Peasant Strives for Artistic Perfection
January 15, 2011 § Leave a comment
Damien DeRose is his own worst critic. Founder and sole member of the acoustic folk band Peasant, out of Doylestown, PA, DeRose sets his own standard for art in today’s music industry, and sets it high.
In the dynamics between popular artists playing in stadiums and an abundance of independents playing in local dive bars, DeRose is mainly on a quest to write the perfect song. While he classifies his music as Folk Pop Dream, he calls most of the pop on the radio “crap.”
DeRose’s songs are characterized by his solemn voice laced over acoustic guitar and piano. His reverence for nature (album covers featuring an oasis in the woods, or photo shoots of DeRose lying in an open field) comes through songs with earthy moods. In one he declares, “I am speaking for the wind.”
His sound burns with the fervor of releasing his innermost convictions, with a mix of slower guitar based folk songs and more resonant alternative tracks. “We’re Good,” off his first album, occupies a thin realm between joyfully optimistic and haunting uncertainty: “Time’s got so much in stock I don’t know where to start,” he opens.
Since he decided to pursue his passion as a career, Peasant has attained success, whether in the studio or on tour. DeRose has compiled three albums: Shady Retreat, On The Ground, and the single The End.
Now signed to the independent label Paper Garden Records, DeRose will be recording this winter. A break from an international tour which included shows in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Netherlands, London, Norwich, Hüllhorst, Germany, Amsterdam, and Clermont-Ferrand, France.
“I had no expectations,” he said upon entering music as a career. “Therefore I have more than fulfilled them.”
Influenced by The Beatles and The Beach Boys at a young age, today he strives to stay true as an artist, and is more than optimistic about the music industry in the age of media piracy.
When asked about file sharing and its impact on record sales, DeRose exclaims, “It’s fantastic!” DeRose is satisfied with any way to spread his art. “If people truly love your music they will still buy your records and pay to see you play live,” he says. The Internet allows audiences access to Peasant’s music, and DeBose appreciates the opportunity “to get into peoples ears.”
As weekly album sales hit a record low last September, selling out venues is a vital way for an artist to make a living musically. And as for those who sell out arenas? “Musicians shouldn’t be cardboard cutouts who do the dance moves they are told to do,” he says.
“If you wish to create something that is pure and from yourself, as soon as you start trying to please people you stop being yourself and that’s not what art is about,” he continues. But even with the profuseness and brief staying power of musicians today, DeRose believes it is still possible to become a legend, citing Elliott Smith, Jeff Buckley and Kurt Cobain as modern day luminaries.
For now, DeRose is content with plucking his guitar. “I would like to keep doing this all my life, until I am dead with a guitar in my hand,” he says.
But when he does write that perfect song? “I may feel fulfilled completely. But I doubt that will happen before I’m in the ground either.”
By: Liz Harrington