Interview with Archpalatine
One of the freshest new artistic voices standing out amongst the backdrop of the City of Brotherly Love’s artists. Archpalatine bends genre to create a new, eloquently labeled, "Histrionic Pop" sound.
Derek Anthony Wilson, frontman, is poised to not only create a lane for himself and his bandmates (Anthony Pompey - vocals, Aaron Wolf - percussion, and Ben High - bass, and Kordel Anderson - Guitar ) but together they will also blaze a trail for creative risk takers, soulful story tellers, and theatrical musicians who challenge the antiquated defenses of musical gatekeepers
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
This is one of my favorite questions to answer. What got me personally into music was my mom and the church. My mom is a singer, a beautiful soprano with a robust and powerful voice. When I was a boy I remember her singing songs to put me to sleep and wake me up. One song in particular I will never forget, and she is the only person to ever sing, was a song she wrote specifically for me with my name in it over and over again. I love her. If I wasn't doing music then I would probably be painting or creating visual art. I love all artforms. I work a day job that I also like! So I would probably still be grinding away there as well to help support my purpose.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When I am not playing music I find inspiration in friendships, movies, and absorbing scenery and the sunshine. I can look at a clear night sky for hours. And I love hanging out with my nieces, cousins, and nephews. My family says I have a gift with children, I guess I never let that part of me fade. Experiencing those joys in life inspires me! Watching people win inspires me. Getting in my feels inspires me. And accomplishing a goal and working hard to finish what I've started also inspires me. These things are all invigorating!
How long has music been your career?
How long has music been my career, hmm, I started singing professionally in 2009 when I joined the St. Martin's Episcopal Church of Radnor, PA's choir as the tenor section leader back in the fall of 2009. Once I joined that choir I felt a new sense of self that led to joining other bands and groups as well. This musical journey is amazing, I love that it's brought me to my bandmates now. Shout out to Ben High, Anthony Pompey, Aaron Wolf, and Kordel Anderson!
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
My bandmates and I are based out of Philly! And there are countless ways it has inspired me. From growing up and being sneaked into clubs to see my friends perform like Tara Hendricks, who, after many moons, got a dream chance to perform with just a few months ago. We got up on stage and sang a duet version of "Nothing Compares" by Prince, which was her brilliant idea, and it was amazing! That is just one of the many many ways Philly musicians have inspired me. Another way is when I was the host of The Grape Room Open Mic from 2017-covid. Oh that was great. I met so many musicians from different walks of life. I met two of my current bandmates there, Ben High who plays the bass and Aaron Wolf, drums. Talk about influence, I am mad about my guys and what they say I try to make happen every day.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
Haha! What a great question! The best and worst shows I've played... Let me start with the best show we've ever played. It would have to be our recent show at Ortlieb's Lounge. We shared the bill with three bands. Two of which are friends and local favorites, Earth Child, and Venn Sung. The third band became new friends, Honey Magpie, who were touring from North Carolina. That night my bandmates and I were in great moods and good health. It was our first show with Kordel, our new guitarist. We went off! There was such synergy on stage. None of us were prepared for what was happening. This show was a complete level up for all us bandmates. The next morning Ben of Venn Such surprised us with a recording of our entire performance. Listening back to it, the energy we shared came through. We then uploaded it to our Soundcloud for everyone to hear. Please enjoy our live album we excitedly present to you: Archpalatine Live From Ortlieb's Philly
The worst show we ever played was March 6th of 2020. RIght when covid started to ransack the world. We had a show and I remember feeling pretty strange. We all were. It was the last show we played before the world shut down. The show was in South Philly at a now defunct club that a lot of us miss dearly called Connie's RIc Rac. We enjoyed many fond memories there and met lots of great artists, who we still see and perform with today.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I want to tell you about my favorite venue to play. But because there are so many great ones in philly this is tough. As a band our heart is most warmed by playing at The Grape Room. We also love Dawson Street Pub. But if I have to say our favorite venue I would say World Cafe Live. One place that we want to play where we haven't yet is Kung Fu Necktie. We play Silk City on October 1st. That's another club we're excited to play, especially since two friend's bands, The Altruistic Vision Band and Rescue Pets, will be joining us on the bill.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
If we could play a show with ANY lineup - I would have to say David Bowie, Donny Hathaway, Grateful Dead, and Mariah Carey. I mean... haha this is a great question because we can answer in such imaginative ways. Mozart, Phish, Beyonce, Talking Heads... There are so many dream bills out there... Ween, Megan The Stallion, Tedeschi Trucks Band, A.R. Rahman. Let's Go!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into music?
