“The first record I ever remember getting or listening to was The Clash’s Greatest Hits which, I remember listening to on Saturdays in my Dad’s car on the way to watch the football or pick up some Chinese food.”
“I remember the track “Somebody Got Murdered” being the first track to jump out at me from these angry lads. It was my first experience with music that wasn’t Diana Ross or Frank Sinatra, two acts whose records were common place in the Clark household. I was sold on The Clash after one listen, then decided to find other bands who sounded as good to me as The Clash did—it felt like I opened the flood gates.
When I began to write songs I took many of my influences and wore them on my sleeve. I used to want to sound like Jeff Buckley, then I wanted to be Conor Oberst. It was only until I thought about how I wanted to be regarded as a songwriter that I started thinking about my own sound.
One record that I was always aware of was Neil Young’s Harvest; this album taught me how to really put a song together. I suppose up until that point I hadn’t thought about my identity as an artist, and Neil Young’s way of writing and recording enlightened me to this. Neil Young is one of my favourite all time guitar players because he plays from the heart, and most importantly, from the song.
Another guitar player is Stephen Malkmus of Pavement. Their final record Terror Twilight is perhaps my favourite, and is definitely an influence on my playing style and songwriting. The lyrics are clever and meaningful to me but don’t follow a regular style, as does the guitar playing—it’s rock music for the confused and left behind.
Most recently my musical ear has drifted toward the heavier side of the spectrum and one album I particularly love is Sleep’s Holy Mountain—three-piece doom metal band from San Jose, California. It’s stoner rock, with all the trimmings; huge slabs of fuzzed out riff mayhem and big grooving drums. I mean, it’s not the kind of thing people would expect me to listen to, but I’m telling you this band is amazing. I saw them a few months ago on their reunion tour. Loudest show I have ever seen…”