An artist must go out into the world to find inspiration for their songwriting. By living an interesting life we allow ourselves to have stories to tell. Putting them into song is our calling. Our recent discovery Bishop Battle has been leading quite the life and is now pouring all that into his music. We had the chance to chat with the intriguing artist to get a look behind the scenes. Enjoy the interview:
So what is the story behind the name Bishop Battle?
Well, I was always told growing up that my surname (Bishop) was interesting and cool, so people have always just called me that. Nobody ever really used my first name, so I stopped even using it when introducing myself, and just went by Bishop. In the Marines, I served with the air wing at one point, and those guys give everyone a callsign or a nickname of some sort. I got Battle, and that’s what those guys called me during my tour there, so I put the two together, and there you go.
How would you describe your sound?
I really struggle with defining my sound; I actually prefer to get feedback from others and use that as a barometer, since I am so close to what I create I find it difficult to compare it to anything else. Currently, I would say the instrumentation aspect of my sound is heavily synthesizer-based, incorporating EDM elements along with pop and alternative music influences. I am aware my voice is unique, so I’ve embraced that aspect of my sound rather than adapt to sounding like someone else, and just work with what I’ve been given to create something that is my own and true to myself. I really find inspiration in many forms of music, so I fully expect and hope to evolve my sound over time. For now, some comparisons I’ve heard are that to what a modern-day Depeche Mode would sound like. I do everything myself, including production, so I’m hoping to team with a producer at some point in my career to help further define my sound, and bring some aspects to it that I’m just not capable of by myself. I believe there is room for growth, and I think there is someone out there who can help me make the most of what I’m attempting to create and develop.
Which artists have had the biggest influence on you?
Radiohead, easily, is my most significant artistic influence, although I have found influences in other artists as well. As for Radiohead, I was drawn to the diverse songwriting by the group, and the exploitation of such a wide range of dynamics, instrumentation, and lyrical depth. I have since looked to other artists from multiple genres to learn from as many sources as possible to further my own growth in my chosen genre.
You seem to have led an interesting life so far. What drives you?
I believe we have all been blessed with gifts, and I am no different. Ironically, my greatest gift may be my drive, or as I call it, my inner fire. I feel like my purpose is to use every gift.
You seem to have led an interesting life so far. What drives you?
I believe we have all been blessed with gifts, and I am no different. Ironically, my greatest gift may be my drive, or as I call it, my inner fire. I feel like my purpose is to use every gift I have to the best of my ability, and to do as much as I possibly can with what I have been blessed with, which I believe is the most sincere way I can show the appreciation for what God has given me. I realize our lives are finite, and I just want to be grateful for the time I have to live it. I like to believe my most interesting days are ahead of me, and just strive to keep my fire burning as bright and hot as I can, for as long as I can.
How does a song come to you? What is your songwriting process?
I find inspirations from many places, ranging from my various life experiences to the people I’ve known, loved or lost. Songs also often come to me in my dreams, or just after waking up. I’ve forgotten far more songs that I have remembered, and of those, they are still frustratingly only a pale shadow of what I heard in my sleep. Lyrically, I find my material from trying to express what I felt emotionally when I heard the music. My attempts still feel futile at expressing exactly what I feel at the time I write my compositions, but I appreciate crafting something as specific as I can to capture that feeling into an audible form, even if it falls short from its visceral origins.
Your vocals definitely stand out. How did you develop such a unique style?
When I was in college training classically as a vocalist, I was often downtrodden by how wonderfully talented the girl and guy to my left and right were, and how they all seemed to fit so well into either the choral or operatic style singing. I struggled greatly to fit in vocally, but during the same time, I discovered Radiohead, and specifically the vocal style of Thom Yorke, who as well had a very unique voice. Although I continued with my vocal training in college to obtain my music degree, I was encouraged by a singer such as Yorke, who was a beautiful singer in his own right, yet undeniably unique. I then committed myself to using my technical knowledge to benefit my own voice, just the way it is, and embrace the timbre of my sound in its organic form. Sure, not everyone will love it because it is unique, but it’s me, and once I accepted my voice for what it is, I found others have to, and that is an encouraging thought.
Give us some advice for other artists creating fresh music?
I’m not sure I am in any position to give advice, or that I’m the right person to be giving it, but since I’m being asked, I would say first to believe in yourself, and the music you are creating. Different and unique is not a bad thing, and just because you don’t fit in with who you wanted to doesn’t mean someone else won’t relate to what you have created, or even better, to what is behind it. I would also say to find out what you excel at, or what you think you can do exceptionally well, and build off of that. Highlight your strengths, while developing your weaknesses. Also, don’t be afraid to delve into some music theory; this may be an art, but building off of expert knowledge can’t hurt anyone!
What does the future look like for Bishop Battle?
I’d be arrogant to think I can control my future or have any insight into it, but I’m an optimist, and I’ll say that although I can’t control my future, I will still do as much as I can with the present to influence it, using the successes of my past as the foundation. From a planning aspect, though, I have some ideas of what I would like to see happen, or what I have in the works. I’m currently working on my next single, “Underrated,” and am incorporating some guitar work from my featured artist on that track, Ghilley Drakar, who is from the band Maiden Cane in south Florida; I have done some work with him in the past, and he is both an incredible musician and human being, so I’m excited about the opportunity to work with him again. He’s a brilliant metal rock guitarist, and a personal mentor of mine, so I’m loving melding his style into this track a lot.
Concurrently, I’m working on an E.P. which is a tribute to the band Nirvana, and will contain some hits from the influential rock band incorporated into my own style and sound; I expect both to be released before the end of the year. My touring schedule is gradually filling up as well, so I’m looking forward to playing more live shows and developing that aspect of my routine. I’m also hoping to do some collaboration work with some other artists I’ve encountered along the way, and see if I can get a couple of music videos pumped out in the next year as well. Either way you look at it, my future looks busy, but I enjoy the work a lot.
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