First up, can you give us some brief insight into your musical journey?
It started in high school. I started late at about 15 years old, but I took to it quite easy; I was lucky. Within 12 months I began to form a band and play live.
You’ve got an interesting style with how you tap your harmonics, especially in ‘All Over The World’. Who influenced your style?
That song is from my previous album Crazy World. I was hanging out in Italy for a while with some hyper level guitar players. I was spending a lot of time with Luca Stricagnoli who is an Internet guitar star now, but then, just becoming known. We would bounce off all these crazy sounds and guitar styles off each other. I always saw myself as a singer/ songwriter and a guitarist. That was my tenth album, and I thought I’d do something different and let the guitar come to the fore and take centre stage. Playing at the edge of my ability I guess… that song was born from that.
Congrats on the recent album, The World Within. Can you tell us a bit about how this one came together?
A big change in life. I was married and living in England, then things changed and I was on my own again. I decided to leave England and I went to live in Andalusia, Spain. I had a house in the middle of nowhere with no neighbours and a swimming pool. I sat down to learn slide guitar finally, something I’d promised myself I’d do for at least 20 years. I’d sit there, watch the sunset, learn lapslide and write songs about the past few years of life. All these stray animals from the area would visit me and they were my audience. It was a lovely time.
Recording with legend Jeff Lang over the space of a few months would have been a great experience! What did Jeff bring to the recording?
It was a great experience and very easy. Jeff and I would bump into each other on the road a bit around 2005-2012 or so in the UK. We had talked about doing this a few times, but touring and logistics meant it never worked out until now. I am living back in Australia now so it made sense and luckily we could both find some time. The first obvious thing for me was Jeff brought was his extensive experience of working with slide guitar and recording it. It is still relatively new to me, so his experience was invaluable. I learned a lot of little things about the instrument, and all those little things add up to a lot. We would have similar ideas what to do with the recording, but then there were things I hadn’t thought of that Jeff did that really worked, namely a few guitar effects and things like that. I’m really glad it all worked out. This album would not have been the same with someone else.
With 10 tracks on the new album, is there a particular song that means the most to you?
If you had asked me that about other albums I had done, it would be an easier question. I feel pretty close to a lot of the stuff on here. Also, I had to learn how to make the sounds on the lapslide while writing on it for the first time, so the process is a pretty intimate and nervous memory. Learning a new style, and it coming out ok has an overall feeling of relief, I guess. It’s hard to single out a particular moment.
Musically, what has moving back to Australia meant for you?
It’s home. There is no place like home.
You’ve performed more than 2500 shows in countries all over the world! What is your favourite part of the world, and where have you found has been best for your music?
I think in my travels, my favourite part of Europe was Andalusia in Spain, hence my decision to move there for a while. I felt a connection with the people, the land, the lifestyle. I still do and always will. Music-wise, I spent a lot of time touring and performing in Britain, and I loved the folk scene and blues scene there. I definitely feel some of those scenes has permeated my music to some degree.
You’re launching your new album at Pistol Pete’s in Geelong at the end of the month, which we believe is part of your first tour in almost two years! What have you got in store for that performance?
A mix of old and new stuff. I guess because I haven’t been around a lot, I’ll try to give the whole spectrum of what I do.
What’s next for you in 2020?
I was offered work in Europe in the middle of the year, but I’ve decided to stay in OZ instead. I want to start performing in Australia again, so I’ll spend the time finding my scene, whatever that is. I also play electric guitar in a bluesy rock type band called The Big Blue which is a lot of fun; playing electric for the first time in 20 years or so. We have an album coming out soon also, so I’ll be around on the scene playing my solo acoustic stuff and doing some electric stuff with them. I’ll also be spending a lot of time with friends and family. I’ve been away such a long time, there is still plenty of catching up to do.
Check out the album below and help Derrin celebrate his return to Oz at Pistol Pete’s, Geelong on Thursday, January 30.