There’s an enigmatic, cynical, psycho-llectual, omniscient, shrouded orb of weird conjuring noises from the bowels of Beelzebub, and his (or her?) name is Clarence Clarity. Scant details about the man behind the music have surfaced, just a few well-placed red herrings (is he really from Fiji?) and some cloak’n’dagger self-administered PR-ing; essentially, we know sweet FA about CC except that which he divulges in his twisted electro-pop. There were rumours bandied about that perpetually elusive Jai Paul was in fact Clarence Clarity. Maybe it’s Burial in a slimy disguise?
“Alive In The Septic Tank” is one of his most memorable numbers: with off-kilter rhythms, speaking-in-tongues samples and tortured R&B vox (“We all fuck the same/we all die the same…”), it’s gloriously unbalanced, even deranged. “The Gospel Truth” squelches and squawks, a patchwork monster of sewn-together genre hallmarks, with rock howls, glitch-hop arpeggios, thrash-metal beats and horrorcore samples. It’s post-witch-house. Haunted house?
Interviewed via email it’s tough to extract vocal patterns and tonalities, but in his language and overly polished etiquette, you might be able to glean the fact he’s got the mannerisms of an eccentric Bond villain or some erudite force of manipulative malevolence. He might well be a herald demon of the apocalypse, channelling the almighty’s voice and desecrating on a whim. He may just be a suave, self-assured, religious imagery fanatic. Perhaps he’s forcing you to delve into your brain as he softly caresses it with his prodding, curious digits, perhaps not; this is the definition of ‘mindfucker’.
Remember to keep your windows and doors locked.
What’s your origin story?
I am Clarence Clarity, and I can now make the big reveal that I am not in fact from Fiji as stated on the Internet, but actually from England.
Is there a reason behind all the smoke and mirrors?
It’s all smoke and mirrors Larry, wherever you look. Everyone’s wearing a mask, pulling a fast one, sleight of hand, are they not? But no, I have no intention of creating a (dare I say) clichéd and anonymous alter-ego.
I’ve kept my personal details out of the picture for now, just while people are still being introduced to the music. I’d like the listener to paint their own picture of who they think Clarence Clarity is first. I’ll introduce bits of myself as we go. The music should have its own story, starting now.
Do you have an aim with your music?
Absolutely. I intend to be the greatest artist of all-time, and not just because of my musical impact, but my societal impact as well, bolstering relations between nations and facilitating contact with extraterrestrial life.
What’s your first memory?
I don’t know, because I don’t trust the memories in my head. I’ve most likely rewritten my first memory so many times its irrelevant. I spend most days feeling like I’ve just been born into the universe, completely lost, and always working things out for the first time. Often confused. Certainly, the more I learn, the less I know. Who’s with me? My first memory is running from the kitchen to the lounge at my 3rd Birthday party.
Why the name Clarence Clarity? Isn’t it a meme?
‘Sudden Clarity Clarence‘ is a meme, yeah. The word ‘Clarity’ was originally just some kind of mantra for this project, just to keep me focused. There is a formula for all of my music, and I write down in words how every song will go before I even start it, in meticulous detail. I try not to deviate from this. ‘Clarity’ is a constant reminder not to let myself get off track. So anyway, it made sense to stick with it, but I wanted to personify the music, and I wanted people to realise they’re listening to the vision of one person alone. Clarence just sounds good with Clarity, doesn’t it? I discovered the meme afterwards and thought it quite apt, really.
Where do your ideas for songs come from?
Could you tell us how you wrote and recorded “Alive In The Septic Tank”?
As I was saying, God channels through me. I write it all down: lyrics, music and production, and then I just have to record it. I record with a computer, and use no ‘analog’ equipment. The recording process is very much going through the motions because I already know how its going to sound. Sometimes things surprise me, but truth be told it’s rare. The polyrhythmic nature of “Alive In The Septic Tank” was the first thing that came to light. That was quite exciting for five minutes – a 5/4 bass line on a swung 4/4 groove, vocal lines on counts of 3. Sounds like I’m showboating? Well you’re right. But sometimes people need genius pointing out to them. I jest.
Who does your graphic design/music videos? The aesthetic is awesome.
I do all that, with the exception of the “Alive In The Septic Tank” video. That was by Craig Murray who is very, very good and worth checking out. These days the visual aesthetic is such a massive part in the experience of digesting music, and I think it has to be led by the musician. Even if by-the-book its shit, it will still have a more powerful connection with the recipient if the sounds and visuals have all come from the same brain. That’s what I think anyway. Probably doesn’t matter actually. As long as it looks cool and that.
How would you describe your music in one sentence?
What’s a Clarence Clarity show like?
Its going to be performed by The Holy Fathers, and its going to be transcendent, if nothing else.
What are your views on the reaction to Save Thyself?
You can’t change the future, but the past is what you make it. The reaction has been incredible, and everyone seems to get exactly what I’m trying to do. The music literally seems to be changing lives. I’m caught in a tidal wave of hype, and riding the surf to sweet salvation of the heart and mind.
What are we saving ourselves from?
Maybe you don’t want or need to be saved. But I feel a continuing dissatisfaction with everything around me. I think you can spend your entire life trying to fix the world, or you can just try and fix yourself – and that’s just one person, so I figure that’s easier. I want to feel better, and as a human being I want things to make sense. In an indifferent universe, all you can do is save yourself.
All nonsense, I know.
How did the EP come together?
What’s next for Clarence Clarity?
The second EP WHO AM EYE is finished and being organised for release. Along with the vaporware album She Knew Exactly What She Wanted, But That Ain’t What She Got…. The live show is ready to go, we could turn up when you least expect it.
I envision dreams forming into real life nightmares, chasing pots of gold through never ending rainbows, and gallons of spilt milk. And the universe slowly becoming conscious.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
The Save Thyself EP is out now.