Though he emerged from the ‘90s pop scene, singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik is now probably best known as a Broadway composer, whose rock score to “Spring Awakening” earned two Tony Awards in 2007. Since then he’s been juggling multiple theater projects, but recently carved out time to record an album. Set for release Tuesday, “Covers 80s” is a collection of hits and obscurities by acts such as New Order, Tears for Fears and the Thompson Twins, which Sheik presents in hushed acoustic arrangements. Last week we spoke to Sheik in his mother’s apartment on New York’s Upper East Side, where he crashes when he’s not on the road or staying at his own home upstate, which houses the recording studio where he recorded the new album.
You’re also working on a musical based on the Bret Easton Ellis novel “American Psycho.” How does your treatment of ‘80s songs on the album differ from the way you’re handling them in that musical?
It’s the opposite. With my covers I’m doing it because I really love these songs and want to pay tribute, where in the case of “American Psycho,” Bret was definitely going after these particular recordings and, as far as I’m concerned, in some cases rightfully so. I won’t name names, but they’re the most egregious examples of bad ‘80s production.
What’s the status of the project?
I was just in London and met with Rupert Goold, who’s going to be directing the show. We’re plotting a set of workshops in September of this year and we hope to quickly go to a regional theater in the beginning of 2012. I wish these things happened faster, but I have written 14 new songs and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who’s writing the script, is in the middle of the second act. Now we have to get down to the brass tacks of developing it.
You can read the whole interview here.