Clarkesville - Interview

06 November 2003

Clarkesville - Interview
Clarkesville has what it takes to make rivals Evergreen

The mercurial Michael Clarke (Alias Clarkesville) took time out before his headline gig at the Night & Day Manchester to discuss life, music, business and being compared to Craig David!! The 23 year old from Walsall whose debut album ‘The Half Chapter’ is out now on Wildstar records, has had praised heaped on it from many quarters and has drawn comparisons with Richard Ashcroft, Coldplay and naturally Travis, whose drummer Neil Primrose helped out on the album.

Q. You have toured with the likes of The Crimea, Kings Of Leon & Rooney and are about to tour with Sheryl Crow in December. Do you change your shows depending on who you are supporting and are you more nervous about doing your own headline gigs in small venues?

A. Yeah I think the headline shows are more nerve wracking. The more intimate the gig the more nervous I get. I don’t change my set really, I prefer the do what you do thing.

Q. You have been compared to Richard Ashcroft, Travis and many others. Do you find this pigeon holing flattering and what are your views on the use of pigeon holing in the music industry?

Clarkesville - Interview
Clarkesville - Interview
A. I’d rather people just look at things for what they are instead of pigeon holing. Most of the time it is good for me, I like the Coldplay and Travis comparisons. (Michael pauses at this point and emits a bemused look and smile before recalling; ) There was a lady in a radio interview who had no idea what we were like. She says “Oh; you’re like Craig David aren’t you? (His laugh gets louder) We’re nothing like Craig David.

Q. Your next release is the double A sided Heavy Soul/Just Kills Me, which are both sad and reflective tracks about human nature. Does this reflect your mood at the moment the fact that you chose these tracks and not the anthemic hope inspiring ‘Everyone Will Have Their Day’?

A. That (‘Everyone Will Have Their Day’) and Spinning will be released later. I think Just Kills me especially, is a good choice of single because we would finish the set with it and it turned into something more guitary.

Q. You are being touted as “the next big thing”, what are your views on this and do you think that hype can be destructive as well as constructive?

A. I wouldn’t say that I have been hyped; I’ve had good reviews hype is like The Kings Of Leon. I’ve had a pat on the back from Q and that, even NME who I don’t normally like gave us 5/10 and I was chuffed.

Q. The Half Chapter is an emotional rollercoaster of tender and heartfelt tracks. Was it hard and painful to make?

A. I guess so, ‘Just Kills Me’ is about a relationship going wrong and I can’t sing it without feeling an attachment to what I was going through when I wrote it. I think that the theme of hope was achieved in the album, which was hard for me, as I am not usually like that.

Q. What do you want people to take out of your gigs? How do you want to leave them feeling?

A. I want people to be excited. It is early days, bit by bit we are adding to the show. We have had a good response like when we played Manchester Roadhouse with The Kings Of Leon, people who were from Nottingham who came to the gig came to see us in Nottingham because of it.

Q. You come across as someone who has a lot of depth. What occupies your time when you are not involved with the band?

A. I write a lot of music, it isn’t something I can switch off from. Even when I am in the pub I have lyrics buzzing around in my head.. I have to get my mind off the business side of it though.

Q. Who or what makes you angry?

A. The business side of things, I’ve felt letdown by things in the business in the past. I’ve had issues with publishing companies before and I am always on edge a few days before signing something. I have had a smooth ride really when I hear what some bands have been through. I write songs rather than shout.

Q. What song, poem or book would you say sums you up, if any?

A. Erm, someone once asked me what song what you play at your funeral? I said U2s Playboy Mansion on the Pop album and I think I stand by that.

Q. What motivates you in life?

A. Ambitions, I want to get to the point of making another album, assome bands don’t get to do that they make one album and you never hear of them again. I want to get back in the studio and experiment with new songs. I grew up in a Christian family, I am still trying to figure it out. It is good to have beliefs and faith.

To watch Heavy Soul Full Length Video Click Here


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