What is some advice I'd give to someone getting into music? Do you and work hard. Don't worry about what he said she said, what they think no matter how successful or influential they are because at the end of day the only competition is yourself and you are the one making YOUR art, so you have to be happy and focused. Make yourself proud by working very hard and most importantly, make and love as many friends and new people as you possibly can. The journey is what matters.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
If I could go back in time and give myself advice it would be what Reverend Mother said to Maria in the Sound of Music - "Climb Every Mountain" and don't let unfamiliar and new scary feelings distract you from recognizing you are where you are for a reason. Climb that thing!
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Out of our songs, which ones mean the most to me and why.... great question. Each song has a different meaning depending on our moods. But overall, I would say "Fire" means the most to me because it's universal. It talks about letting your light shine and calling that light your fire! 🔥 In it we talk about many walks of life and how in many forms you have your fire! "Let it (proudly) burn"!
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Which song is our favorite to play and which gets requested the most. At one point the one that was most requested was our favorite to play, and that is "Hypnotized". But after touring and promoting it, it's still fun, but no longer our favorite. Collectively our favorite is "Can't Compare" or Travel, but for some reason Can't compare always hits! "Can't Compare" is also the latest single from our upcoming album. We have yet to publicly release the title to the album, which includes both "Hypnotized" and "Can't Compare" called "Doozies to Daisies" (tm). You heard it here first!
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
My creative process for songwriting has many facets. I try to designate time for creativity every day. Usually I sit at my piano or keyboard and start playing around. Trying familiar things and unfamiliar things, new sounds and tempos. Sometimes it works and others it doesn't but I write the song anyway. Some songs make it to the band, then it gets fun. Our band comes from different walks of life musically. So bringing a song can go in many different directions. Recently we were working on a song called "Mojo Eater". Aaron and I started writing this song a few years ago. We didn't get far. Then I worked on it in my own time to make it more palatable for the band. That went okay, but we still thought something was missing. Later we wrote a new part to it... We performed it live and it went over pretty well, but we still think something is missing... that we have yet to figure out. I am a strong believer that there is no rush, the song will be complete when the song says, "I'm complete". The process cannot be rushed.
Look, I cannot play around with this, I'm inspired by everything in some way. I just have to put in the work. There are plenty of times when the inspiration takes over me. Like, when I hear a song in my dream... I jump out of bed at any time and get to work. I can't fight it sometimes. I love those moments!
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
First of all, Love hard! Fall Hard! Get up Strong! We like positive, inspiring, intimate, storytelling, heartfelt, and love filled messages in our music. Our original song "Turbulence" is about taking the chance to do something great! We want everyone to take those leaps! These are the kinds of messages we like to get across in our music.
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
Have we ever had disagreements when collaborating, Yes! Sometimes we don't all love the flow of a song. When that happens we have to take a step back and make sure we all end up happy, because at the end of the day that's truly what we all want anyway. To make each other happy and make our music reflect that intention.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
What are our plans for the future you ask, and is there any spotlight? Recently we soft released "Can't Compare", to see how the response would be. We found out many interesting things we couldn't foresee. One is that it resonates with young music lovers. Two is that when we perform it live the energy permeates the room in great magnitude! And three, no matter how many times we perform it, the secret is still kept. Are you good at keeping secrets? If so, or if not then we are excited about sharing this song with you.
Model: Sacajawea Sativa
Photographer: Charles Eustace
Makeup: Victoria Hoffman
Creative Direction: Ivana, Lynn, Derek