, featuring interviews with Safety Scissors, Maja Ratkje, C. Spencer Yeh and many more. You can find all previous episodes of the show here. To celebrate these new projects, we caught up with Piotr to discuss the shows that have shaped his sound.
I had approached issue in early 2016 to play a show in their space. I had seen several concerts put on by them in their main boerum space, most notably a performance of Morton Feldman’s “For Philip Guston” and I was so envious of the performers for being able to interact with the acoustics in that room. Issue agreed to host a performance of mine but requested that i choose a more established artist to pair with; I immediately chose Thomas. He and I had worked on a piece for my 2016 record Drono called ‘Absolute Grey’. In addition to us performing solo sets, we played a 30 minute rendition of that piece. Laurel Halo was also on the bill. It was great fun hanging around with Thomas the day after the gig in Issue’s space, recording the reverb and discussing work.
I was invited by one of my labels, Bit-Phalanx to partake in their 22rpm festival which they co-brainchilded with Japanese artist coppé. One of my bucket list wishes was to gig in a church and this provided a wonderful opportunity to do so. I am proud to say I disregarded all noise limit warnings and pushed my set into the red; testing out some new noise pieces I have been working on and playing a few pop tracks. My time after my set was gorgeous as well; I spent the majority of the evening hanging with Leila Arab and iPhone jamming on noisy synth apps and recording them to her little iPod shuffle. I also got to finally meet Stray Landings crew and Robin Rimbaud aka Scanner, bumping into Valgeir Sigurðsson was lovely as well.
This was the first time I’d been on stage with acoustic musicians for my work. I had written a solo album Bahar for release in 2015 and had worked with a friend, Kyle Tieman-Strauss (who is a fabulous composer) on re-arrangements of some of the solo material. Bahar as an album leaned heavily on woodwinds but Kyle’s direction replaced most of my sounds entirely with the players. It was scary and yet somehow relaxing to be able to close my laptop and perform just with my voice. At one point I had to close my eyes to distract myself from the absence of my Macbook, electronic teddybear. Kyle and I went on to do several shows in this configuration (I was backed by clarinet, bass clarinet, and flute) but the first gig remains to me the scariest and most rewarding. Worth noting: Michael Gordon was in attendance!
‘Underlined’ will be released on March 2nd, 2018 with LINE. Pre-order here.