Hey Vents! Thanks for having me. I’ve been pretty good. Enjoying the warmer weather to be sure.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “The Runaway”?
Yeah! “The Runaway” is the first single off of the new record that came out on 5.13. It’s a swampy, saucy rock vibe that makes me really happy to pursue in my sound right now. I’m happy to say we’ve gotten lots of positive feedback from listeners as well.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
It’s more inspired by an inner character of mine. I often find myself wanting to skip town and run away when the going gets a little rough. This song allows for a little fantasy about that physical experience while still raising an eyebrow to psychological tactics of running away from one’s problems. I wrote this tune on baritone guitar, which is part of what gives it its heavy groove and growl.
The single comes off your new album Real Glass Heart – what’s the story behind the title?
One of my goals as an artist right now is to lean into the more emotional tapestry of my day to day life. Living with Major Depression can feel a bit like feeling roulette – I find myself backing away from engaging with certain life experiences in case that day happens to be a bad one. It has also been a year of interpersonal transformation and heartbreak in some ways. It’s challenging for me to bear this vulnerability in a proud and powerful way. I’m finding making an album with this title has given me a bit of permission to reveal the darker side and make something beautiful.
How was the recording and writing process?
It was simply fantastic. I co-produced this record with Mike Tierney (www.miketierneymusic.com) who also engineered and recorded it at this studio Shiny Things in Brooklyn. It took us about 6 months start to finish, working a little bit every week. We got to collaborate with so many talented friends and musicians for this epic of a record, and I am anxious to share it with the world. Some of the songs had been sitting around for a while, while others were finished in the studio. It was a wonderful range of experiences.
How Lucius and PJ Harvey has influence your writing?
To be honest, both Lucius and PJ Harvey, while incredibly inspiring, have been artists I have come to more recently. I believe the kindred nature of our sounds is likely the mutual influence of other musical predecessors. I’m a huge fan of classic rock and Americana, as well as more classic folk song revival and indie rock. I think we are at an incredible musical crossroads right now with some fascinating amalgamations emerging from our collective and disparate influences alike.
What role does Brooklyn play in your music?
Brooklyn has played a huge role – it’s where I have lived for the past 7 years, and where I’ve made 3 records, met my current musical family, started a band… there’s no doubt it’s a musical and generally artistic hub at this point in time. It’s a city that makes you examine and embrace your humanity in the face of rich chaos on a day to day basis.
What aspect of travelling and other life distractions did you get to explore on this record?
Ah, my favorite subjects! I love to use metaphors of travel and vagrancy to illuminate to myself and others what’s going on in the ol’ gourd at any given moment. We are all on different mental and psychological journeys that vary immensely, but not more so than they can be tied together with the golden thread of storytelling. I would love my songs to inspire vivid imagery and characters for the listener who can ideally create a world of their own within the metaphors.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Sometimes the song writes itself – which is lovely. It will almost show up on your doorstep fully formed and well aware of its identity. “The Runaway” was like that actually. More often though, it’s a slower roll that takes time to reveal itself. Inspiration is everywhere – which sounds like a cop-out answer but it’s not. This record was particularly focused on internal inspiration – I think in the future I’d like to make a record more focused on songs inspired by particular external experiences. But most of the time, I start writing and follow where the music takes me.
Any plans to hit the road?
One nice thing about the East Coast is that it is easy to skip town then head back home. I’ll be playing in Princeton and Boston this fall. Right before that, I am hoping to do a West Coast tour. I will keep you posted!
What else is happening next in Jess Clinton’s world?
I plan to keep on keeping on! I can’t wait for the world to hear this record, and then take it from there.