Springtime represents growth and renewal, themes that represent the framework of the new album from Derek Piotr. The singer-songwriter will release his new studio album Making and Then Unmaking on May 14th, and you can hear it here first. Featuring nine new tracks, this is Piotr’s most ambitious piece of work yet, a whole new chapter in his musical career where he has embraced a new approach to doing things.
Previously known for his work as an electronica artist, Piotr did a whole 180, deciding to try his hand at an album of more traditional folk songs. He has long held a passion for folk music, but not just the typical classics from Bob Dylan or Pete Seeger. No, Piotr fully immersed himself in the study of traditional folk music from the northern UK, particularly Scotland and Northumberland. Through doing this research, he rediscovered his enthusiasm as a songwriter and rode the wave all the way through the completion of Making and Then Unmaking.
Explaining his original intentions for the album and how they changed, Piotr explained, “Making and Then Unmaking is my tenth solo record and was originally going to be a much different beast. My original intention was to track the record live with a core group of musicians, front-to-back. Then COVID happened. The end result is much more variegated than I envisioned, and features a plethora of instruments; bagpipes, clavichord, harp, saxophone, strings, guitar, banjo, mandolin, and pedal steel. This album was sutured together with (producer) Scott Solter (The Mountain Goats, John Vanderslice), 100 percent via filesharing, but I like to think the end result feels very organic and “in-the-room.”
A true DIY endeavour, Piotr wrote, produced, and edited the entire album, while also contributing to the mixing process. For a folk record, Making and Then Unmaking contains a wide diversity of instruments, with Piotr leaning on more traditional instruments of western folk, like acoustic guitar, pedal steel guitar, and banjo, as well as more unconventional instruments, such as saxophone, keyboards, and clavinet. It’s also a storyteller’s kind of record, with experiences, both personal and universal, interwoven throughout the nine songs. There’s also a real poetic element, something every great folk record needs to have. You can’t help but admire a songwriter like Piotr.
It’s not easy to steer your musical career in an entirely new direction, but he has accomplished just that, with both style and success.