I am so glad to highlight this fine fellow. Clark has been with our community for a few seasons now. Besides being super supportive to his fellow songwriters, sharing his unique process and wonderful music, he holds a special place in my heart. Clark gave me a nudge at a crucial juncture in the life of this community.
Last year I was struggling with our platform. I spent way too much time chasing down tech issues and worrying about crashing the website. I wanted to build a community. Clark suggested I look into the Mighty Networks platform. After researching it, I begun the monumental process of moving our community to a new platform. I am so grateful I did. Now, I get to focus on building an infrastructure that nurtures humanity—more events, workshops, discussion topics, collaborations, to name a few. It's also freed me up to focus more on my songwriting. Thank you, Clark! This community would not be what it is today without you, my friend.
Clark is from Bozeman, MT, United States
What do you do during the day?
I just finished grad school in November and am currently seeking employment as a nonprofit program evaluation consultant.
Do you have any guilty pleasures in music?
What inspired you to want to write songs?
I grew up in Montana, but my extended family is all in Texas. So growing up, my dad's boss and his wife, Jim and Jean, were like our "adopted grandparents". They inspired my parents to buy me a dulcimer kit at 7, and growing up, I'd often hang out at their house after school, and we would listen to The Beatles on vinyl in their basement. At 10, a counselor at church camp inspired me and my friends to start a punk band (called Ice Box). This was in 2001, when the art garage punk revival happened. All of that just happened at the right times in my life, I suppose. Truth be told though, I've always been more interested in film making. But, music is easier to do cheaply and when you don't have a team.
What does your songwriting habit look like?
Usually, ideas just randomly pop into my head and then I figure out what chords accompany them and go from there. It's handy, but it also means I work very slowly and rely more on inspiration than actual grinding. I'd like to be more proactive in uncovering songs, instead of waiting for them to come to me, through having a set period of time every weekday where I just sit down and write/record/mix.
How has developing a songwriting practice affected your life?
In addition to music, I also skateboard (very, very poorly), so between the two, I'm always seeing crappy sidewalks or sets of stairs and suddenly imagining all the dope lines a better skater could do on them, and then I start picturing the best angle to film it from, the accompanying music, etc. Likewise, I'll hear traffic noises and think about recordings of Moondog's street poetry or the intro to The Shape of Punk to Come or how I could sample it and add some synthesizers. To be super cliché and kinda douchey, creative activities cause me to see the whole world as a giant canvas and playground. Beauty and opportunity are everywhere.
Who are your influences? How have they shaped you?
Quentin Tarantino, Banksy, David Blaine, Dave Chappelle, Harper Lee, Kendrick Lamar. All of these people are total masters of their crafts, while also being completely original. It's a hard combination to pull off. As far short as I fall, this is what I strive for.
What challenge are you facing with songwriting?
I've never known how to do proper harmonies. I've kinda leaned into this in my records thus far, just doubling melody lines instead of using harmonies, but I don't want to HAVE to do it this way. A well-placed harmony can do so much for a song.
What Day of 100 is your piece from?
EP Track 3
Last night I had a dream of nuclear war
And for the first time, I didn't ask what for
I woke up to piss then fell asleep just fine
And that's when I knew that I wasn't
Cause we censor the passion but not the violence
Tell God to f*** off and then pray to the tyrants
And worst of all, this is good as it gets
But I'm not sure if I even really give a s***
Hear our plea
Let us down
Make us bleed
We want you
They can burn it down
But we won't help
I saw it on the evening news
One hundred men in Red and Blue
And as they stared each other down
I heard them cry a splendid sound