Liz Clark | 2008 | Interview |
TT- Liz, thanks for speaking to us. Can I start by asking if you tell us a little about how you came to be a professional musician?
LC- My journey to becoming a professional musician started about 12 years ago when I picked up my dad’s old guitar he hadn’t played in years and decided I would learn every Beatles song, in case they ever needed a new member. I haven’t given up that dream ever since!
TT- Whenever I listen to your music, I’m struck by how your vocal delivery is so clear and direct especially in contrast to the rather dense rhythm. Is that something you specifically look to achieve when recording?
LC- Wow, you pick out things I’m not even aware of! I think while I’m writing songs, I definitely try to convey what I’m saying in a clear way, with intent behind them. As far as the dense rhythm, I just have a musical taste for that sort of drive.
But I do remember having an epiphany once while listening to Dylan’s “Ballad of a Thin Man”, thinking “ok- THAT’S how you spit out your words. THAT’S how you get your lyrics across”. I can’t touch that, but it’s something I strive for.
TT- With regards to guitar, do you view it primarily as a rhythm accompaniment for your vocals?
LC- At the moment, yes. I wish I was a better guitar player, though. “I’m strictly rhythm, I don’t make it cry or sing”. But in some ways, I’m really into the freedom of having simple accompaniment and arrangements. I wouldn’t want to mask a song with minor augmented 7th jazz chords or something when just a plain old chord would suffice (smiles)
TT- This is a guitar blog so I’ll have to ask what your favoured stage setup is……
LC- I mostly perform with my martin D-35. It’s from the 1970’s and the sound is just so rich and warm. It does need a bit of TLC though. I’ve got a fancy-shmancy stereo pick up in it called B-Band, but it is difficult to balance the sound if you don’t have the right sound guy.
And, like the nerdy Beatles fan I am, I have a rickenbacker 360 and a vox ac-15. But I don’t really want to tour with those because it’s hard to take those overseas and such, but I love that sound and I use rickenbackers on my albums a lot.
TT- Could you share with us a little of your songwriting process? Do you compose the lyrics and music together, seperately, alone in a band?
LC- That’s the hardest question to answer because it’s never the same! I don’t really HAVE a process, I just try to be available for the song when it hits me in any form, lyrics first or musically or whatever. But I will say that lots of times I come up with a general idea of what I want for lyrics and music together.
Even if it’s just the general idea of the song, lyrically, mixed with the emotion of the music. For instance, knowing that a defiant, break up song has to be a rocker with heavy chords. Sometimes I just like how words sound when they’re held out in a song. Like, “raaaaaaaain down”. Doesn’t that sound good??(smiles)
TT- Sure does! Would you have any advice for budding singer-songwriters?
EH- I think songwriters are amongst some of the lucky ones out of all the budding artists of any type because it’s so easy to hit the road and make a few bucks at it right away if you’re organized enough. It’s such an important job, I think. Because music hits a person directly in the heart before it passes through in an intellectual way, so you can communicate so deeply with people on a basic human level, without even really knowing them.
And, at risk of sounding too nerdy or new-agey, truth is really the biggest thing. Finding your own truth and writing about it is what separates the real art from the manufactured. A good song that came from pure honesty, no one can argue with and it’s what makes art unique.
Liz Clark http://www.lizclarkmusic.com/
©2008 Terence Tan.
Pictures & Videos courtesy of Liz Clark & Management- ©2008 respectively.
Special thanks to Rich @ RJO artist relations/