It’s hard to argue the fact Electronic Dance Music aka EDM is taking the world by storm. Raves are the biggest things all-over again. It’s like we’re back to the 90s!
However, have you ever heard of Clearside? He’s a DJ based in Southern California who does a different kind of electronic music that’s unique and engaging. He’s got a knack for eerie electronic vibes but since he’s been at this for years (we’re talking about since he was 13!), it’s no wonder why his music continues getting better and better each EP! The Daily Quirk had the chance to talk to him about his music featured in the trailer Rover, the concept of his music and his future plans.
The Daily Quirk: You’re known as an Electronica Musician with some catchy instrumentals, why did you choose to go in this direction rather than the whole EDM type of music?
Clearside: I would say you know, it’s kind of like possibly the same reason why I never went into hip-hop. You know what I mean? It’s kind of something I don’t really feel inside. I feel like it would be a little bit unnatural for me to go down the rabbit hole of EDM because it’s not really true to who I am. I don’t know if that makes sense. [laughs] I come from a more rock background and so I grew up listening to a lot of classic rock. A little later on, I started getting into a little more electronic stuff. It was never your big house or big EDM kind of stuff. It was always kind of like more down tempo or just your Massive Attack kind of maybe Prodigy stuff where there’s elements of everything and sometimes the EDM stuff lacks maybe a little bit of diversity. I feel like there’s not a ton of really interesting stuff going on in rock right now. I also don’t feel like — maybe the rock guys have, you know, the fans of the music maybe don’t want to release EDM because it’s so different so maybe there’s kind of middle ground and I can’t tell you for sure if that’s who my fans are but maybe some people who are into the rock music who don’t really want to go to EDM and vise versa. There’s like this middle ground here where it’s not about genre because it’s tough for me to tell you what my genre is because I don’t know, I just kind of do it [laughs]. It’s tough. It’s tough to know. Everyone wants to really label you and I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t know what to tell them
TDQ: Your music is mainly instrumental with lots of hypnotic sounds. How do you prevent yourself from creating a really similar track? What goes through your mind when you’re making a new EP or single?
C: Well I realized that over the years — I’ve been doing this for a long time and I sometimes have created similar tracks. I’ve created similar tracks years apart. Maybe same chord progression or even the same melody happened and I won’t even realize it. In terms of that, I just kind of tend to — stuff starts to sound too much the same. I may actually try to use that. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing especially like if I’m doing an EP, I want to try to have some kind of identity for it so I would maybe let something like that slip. I’ll let something like that go to kind of like be a theme. It sounds like me too you know? And that’s okay. I’m comfortable with that. To answer the first part of the question, in terms of what’s going through my mind. A lot of times I like to just sit down and let it flow. If I’m trying to create a song, say I really need a badass opening song,I want to be super big, super energetic or something,I sit down with kind of a motive. More often than not it doesn’t materialize.
TDQ: Late last year, you released your latest EP. I read how the track ‘Pulse’ features vocals for the first time. What made you want to add vocals?
C: Well I wanted to give the listener something new. You know what I mean? I didn’t make a hard line saying, ’Oh, I’m strictly instrumental,’ I just want to be entertaining. I wanted to throw some curveballs but also it’s just been out of necessity that I don’t have vocals. I can’t sing and a lot of times — I didn’t really know what direction… When I finally did have a song with vocals, I wanted to make sure I kind of had something to say. For the listener, you know, if you’re listening to my stuff for a long time, maybe when that track comes on they kind of maybe didn’t see it coming. It’s a little different but again to try to stick with — the kind of stuff I like can go instrumental or could not.
TDQ: Your image is really distinct with your logo, music, videos and artwork. How did you know what kind of image you wanted to portray in your work?
C: So the big red ‘C’ was a long time of agonizing logos. I do all that stuff myself, again, out of necessity. I’m trying my best to try to make it as one kind of cohesive piece. I find that it’s important to have your images be correctly portrayed to the music and I think that I do a good enough job where — I’m not a trained artist or graphic designer or a visual effects artists but I try. I’m pretty hard on myself. I try not to let a lot of stuff go through that isn’t really thought out.
