Saturday, 24 November 2012

The Clive Continuum

(see also: "Respect" "Side Projects"  "Lyrics" & "Touring")

Creating demos of your songs is an immensely important part of the creative process. Unless you are Paul Simon or Tony Christie, you aren’t just gonna burp out a perfect song first go. If you do it right, demoing can turn out to be one of the most rewarding parts of the process.

Below is a studio demo of one of my songs Midas Loop which, in its finished version, appeared on my 77th album Life Is A Motorway (it sold out in four days). As you can hear, it is quite radically different from the highly regarded and oft-covered album version.

I have decided to take the unusual step of letting the public hear one of these ‘demos’ as way of showing an example of Clive Smith’s (my) constant searching for the new sound. Reinvention is what I am all about; pushing the letterbox, tearing the blue sky, opening the gates of unreality. By sharing it, I hope to offer an insight that might benefit you and your music also.

It is testament to my continuing gaze towards the future that this already sounds old fashioned and almost dishearteningly normal compared to my newest album, which is released today. At the time (4 months ago) it was radical, visionary and perplexing. I imagine this is how you will see it now and all I can say is – don’t be afraid! It’s simply what I do; not only do I continually reinvent the wheel but I do so whilst it’s speeding down the fast lane at 70mph whilst the powers that be try and apply the breaks, fearful of which road Clive’s crazy train will head down next. The sky’s the limit!

Unlike most of my tracks, this recording features contributions from other musicians. I like to record all the instruments myself on the albums as you will find that ‘musicians’ often want credit for the bits they ‘write’ and sometimes even expect payment. Plus, you can’t get the staff. So this way, I can flesh out my ideas and use their ideas later for myself.

You will notice the lyrics are not present at this stage. The music is number one for Clive; always has been. The new sound is tricky to find. You can hear my shouts of encouragement throughout – that’s how I keep the band in order! So even though they are playing the instruments, it’s my guidance that makes sure they play the right thing.

On this occasion, the band were:

Clive Smith: Voice, Guitar
Buff Wadsworth: Ocarina, Tamporini
Chris Crumm: Drums, Percussion
Beefy Cullingworth: Guitar, Atmospheres.
Marlow ‘Brownnote’ Simons: Bass

I hope this example of the Clive Smith creative process and my attempts (and success) in finding a brand new musical style offer some guidance to other up and coming artists. Don’t feel daunted. Give it a few years and your songs will soon be winning you awards and fans and invites to people’s houses. It’s all about self belief; if everyone tells you its shit it just proves what a maverick you are.

Clive Smith

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