Seany Clarke is a British singer-songwriter whose music is as independent-spirited as it is sweet to the ear. His unique blend of soul, indie and funk has drawn comparison with songwriters such as Shuggie Otis, Sly Stone, Curtis Mayfield and Elvis Costello, but with his own audacious 21st century twist. I caught up with Seany Clarke to chat about his new single Adrenalin , the new album , the creative process and what’s happening next.
Congratulations on the release of your brand new single ‘’ Adrenalin’’ , what inspired you to write the single ?
The song developed out of a feeling of anxiety I was having over a friend who, shall we say, liked to live life in the fast lane. My friend had an unfettered desire for chasing life’s highs. Every now and again there would be some sort of a mishap: a dislocated shoulder, a broken finger – getting run over by a car etc. I’d be like… “WTF”.
The idea for the song fitted in well with the overall concept of ‘I Can Resist Anything but Temptation’: the album from which ‘Adrenalin’ is taken from. Songs from the album deal with the circle of misplaced desire, self destruction, picking yourself up off the ground, getting real with yourself and the world, and a dream to move on.
What was the creative process behind the single ?
I wrote the words for ‘Adrenalin’ with an acoustic guitar in my campervan. The working title was ‘Funky Indie’. I wanted the rhythm to resemble something metronomic, systematic like a train. So I got in my humble little studio, and worked on a bass line that I thought represented this and recorded over some four to the floor like drums. Feel wise, I quickly realised that the bass and drums were probably going to be the most essential part of the song. I therefore decided that whatever instrument I added next, it would have to act as minimal support. So I amended my guitar parts with this in mind. As usual, I started over playing, so I forced myself to think ‘less is more’. I still live by this maxim. The lead vocals and backing vocals had already been cooked in my head.
When did you realise that you would be putting together an album and how is it all going ?
It was my intention to put together an album a good few years ago. I already had a few sketches for songs but I went full steam ahead after being inspired by an Oscar Wilde quote: “I can resist anything except temptation”. So it was now going to be a concept album.
What was your first memory of music ?
My parents are Jamaican. They had a good few house parties. I guess that one of my earliest memories was of booming reggae and a people slow dancing fuelled with Special Brew and Jamaican Rum in the living room.
What at point did you realise that you had a talent ?
I used to get rather frustrated at school. So when I came home i’d head straight for my bedroom and bang the sh** out of the drum kit that my dad bought me. I started to realise that I had good rhythm. I got more confident and started playing drums in music lessons at School. We covered old songs such as ‘All Right Now’ by Free and ‘House of The Rising Sun’ by the Animals. Pretty soon after, I discovered my love for the guitar. I truly felt at one with the instrument. I’d be making noise getting all punky, funky and rocky jamming along to Hendrix and The Jam. I even went to bed with it a few times because I heard Hendrix did.
What would you say was the album that changed your whole perspective of the musical creative process ?
Off my head, I can’t think of a particular album that completely changed my musical creative process. It developed over time while listening to many genres. However, in terms of production, I remember becoming more appreciative of space and balance in a mix after listening to Zero 7’s album, The Garden.
How would you describe your music in five words ?
Soulful, individual, independent-spirited, whole-hearted, off-centre
What do you have planned for the coming year ?
My Debut album was released on 19th February. I am playing tour support to soul blues artist, Jo Harman up until March. I have an album showcase in Brighton at the end March. The plan is to continue promoting the album with live shows throughout the year.
Finally , what would be your advice to any up and coming artist trying to make it in the music industry ?
Be yourself. Speak with your own voice. Of course, we are all influenced by stuff but I suppose it’s about making sure your character shines through those influences. I would also say always be open to constructive criticism even if the criticism is negative. That’s what I tell myself anyway. I’m still on the journey so come back to me later.