Adam Cleaver may only be 24, but his voice carries the weight of a full lifetime. Bearing comparison to the emotionally resonant Thom York, Cleaver's latest single 'The Salt Mine' is haunting indie folk at its best, with some fantastic harmonies and an otherworldly atmosphere. We sat down with Adam for a quick chat.
Contactmusic: Your new single 'The Salt Mine' is filled with some brilliant instrumentation throughout. What made you decide to go with a full band as opposed to acoustic?
Adam Cleaver: Hey thanks! I suppose it wasn't really a conscious decision. There was a moment when I considered myself an 'acoustic' artist, but that was very early on. Matt Harris' work on the tracks has grown the sound in a really organic way. The result is a natural progression.
CM: What's the story behind 'The Salt Mine'?
AC: 'The Salt Mine' deals with loss, and focuses in particular on the mania associated with grief. The production on it really brings you into the space and echoes the song's themes. There's an element of hope ingrained in it though, a sense of pride in the human experience. It's not an entirely sad song I promise!
CM: The video is pretty unique and artistic. Where did the idea for that come from?
AC: I'm so pleased you like it! It was actually an idea that I had a couple of days before we shot it. I wanted a visual representation of the song's themes that brings you into the sonic space. I initially had the idea of painting an inkblot on my face and within minutes I'd decided to have my whole face covered in paint. That's not weird... right? My director James Byrne's work was really amazing. He really put the stamp on it and made it something beautiful.
CM: Talk us through your songwriting process.
AC: The process can vary. I tend to have a few ideas on the burner for some time and then something clicks. When that happens, I finish a song very quickly. So in theory I write very fast, but the components of each song can take months to assemble.
CM: Where has been your favourite place to perform so far?
AC: We had a big show at The Sebright Arms last year, that was really great. Everyone was having a great time and bouncing off of each others' energy. It's so amazing when a whole room is feeling the same vibe.
CM: How did you get into music?
AC: I've been writing for quite a while but only playing for 2 or 3 years. I was studying in Canterbury and it was really working out. I decided to play some of my songs at a couple of venues in London and fell straight into the scene here.
CM: What are your plans for the rest of 2015? Will there be an album following this release?
AC: 'The Salt Mine' is part of an EP that's out at the end of the summer. I'd love look at an album in the future. It's something that I'd like to work up to, and make sure that the songs make sense as a unit.
CM: Who do you cite as your main influences?
AC: I find influence from all sorts of places. Big influences are people like Other Lives, Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell. I often pick up inspiration from a spectrum of artists, I think that sound is quite versatile because of that.
CM: Do you have any advice for young musicians trying to make it in the music industry?
AC: There are countless ways to do this. I would say it's a good idea to steep yourself in the scene where you are. Make friends and accept the help and advice that they give you. And write like crazy...
CM: Will you be playing any festivals this year?
AC: There's a load of stuff coming up for the summer which will be getting announced next month. We've got big plans!
'The Salt Mine' is released 15th June 2015 via Veta Records.
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