Claud's debut album Super Monster, is out now! We chat to the musician about the release and more.
Image: Angela Ricciardi
LA based artist Claud's long awaited debut album is here! After months of teasing with a number of single releases, the musicians full-length body of work comes three years after their debut release.
Super Monster is the tale of lost and found loves, self-discovery and self-definition, played out across thirteen charming tracks. Sad endings and new beginnings are a central theme, with little moments of life becoming big moments as Claud finds their voice through life’s trials and twists.Claud brings their knack for infectious melodies and skilful lyricism to the collection of songs, capturing the assorted stages of a relationship’s delight and dejection. From locking eyes for the first time, right to the bitter end. The musician illustrated the records artwork herself, creating a self-portrait that serves as a superhero mascot.
Claud brings their knack for infectious melodies and skilful lyricism to the collection of songs, capturing the assorted stages of a relationship’s delight and dejection. From locking eyes for the first time, right to the bitter end. The musician illustrated the records artwork herself, creating a self-portrait that serves as a superhero mascot.
Recorded at the famous Electric Lady Studios in New York, Joshua Mehling played on and co-produced several tracks, with the likes of Claire Cottrill (aka Clairo), Melanie Faye, Blu DeTiger, Noa Getzug, Nick Hakim and Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Jake Portrait joining in on the fun.
Super Monster is out now! Read our interview with Claud below.
Tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey...
I’ve been writing songs since I was like 11 or 10, really young just banging on the piano and I didn’t really know how to play it. I think it was always something I knew that I wanted to do, it was just a matter of actually getting good at it.
There’s a lot of themes packed into the record, but you often address identifying as non-binary within your music. Could you tell us about how important it was for you to use the vehicle to tell your own stories, stories that aren’t exactly present in mainstream media and music?
Yeah I mean I talk about life and I think people can interpret it however they do.
Thematically I think the record is very current and perfectly captures the the assorted stages of a relationship and how time and perspective changes your view on the relationship that was. How do you think writing about this relationship from these different perspectives changed your own preconceived thoughts on love and what a relationship is?
Oh my gosh. I think it just comes with getting older. I don’t know, every time I think back on something I did or said I’m like “I was so stupid back then”. But I say that about every single point in my life and I think we’re just constantly growing and constantly learning. So when you’re documenting almost - I write songs almost every day so I have like a literal documentation of what I was thinking at that moment in time. So looking back I think it’s pretty natural for me to be like “what was I thinking?”.
You’ve been releasing music since 2018, so that’s three years of perfecting your sound before presenting a full-length body of work to the world. Do you think that taking that time and not rushing into pumping out a record ultimately created the best space for this record to come to life?
Yeah, I definitely think it did. And I definitely took my time with the album, I didn’t want to put anything out until I knew I was saying something, you know.
And what do you think would’ve been different if you dropped an album straight away?
So many things! One, I think I’ve become a much better vocalist in the last few years. When I started I didn’t know how to use a microphone, like I wasn’t ever really used to standing up even. So after the last couple of years I’ve gotten much more comfortable using a mic, I know what it feels like to play a song live and what feels good in front of an audience and what doesn’t. I also think my life experiences in 2018 were much more, almost not existent. I had just left my parents house and I needed those extra years to like actually experience life I guess.
You recorded the album at the iconic electric city studios. What is your most memorable moment from your time spent there?
I spent all my time creating the record in my house, in my apartment and in my friends apartments. Then we mixed the record at electric lady so we only spent three days there and it was just so wild to take these songs from my apartment or my friends studio to somewhere as perfect and amazing as electric lady. It was really wild.
You have consistently released stunning music videos and visuals for your music. How important are the visuals to you when it comes to conveying the story and meaning present on the track and how involved are you in the creative process?
I try to be super involved, I’m actually really hands on for all the visuals. I did all the album artwork myself and then when it came to the music videos I didn’t get behind the camera but I was definitely involved in the concepts and the wardrobe and all of that.
Which three songs from the record would you play to someone who has never heard you music to make them an instant fan and why?
Soft Spot, because it sounds bigger than me. It sounds very nostalgic to me and captures a type of sound that feels like high school to me and also it sounds anthemic. I really liked working with that producer. The next song I’d probably play would be Guard Down, mainly because first off I love the lyrics and I love the writing and it’s about this particular summer I had in New York which informed a lot of the record. Also on that song, I pitch my vocals down at a certain part which I do in other parts of the record and that’s a huge element of the record for me, the pitched down vocals. The other song I’d probably play would be Ana which is the song featuring Nick Hakim. I really love that one because I did some character writing in that song, I basically role played and imagined myself as a forty year old man who decides to leave his wife to do some self exploration and to go find himself and he’s basically saying to her “hey Ana, if I don’t do this and if I don’t make myself a better person then I don’t deserve you, like I should never have been your man. I need to be the best person I can be to deserve you basically”. That was a really hard song for me to write and it ended up meaning a lot to me even though It wasn’t a direct experience I’ve ever had.
Whilst you are unable to tour at the moment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what can audiences expect from one of your live shows when you are able to hit the road?
I’m so excited to play live shows! Honestly, the US feels so far from concerts that it’s been hard for me to even conceptualise a live show at this point. But definitely a lot of stage design. I’m working right now on this concept with some ten feet tall sunflowers which could be cool to bring on the road. And maybe some live animation.
Hopefully we get to see you in Australia one day on tour!
I hope so!
The XX, Tracey Chapman and James Taylor.
Sleater-Kinney or Patti Smith.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
Melodrama by Lorde.
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
I want to create a soundtrack so bad. Maybe like an A24 film. Like Ladybird or something.
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
Best concert you have ever attended?
I saw Big Thief play in Ithaca, New York. There were only like fifty people there and it was really special.
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?
That’s such a good question! I don’t think I’d ever be a member of the Spice Girls because I’m not a girl but maybe Shorty Spice because I’m really short.
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
Oh my gosh, let me think. I feel like doing a Taylor Swift tour would be super iconic, I feel like she’s brought the most iconic openers.
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
Answering ever is really hard! I don’t know, I’m not gonna say ever but I think right now Arca has a lot of influence on the music industry. I think she’s definitely doing really, really cool things and is really awesome trans representation. And her music sounds like it’s from the future.