The shy demeanour of Max Clarke disappears the moment he steps into Cut Worms on stage. Clarke has decorum in his music that gives it a sense of timelessness tenderness. The debut EP, Alien Sunset, will release next month on Jagjaguwar records. Currently touring with The Lemon Twigs, I caught up Clarke for a Q&A on his new EP and the band.
Can you describe your sound in one word?
Clarke: Wow. That’s tough. I’ve never been asked that before. For the EP, I’d describe it as immediate. I was writing them [songs] as I was recording. I was just trying to get them existing as fast as possible.
What’s it like to be at a Cut Worms show?
Clarke: I mainly care about song writing as a craft. I’m not that natural as a performer, I’ve had to force myself to do it.
Why do you need to force yourself?
Clarke: I’m not an outgoing person. It’s mainly before I start playing, then once I start I tune it out by trying to focus on what I’m doing.
Is there a big contrast between you as a person and as a performer?
Clarke: It’s all me. I do write from characters a lot. Some people hear my songs and think it’s direct personal experience. I couldn’t really say my songs are about one thing. I try to write from a different perspective as much I can, this sounds pretentious, but it helps me understand what life is; by trying to explore feelings other people have rather than just my own.
What are we going to hear on the EP?
Clarke: The EP is mainly to give these songs a little bit more life before they’re deleted off of Bandcamp forever. They’re demos that I’ve recorded over two years. The first half were recorded when I was living in Chicago, the second half were from when I moved to New York. Some of the songs will cross over onto the full length EP that will be released later on. But they’ll be flushed out studio recordings; these [demos] are the most initial pure forms of the songs.
What’s your favourite song off of the EP
Clarke: My favourite one is the last one Song of the Highest Tower. I adapted it from a poem. I put the words to music then added some of my own words. I liked the way it came together, I’ve never written a song like that before.
What are we going to see in the future?
Clarke: More…better…music. *Laughs* I’m just going to continue on the same strand. There is a certain feeling I go after. I can’t really put it into words. The closest I can come; is me playing the songs. So I’m just going to keep trying to reach that thing. After a certain point you’re never going to achieve what you’re after so it’s about the chase.
It seems like you perform more for yourself
Clarke: It is a personal thing. I just make music that I would want to listen to.
Alien Sunset will be released Oct 20th, you can pre-order here.