Thursday, November 5, 2009

CB Q/A #21: Clare Manchon (of Clare and the Reasons)

My mother's favorite movies are Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz. I remember this because I have heard the story about how when she was a child they would come on once a year and it was her favorite night dozens of times.

As you might guess, by the time I was old enough to know whether I liked the films myself, I'd seen them innumerable times, since it was always a safe Christmas bet to get her a version of one of the films on whatever new technology was out. (Oddly, later the third leg to this filmic triad became What About Bob? To this day, I don't know how that film squares the circle, but whatever.)

I've not seen either film in years, but when I started listening to the newest record by today's interviewee, I couldn't stop thinking of them and, particularly, the female leads. Clare Manchon, frontwoman for the band Clare and the Reasons, has a voice out of the dulcet celluloid American past, one that complements dreamily with the restrained yet idiosyncratic indie overtures her backing band surrounds her with.

Since Clare and the Reasons are coming to town soon, I thought I'd extend Clare an invitation to join our CB Q/A series. To my delight, she agreed. Read onward to see what she has to say, and be at the Beachland on Friday to hear what she (and the Reasons) have to play.

1) What are your influences on Arrow and how did they change from what inspired/shaped you on The Movie? In particular, I'm interested in sources of inspiration other than other bands/musicians? I mean, was there something going on in your life that was different or is there a certain type of art or artist, idea, spirit, etc. moving you?

I think as time goes on, one is in a different place in life, effected differently by things. I am always moved by visual aspects of life, colors, spending an afternoon at MOMA, walking around a garden in the middle of whatever city I'm in. "Arrow" really was just a new version of me, Olivier and the band making a record. I think there is a greater sense of light and simplicity at times on "Arrow" but melody and arrangements still play a huge role in what drives our decisions. I was thinking a lot about time and what it meant to me while making and writing this album. Musical time, perception of time, where I fit into time, not having time, having too much...

2) For whatever reason, I keep thinking of 1930s and 1940s actresses (especially Judy Garland and Vivien Leigh) when I listen to your work. So when I write about you, I'm sure I'll be dropping cinematic metaphors like they were on clearance sale. Also, not long ago, I saw Califone perform the score to band leader Tim Rutili's new film. If you were to do something like that, perform a score to a film (silent or otherwise) as it played, what would it be?

I think the reason you get reminded of that era is because of my voice, not because of the music... I try to do new things musically, not live in the past, but the past is a big part of where I come from. I grew up listening to music (black music) from the 30's and 40's and I guess it got locked inside me a bit. Lyrically, harmonically, production wise, what we do if for sure not inspired by that era. I would love to write film music, we do some of that on the side, but I would love for Clare and the Reasons to be able to score a whole film and capture the picture's mood and envelope the characters...a Michel Gondry film.

3) What's your favorite song off the new album to play live?

"You Got Time" and "Our Team Is Grand"

4) Your Tears for Fears cover is one that probably makes it easy for new audiences to transition into the rest of your original material. Any other covers out there you'd like to do but just haven't gotten around to yet?

We have a cover on our new record, "Arrow" called "That's All" by Genesis. I guess we'll see what makes us smile down the road in terms of covers, I'm really a songwriter, so I'll never do too many.

5) As I was doing a little prep for this Q&A I was really impressed by the high quality coverage your new album has received. What has the experience been like? Any favorite moments?

I'm just happy people want to keep listening, we really like what the album says, so now we are just going to tour for a while and be on stage, where we like to be.

6) Last but not least, any memorable Cleveland experiences?

We have never played in Cleveland, Bob Hart (band member) will solve the Rubik's Cube, live, on stage for the Cleveland audience!! We will also have kazoos for people.

Be sure to catch Clare and the Reasons on FRIDAY at the Beachland. You won't be disappointed! Doors are at 8, tickets are $8, and the show will kick off at 9:00 with opening performances by Michigan's indie folk Frontier Ruckus and Cleveland's own Lowly, The Tree Ghost.

1 comment:

amanea said...

Love it!
Photograph is one of my favorite tunes.
And performing with Frontier Ruckus.. It is going to be a great show.