Sheffield Band The Clear
Sheffield band The Clear have created the perfect album for those long summer months, close your eyes and you could easily be whisked away to California in the late 60’s / early 70’s. The band have of course put their own unique spin on the sound and created an album of well written, well crafted, sophisticated pop songs that once heard will float endlessly around in your head for days.
We met up with Chris Damms from the band at Tampa coffee for an interesting insight into how he thinks.
Volta: Who or what inspired you to do what you do?
Chris: Well I think it was very Organic for me, by being introduced to music really by my Father who’s a musician, I think also hearing Ennio Morricone as a child stirred something in me, emotion I guess. It’s all about the emotion for me.
Volta: Were you self-taught or have you had musical training?
Chris: I was taught the basics of guitar and piano by my father , but never learnt the written side, which is good as it makes you do thing because of sound rather than conveyor belt learning. I understand the chords. It’s amazing how many musicians don’t know the written side, Hendrix, McCartney!
Volta: How did your current style develop and how do you see it developing in the future?
Chris: The current style has been labelled as “west coast” pop (california west coast). I can see why, but if you listen to the album there a song “man mountain” with a chinese violin on , so I’m not so sure. Yesterday Morning is very Carpenters and I guess “America” is – well Americana.
The songs when written though are formless and are just voice and piano/guitar so we just try to write good quality songs and we do like traditional styles like Burt Bacharach and Jimmy Webb.
Volta: What influence has living in Sheffield had on your creativity and how you approach your work?
Chris: I think living in Sheffield influences you in many ways, first ,at least for people my age who grew up in the 80’/90’s there is the “Thatcher” component and the outrage and indignity that caused. This either makes you fight it or run away to a different place either outside or within yourself. I opted for fantasy and stayed in Sheffield.
Volta: Who is your favourite Sheffield band (past or present).
Chris: My Favourite Sheffield artist is ………. iMONSTER – who also happens to be my cousin.
Volta: What piece of your own work gives you the most satisfaction and why?
Chris: I think the best piece of music we have done together is a song on the album called “when you are far away” its very emotive and its very well recorded and performed and is the best example of our work. I gave Bryan the song with just a vocal and the chords and singing tune. He then added all the instrumentation you hear, plus we had Dean Beresford and Coin Elliot on drums and bass who are Rich Hawley’s musicians, so we got good bass and drums too. In the middle the song goes into an instrumental section and it always sounds to me like you’re in a field of butterflies!!!
Volta: Do other areas of creativity, such as art, have any influence on your work?
Chris: Yes totally, I love art and reading about ancient cultures too, their ideas and thought are very inspiring to me lyrically. In particular the Ancients knowledge of sound and sonics is amazing. They knew it created matter/superstring theory.
Volta: If you could lay claim to one piece of creative work in any area what would it be and why?
Chris: It would have to be “You never give me your money” by the Beatles, it has everything.
Volta: What is your favourite thing about Sheffield?
Chris: Favourite thing about Sheffield – Its people … no bullshit :)… well not much.
Volta: What advice would you give an aspiring fellow musician who was wanting to break through to the next level?
Chris: Follow your instinct and do what you want, not what other expect or want.
Want to find out a little more about The Clear?
Here are links to the bands site and Social Media links. We like it – hope you do too!
Sheffield Band The Clear