on life, music etc beyond mainstream


A few years ago when I was on tour, Steven Reker, who was dancing and playing guitar in our show, passed a request along to me from a guy named Jherek Bischoff. Jherek wanted me to sing on a track he recorded – a request that is not so unusual – but when I listened to his track, something very unusual occurred – I was knocked out by Jherek’s music. This guy I’d never heard of somehow managed to record a whole orchestra. His arrangements and tunes were surprisingly atypical, but still catchy and accessible – so I said yes to Jherek’s request. I wrote lyrics to a melody Jherek outlined and I maintained the title (and subject) that he set in place – „Eyes.“

Later, I helped him get in touch with Caetano Veloso, whom he also wanted to collaborate with. Good luck with that I thought, but I passed the track on to Caetano. It languished there a bit until a wonderful young Brazilian singer, Tie, told Caetano he should do it – or so I was told. Jherek also produced an album for People Get Ready, Reker’s group, and now one for Amanda Palmer called Grand Theft Orchestra. I sat in with the group a couple of weekends ago at the Crossing Brooklyn Ferry festival that the Dressner brothers organized at BAM. Suddenly, he’s everywhere.

Jherek Bischoff – „Young & Lovely“

This entry was posted on Donnerstag, 7. Juni 2012 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Comment

  1. Michael Engelbrecht:


    „Multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Jherek Bischoff is the missing link between the sombre undertones of Ennio Morricone and the unpredictability of John Cale“ — NME 

    Seattle-based Jherek Bischoff is equal parts songwriter, producer, performer and composer. He has also been called a “pop polymath” (The New York Times), a “Seattle phenom” (The New Yorker), and “the missing link between the sombre undertones of Ennio Morricone and the unpredictability of John Cale“ (NME), but no need to get too braggy: This music speaks for itself. He also collaborates instinctively and trusts himself to be his own best teacher. Indeed, all this music-making has largely been self-taught.

    DIY in the purest sense, Jherek’s approach was illuminated by a desire to shake up the business-as-usual routine of being an independent rock musician. Jherek first composed the album on a ukulele. Next he produced, engineered, and mastered the album, resolving to achieve an orchestral sound without the orchestral cost by recording the music one instrument at a time using just one mic and a laptop. 

    “I recorded each individual musician of the ‘orchestra’ in their own living rooms,” says Bischoff, “And then I layered each instrument – sometimes one violinist playing one part twenty times – until it was the size of a huge orchestra. I spent the summer riding my bike from house to house recording each musician. I finished the album by taking a road trip to record all the singers in person, except for Caetano Veloso and David Byrne, who recorded their own parts at home.”

    The result bares traces of his past playing in DIY bands, his desire to make great pop music, and a love affair with the potential of the orchestra, all informed by his deep familiarity of a catalog of compositional ideas & technique. David Byrne collaborates on „Eyes“, as sumptuous a slice of meta-pop as anything he has produced in years, while Parenthetical Girls‘ Zac Pennington and French singer/actor Soko duet on the buoyant „Young And Lovely“. Brazilian Tropicalismo legend Caetano Veloso guests on „The Secret Of The Machines“ singing lyrics adapted from a Rudyard Kipling poem, and each of the other guests leave their own unique print on Jherek’s remarkable whole. It took years. It was worth it. (With Jherek, it always is.) 

Manafonistas | Impressum | Kontakt | Datenschutz