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INTERVIEW: Folk Americana Artist Sheldon Clark

Hi Sheldon, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thanks for having me! I’m doing well! Excited for the New Year ahead.

Can you tell us more about the story behind your track ¨Our Last Morning¨?

Sure! Our Last Morning is a song born out of many inspirations. What first sparked the idea was a songwriting challenge that songwriter Dan Wilson posted on Vine that really intrigued me: “Write a song worthy of playing at a friend’s wedding.” This really got me writing. I started writing the song based the chords off of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, because I wanted the music to reflect the wedding theme as much as the lyrics do. The chorus of the song is based off the idea of a wedding vow, a “til death do us part” sentiment. The verses are about the non-physical beauty of someone you love. When I wrote the song, I was reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, which was a big influence on the song. John is one of my favorite writers, I love the way he phrases things. I even used a quote from the book in the chorus: “…I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”

Did any event in particular inspire the song?

I’m not sure if there was one event that inspired the song. Besides the aforementioned influences, my girlfriend at the time was a huge inspiration to me. Even though I was writing with intention of it being played at friends wedding, I was really writing it for her.

The single comes off your new EP Word & Sound – what´s the story behind the title?

I’ve always wanted my artistry to be more about the music and the stories than me as a person. The title sums that up for me.

How was the recording and writing process?

I approach this EP differently than I have with other projects. I used to co-write more and go through periods where I would write a lot at a time. With these songs, I wrote all (except for one) on my own over the course of a year. A lot of times I would finish a song then go back to it a couple months later and completely rewrite it. I wrote about 14 songs and picked the best of the batch. Compared to the writing process, recording was the complete opposite. My band and I went in and recorded all six songs almost completely live at Welcome to 1979 Studio to analog tape in 36 hours. There was no editing during mixing, just pure performance. It gives the EP a live feel that I really love.

In what way did Nashville and 1979 studio influence in your music?

Well I think Nashville has influenced my songwriting since I moved here five years ago; but with this record, my band had the biggest influence on the songs. Nashville is a lot more of a musical melting pot than people realize. All the guys who played on my record, who are also great friends of mine, are extremely talented local musicians that come from different musical backgrounds, which makes for a really cool recording experience. I tried to give them a ton of creative freedom to put their own take on the music. Being in Welcome to 1979 Studio really set the stage for that. Walking in there is like stepping back into the past and we made use of all their cool vintage gear they have in there. It’s a really comfortable space as well.

What other books get to influence the album?

The Fault in Ours Stars wasn’t the John Green book that influenced the record. I’m pretty sure I read his entire anthology during the course of writing this EP. His theme’s of self-reflection, coming of age and love lived and lost definitely trickled over into these songs. I also read a lot of plays last year like Our Town, Mary’s Wedding and Six Degrees of Separation.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes! Definitely. I’ve got a couple shows coming up in March and April here in Nashville as well as in Ohio, Missouri, Alabama and West Virginia.I’m working to add even more for the spring and summer. My guitarist Joe and I are playing out as an Acoustic duo, which is a different sound from the record but personally I like when an artists live sound differs their albums. We’re really excited to get out and play!

What else is happening next in Sheldon Clark´s world?

Besides booking and promoting Word & Sound, I’m trying to write as much as possible. My goal for 2016 is to write a song a week. So far I have three half written songs! I’m really excited for the release of the EP later this spring and all the shows coming up.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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