Derek Sallmann first picked up one of his dad’s guitars when he was only 13 years old. Now, he’s about to release his new EP, “Love, Future You”, later this year. His first single off the new album is the title track: “Love, Future You”. It’s an upbeat song that reminds listeners to power through the hard times because the future will always be brighter. Derek Sallman will be taking over YEM’s Snapchat account this weekend, and we spoke with him to find out more about his new music.
Young Entertainment Mag: Tell us about your new single “Love, Future You.”
Derek Sallman: “Love, Future You” is a song I co-wrote with my friend Kyler England, and we wrote it online while video chatting. It’s basically a “love-letter” to yourself telling you that everything’s going to be alright. I went through a really bad breakup earlier in the year and when I sat down to write with Kyler I wanted to write a really fun, upbeat, happy song, and it just wasn’t where my head was at. We ended up talking for a while and channeling those feelings of the recent breakup into the song, and I think that’s what makes it such an honest song, because it came from such a genuine place. It wasn’t the song I wanted to write that day, but it was definitely the song that I needed to write. I remember feeling just a little bit lighter after writing it, like I didn’t have to think about those feelings as much anymore, because I had channeled them into something productive. I traveled from Wisconsin to Los Angeles to work with producer Bill Lefler on 3 songs for the EP (which is also titled “Love, Future You” and will be released December 14th, 2018), which included “Love, Future You”. One cool aspect of the song is we actually sampled a bird call in it. I really love birds, and my brother Ryan and I run an educational YouTube channel about birding called “Badgerland Birding”, and so Bill and I thought it would be cool to include that in the song. It took us about two days to finish most of the song and Kyler actually sings background vocals on it as well. It was released on October 5th, and it’s gotten placed on some cool Spotify playlists and it’s been neat to see my fans connecting with the song, and to see it reaching people who might need to hear that message of encouragement.
YEM: What was it like filming the music video for the song?
Derek: The video we released for “Love, Future You” is a little different than the average music or lyric video. It’s an “icon video”, which was inspired by what “Dan + Shay” did on their last album. My friend Tim Burlingame did the animation for it, and we talked about what symbols would best represent the lyrics. I thought it was a unique way to showcase the lyrics of the song in an interesting way. It was really fun to see the animations evolve and come to life, and work with the song to tell the story.
You bill your music as indie pop. What would you say is the main difference between indie-pop and mainstream pop music normally heard on radio?
To me, the distinction is that Indie Pop is normally a little more “out of the box” than mainstream pop and it allows you to break the mold a little. I think the vocals can have a little more character and the structure doesn’t necessarily fit that of a standard pop song. I love both Mainstream and Indie Pop music, but I think the way that I sing, and the way the songs on the EP are produced gives them more of an “Indie Pop” vibe.
YEM: What’s your favorite song from your debut album, All Seasons, and why?
Derek: That’s a tough question. I worked on those songs and that album for a really long time and still play quite a few of those songs in my set list. Each song holds and represents a specific time and place in my life, but I think “When I See You” is probably my favorite. It’s really fun to play live and I like the upbeat, sunshine-y vibe that it has. If it’s a fun crowd, sometimes they even snap along to the intro guitar riff.
YEM: Many musicians start playing at a very young age, but you didn’t start playing guitar until you were 13. Just a few years later, you released an official debut album. Why do you think you caught onto things so fast?
Derek: I think the main reason was that I had so much fun playing guitar and learning about music. Sometimes, when kids are forced to learn something because their parents want them to, it can take the fun out of it, because they’re not doing it for them, they’re doing it because they were told to. My parents never forced me to learn music, but they were definitely open to teaching me about it if I developed an interest. When I started playing guitar at 13, I thought playing the guitar was the coolest thing ever and I dove really deep into music and it just kind of propelled me along. I listened and watched a lot of interviews from my favorite artists and if I ever met them in person I’d always ask them for advice. It really didn’t feel like I was catching onto things quickly, I must have been too busy having fun to notice.
YEM: Your father is also a musician. Do you think you would’ve gotten into music if it weren’t for him?
Derek: That’s a good question, and I’m not entirely sure. I definitely don’t think I’d be as far along with music if not for my dad. He’s been a huge help with every aspect of my music, especially live performances and setting up my sound system. When you’re starting out as a musician, any support that you have helps, especially support from family. You’re at a fragile stage at that time, and the feedback you get can either help you push forward or it will make you shy away from continuing with music. I think I’m really fortunate to have such a strong support system, especially from my dad, and I’m extremely thankful for my friends and family, and for all their encouragement over the years.
Tune in to Young Entertainment Mag’s Snapchat this Sunday as Derek takes over our account!