TDQ: The trailer for the movie Rover was recently released so let’s dive right into that. How did that collaboration come about?
C: So, it kind of came about — This is going to be a little bit anti-climatic. It came about in November. I was approached by a guy named Ian Sheen and he works for a company called Ignition Creative and these guys are a big creative house. They do a lot of movie trailers and stuff like that. Kind of this very ominous thing like, ‘Hey can you send over some stems for this project?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Send them right over.’ Couple weeks later, ‘Hey can you send some more stems over for a different song?’ ‘Absolutely.’ And it’s like, ‘Hey, what are you guys working on?’ [Laughs] And they couldn’t say anything. I have somebody looking out for me in that department. I work with a company called Music Alternative and these guys are helping kind of bridge the gap between artists and this kind of world. They kind of helped facilitate this. I was really left in the dark but I was starting to, you know, I started to kind of — It was a long waiting process because I know Ignition Creative, they do great stuff. I just don’t know what they’re going to do. I had no idea so it was awesome to see such a great, awesome trailer for an awesome looking movie with some good actors and stuff so that’s really cool.
TDQ: What was the process like putting the track together? Did you watch the movie prior to know which direction you wanted to go or did you just know exactly what you wanted to do?
C: So the song they used in the trailer was called ‘Gone’ and it was from my remix album and the actual song was from my ‘My Mind is Going’ which is off my first EP. So it was kind of a little confusing for people online when they’re maybe trying to find what song was used in the trailer. Both songs is the right answer. It’s basically like an alternate version. ‘Gone’ was kind of a remixed version of ‘My Mind is Going’. No. I did not compose that song for that trailer. They just licensed it. They kind of just took it. They took the stems and they mixed it the way they wanted to use it and edited it and that was it. Like I said, I was a little bit out of the loop.
TDQ: What’s it like knowing that it’s your song out there in a movie trailer with tons of people watching it?
C: It’s very satisfying and it’s very — it’s great these great artists and stuff like that are even listening to, you know, in terms of their editing staff and whoever was in the decision making process of this trailer. It’s great to know that they’re digging this stuff and listening to it. And also, I think it’s really important for me because it’s like, I think it’s the perfect fit. The picture and the sound kind of go together and I think that is also the right kind of usage. The most applicable for that kind of thing. That’s what I found really because it’s kind of getting the right gears in the right piece of music. That’s the best part about it.
TDQ: You started in 1999 so over the past few years, what would you say is your proudest moment in your career so far?
C: I would say over the past couple of months it’s been really taking off. There’s been a lot of movement just in terms of getting fans, getting in front of people, movie trailers, TV shows, whatever and so that’s part. What I’m most proud of is that, other than the fact people are digging it because that’s the whole point, but something like you know, I get to be myself and people are liking it and there’s really nothing better than that. LIke I said, I’m not going in and creating these club banging EDM tracks. I’m just kind of doing my thing and people are okay with that.
TDQ: Could you tell us what big plans you have in store for the future?
C: I have a live show finally put together. I just started doing some production and rehearsals last week. I designed a show from the ground up. Lots of lights. Music sounds great. Finally nice to get out of the studio and take it to some people and so yeah. That’s really what I’ll be focusing on and then eventually I think, later this year, I’ll probably start working on another EP. I may just do like a single too like you know, sometime in the next couple months just kind of put it out for you know, probably not like a full blown release like this you know what I mean? Just for the fans to show it off there. I got some cool pieces kind of sitting around right now.
TDQ: As a fun thing, if your music could be featured in another trailer, who would you want to star in the movie?
C: I don’t know who I’d want to star. I’ve thought about this a little bit. How about this, can I tell you what movie? [laughs] I would say, I think it would be cool to have anything in like, I would say, you know that movie Moon? With same Sam Rockwell? It’s like a cool little Sci-Fi movie. I would just go ahead and say Moon 2. [Laughs] You know, kind of like anything Sci-Fi kind of futuristic or your alien type of stuff, I would say.
The Daily Quirk would like to share our thanks to Clearside for taking the time to chat with us! To hear his music or watch his YouTube videos, head over to his website and don’t forget to follow him on Facebook and Twitter!