With a soulful voice and a beard that can rival any indie-folk artist, Alex Clare’s break-through single “Too Close” has taken the summer by storm.
The track, which has been exploding after its appearance in a Microsoft commercial, is from his 2011 album The Lateness of the Hour.
In an interview with Play 987’s sister station, KROQ/Los Angeles, Clare talked about the process of creating his surprise hit album with production duo Major Lazer.
“I really, really loved New Orleans, actually. We started the album there and it just blew my mind. Just the whole vibe of the place. It was awesome,” said Clare. “The trumpets in the background [of ‘Hands Are Clever’] are recorded from a little dictophone in the streets.” The singer-songwriter recorded two other tracks in New Orleans before making his way to a remote location in “nice, lovely, scenic, quiet, relaxed” Jamaica to record “Hummingbird.” He recorded with Diplo, one half of Major Lazer and when asked what it was like Clare replied, “Did you ever know anybody with chronic ADD? It’s like working with someone with chronic ADD.”
Diplo is famous for his work with Beyoncé and Usher while Clare is predominately a singer-songwriter. Despite their unlikely pairing Clare indicated that Diplo’s direction was always the one he was headed towards. “When I made the demos for the album, they were all electronically recorded,” admitted Clare. “So, it was kind of the direction I was going with it…But [the producers] definitely left their mark on it.”
To write his songs, Clare engages in a bit of musical lucid dreaming. “I still write songs exactly the way that I always have done…It usually comes to me in the middle of the night whilst asleep. I wake up thinking ‘Oh, I’ve got a good idea.’ And then I pick up the guitar and work on it.”
Alex Clare’s The Lateness of the Hour is out now and you can pick up a copy on Amazon.
-Nadia Noir, KROQ/Los Angeles