Clarence Clarity, like most new artists, is more of an enigma at this point. Letting rumors and vague descriptions guide his music to those eager to accept his concept. For those just tuning in Clarity is an eccentric pop weirdo along the lines of Ariel Pink if Pink wrote electro fuzzed out R&B jams and had Oneohtrix Point Never produce them. He talked to us through email to discuss about his music, clear some rumors up, and not mention his influences.
Punchland: You’ve been compared to Ariel Pink a lot not only in terms of your music, but your persona as well. Would you say Ariel Pink has had an influence on your work?
Clarence: I try not to name influences because its probably quite misleading, and will start popping up all over the internet once you’ve said it. I was explaining this in more detail in an interview recently and then made the mistake of talking about Ariel Pink for two seconds in a completely different context later in the conversation… so now he’s a big influence on me apparently.
Luckily, I do actually like Ariel Pink a lot, but I wouldn’t say he’s influenced me, and don’t see how we sound alike… When I make my music I’m constantly torn between wanting to sound extremely ‘now’ and high fidelity but also wanting to maintain some degree of ugliness and decay, using more ‘retro’ techniques – destroying something beautiful, or something equally poetic like that (jokes). Ariel’s from the school of lo-fi attitude, and his work indulges that side of my taste, next to Daniel Johnston, or early Devendra Banhart, so I suppose it rubbed off on me to some degree.
Punchland: You mentioned that God channels through you. Would you say your music has a lot of religious subtext in it?
Clarence: I love some of the ideas in certain religions, and I’m envious of the blind faith some people seem to have. But most of the time if I’m referring to God I just mean some sort of higher power, not necessarily the biblical God. I was interested in the influence spiritual faith has on music and creativity when I started writing my album – from Gospel to Haitian Vodou spirit summoning. Inducing a trance and giving yourself to the vibrations and/or Gods.
Also, its not so much that ‘God’ channels through me – that was partially jest, and partially about how I don’t really know or understand where my creativity comes from. I can listen back to most of my songs without any recollection of how they were made. So I think we can all agree the only rational explanation is that God does it. Thanks God.
Punchland: How does a Clarence Clarity live show work (backing band, solo)?
Clarence: Its a 4-piece band, that I front. Playing my songs. I don’t really see it as a backing band though – its an expansion of what Clarence Clarity is – playing live I want the rest of the band to be just as important as I am. I’m not trying to exactly replicate the recordings or anything – I’ve tried laptop-orientated live shows in the past, and it did nothing for me. I can’t get excited about dancing around a computer. So expect big live drums, and plenty of noise. We’ve been working hard on some nice Backstreet Boys harmonies as well, so watch out for that.
Punchland: Who are the Holy Fathers?
Clarence: That was the name of the live band to start with, but not anymore. I intend to change the name on a regular basis – we’re The Ultimate Warriors at the minute.
Punchland: Goals for this LP?
Clarence: Nothing short of world peace
Punchland: Any plans to come stateside this year?
Clarence: Well I’d like to, but one thing at a time I guess. Haven’t actually got out of the rehearsal room yet.
Punchland: Who would you like to go on tour with/favorite contemporary artist?
Clarence: To be honest with you, I’ve just caught a shit cold, and I think I might have overdosed on various flu medication. So because I can’t really think straight right now, I’m gonna give you my straight up honest answer, which is Miley Cyrus.
Punchalnd: Do you think you will continue to produce music in the afterlife?
Clarence: I think maybe I already am. Peace out yeah
Watch a video for his song “Alive In The Septic Tank” off his forthcoming debut LP No Now available March 3rd on Bella Union.
Read our review of No Now here.