Photo Credit: Alex Berger for Weird Candy
East Nashville’s own Derek Hoke is here with us this week talking about his 2022 release, ‘Electric Mountain,’ out on September 9th. Not only did we dive into how he managed to keep this record light despite the negativity of the world around him (and the rest of us), but also where the locals go for music in the place he calls home, driving destinations, and more.
Kendra: So ‘Goodbye Rock & Roll’ came out the year I wrapped up college. I barely had a Facebook and was a year or so from getting an iPod. Today, those are two things that feel a bit foreign because life keeps moving faster and faster with each passing year. As for music though, how do you feel the industry has changed for the better since then?
Derek Hoke: Streaming has become the go-to, for better or worse. Great for music lovers, but not so much for music makers. But we adapt. I sometimes find myself listening to Miles Davis on Spotify even though I own many of his LPs. It’s just easier, and more user-friendly, to type in an artist’s name and have a listen.
Kendra: You’ve had a few records since then with your last being a handful of years go in 2017. You’ve noted that ‘Bring The Flood’ was moodier than what’s to come with ‘Electric Mountain.’ I found that interesting because it’s felt like a lot of recent albums I’ve heard are tackling the dark cloud that’s been ever-present since 2020. How’d you manage to find the light in all the recent darkness?
Derek Hoke: I wanted to stay positive throughout the last couple of years. Try to, at least! I knew there was a light at the end of this tunnel we were all in, so I just kept focusing on that. Don’t get me wrong, there are still a couple of moody tracks on the new album, but the subject matter has more of a hopeful message.
Kendra: One of the songs off ‘Electric Mountain’ is “Wild and Free.” It’s been said you had to go in and basically cut it in half, but when it comes to performing live – are there going to be instances where the full-length version is on the table?
Derek Hoke: I hope so. We cut off about four minutes of the outro. When we played it in the studio, no one spoke up to end it. We just kept playing. There are some stellar pedal steel moments in there. Listening to it as an album track, we just felt like we were entering jam band territory. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Kendra: “Wild and Free” is meant for a desert drive, at least that’s what came to mind when you were crafting it. With that, what desert were you thinking of? Perhaps Joshua Tree?
Derek Hoke: Yes. Definitely. Remote areas of southern California. Driving in the early morning hours just as the sun is coming up and the stars are fading away. A new day dawning. With wide open spaces around you. Like anything is possible.
Kendra: You’ve been in East Nashville for some time and I gotta say that the downtown area is one of the few places I’ve gotten to travel to that lives up to the hype of live music everywhere, and drinks from morning till night. That’s obviously where a tourist like me would go, but where would you find local music lovers on any given night?
Derek Hoke: Well, I’m contractually obligated to say The 5 Spot! Kidding, but it’s really a great place to check out a lot of what the local music scene is all about. There are also some new joints, such as The Underdog, where you can catch folks like Kacey Musgraves dropping by to sing a tune or Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top popping in to show everyone how it’s done.
Kendra: Side note time – with September being a Back 2 School month, I’d love to know your favorite field trip or just school memory.
Derek Hoke: Field trips rule. I used to love going to museums and old military forts. This was all around South Carolina. As a kid, I was naive about the history of the south. The Civil War. You get a glimpse of it in Charleston, SC. It’s pretty eye-opening. I liked the old ships, underground forts, and cannons. Had no idea who they were pointed at or why they were built in the first place. I was just happy to be out of school!
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘Electric Mountain’ out on September 9th, what’s next? Touring this fall?
Derek Hoke: I’m so excited to finally be releasing this record. It’s been a long time coming. Yeah, hopefully, some touring, and a few more video releases. That’s probably where I’m heading. Filming a lot more, and putting out live and pre-taped performances. It kind of circles back to the way we listen to music now. Streaming. So, I’m gonna put footage out there that can be streamed as well. Adapting with the times.