Name: Roland Clark
Occupation: Producer, DJ, songwriter, vocalist
Recent event: Roland Clark's new single "Dance Or Die" is out via the relaunched Vibe Me To The Moon imprint.
Recommendations: My favourite book to date is “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison and my favourite music to date is anything by Bon Iver. I am not a big art person.
If you enjoyed this interview with Roland Clark and would like to find out more, visit him on Facebook, twitter, and Soundcloud.
Over the course of his career, Roland Clark has worked with and been remixed by a wide range of artists, including Steve Lawler, Harry Romero, Umek, and Joris Voorn.
[Read our Steve Lawler interview]
[Read our Harry Romero interview]
[Read our Umek interview]
[Read our Joris Voorn interview]
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I started writing officially when I was 15 years old thanks to Grammy award winning writer Calvin Gaines. He taught me everything I know to date.
My early influences were Prince, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor & Al Green. I love the story telling aspect of the music that I grew up with, and with a little bit of life experiences there are never not enough words to write an incredible song.
Some people experience intense emotion when listening to music, others see colours or shapes. What is your own listening experience like and how does it influence your approach to music?
To be honest I go butt naked and then blast my favorite tunes. There’s something about being naked that’s very freeing and the energy of my music for some strange reason enters my soul easier.
I use that very energy to create.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
It’s not that deep for me. I have and will always be the same kind of artist and writer I have always been.
The only thing that has changed as far as the dance music genre is that I lean more towards producing tech house and techno lately.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
Prince, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Jim Crochee, Calvin Gaines.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
My ADHD doesn’t allow me to have an organized idea. My ideas usually come in very chaotic forms from watching the news, binge watching a romantic comedy or listening to conversations going on around me.
I use any and everything to approach the start of a tune.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
As far as originality is concerned, I do not believe no one is original, we are all working with the same 12 notes on the piano. It’s how we interpret and manipulate those 12 notes that make a great tune.
In regards to timelessness in the music I go back to great storytelling.
In regards to music of the future, I do not know what that looks like, I live in the present ... but I do not believe it will change much in my lifetime.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
I have tons of keyboards and plugins and my DAW is Logic Pro X, but over time I find myself narrowing things down to just 5 to 10 plugins.
There is no strategy to my approach, it’s not that serious.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
My day starts off on Instagram for a quick ego boost. (laughs). Then I usually grab some avocado toast, then head out to the gym.
My life doesn’t revolve around music as most would think, my life revolves around my freedom of movement. That can be me riding my bike on a 20-mile trail, or going to a busy street corner to people watch. I might get around to writing maybe one of two days a week now.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
My approach when deejaying is to find the most enthusiastic person I can find in the crowd, try to make eye contact, because they’re usually in front row and play for them for the first 30 minutes of my set.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
Bon Iver, is all I listen to all day ... don’t ask me why, dude is just dope ... he definitely gets my creative juices flowing.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
I recently wrote a tune called “Rise Up” for the Ukrainian Russia crisis. I can’t help but touch on social issues sometimes. I feel it’s an artist's responsibility to write about the times they live in.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
From the beginning, music has always been a way to connect to people's everyday lives.
Love songs, for example, generally touch most people because most people want to feel love or are in love. The same thing goes for songs of sadness. Sad songs usually allows us to go through the emotion via music and to heal within.
There seems to be increasing interest in a functional, “rational” and scientific approach to music. How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
Music technology never cease to surprise me, we are surely living in interesting days.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our eardrums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it is able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
I do not.